Tag Archives: Arab summit

Arab Summit-Who Exactly Will Show Up?

Meetings of Arab leaders over the years invariably produce initial sounds of determination to resolve critical issues only to produce nothing but the sounds of silent pessimism. Once again an Arab “summit meeting” is taking place in Damascus but most of the key players in the Arab world will not be present. Only 12 of the 22 delegates from Arab nations represent even someone at the foreign minister level which may signify growing disgust with Syria’s role in the Middle East. Syria is held responsible for the mess in Lebanon, not all agree with its policies of providing weapons to Hamas and Hizbullah, and the persecution of Sunni Muslims in Syria does not resound positively with many Muslim nations.

In an interview with Al-Ahram, Hesham Youssef, of the Arab League, agrees, “Yes, there are differences among Arab countries abut the issues of relations with the United States and Iran,” but all seek some way to resolve problems and avoid further military action. Everyone essentially agrees General Michel Suleiman should become president of Lebanon and end the current impasse, but things are blokced by disputes as to who has which powers in the Lebanon Cabinet.

There is no question Israel has repeatedly made blunders in its policies toward Palestinians, but they are aided in this inability to find common ground for peace by the ineptness of Arab leaders to curtail violence in the region. Unfortunately, Arab nations of the Middle East lack a personage of the stature of a Nelson Mandela who can assert leadership and move ahead toward peace. If Iran had a leader with vision, it might help, but that most probably will not occur in the immediate future. It may well be that Turkey offers the last opportunity for leadership in moving toward resolving issues within the region.

Hamas Offers Cease Fire As Rockets Hit Israel Preschool

The on a gain off again story of possible cease fire in the Gaza Strip continued as exiled Damascus based Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, sent a messatge to Arab leaders offering to consier the possibilit of an over all calm with Israel. According to th daily Al Hayat, the message was timed to coincide with the Arab League summt scheduled to take place in Syria’s capital over the weekend. Mashaal defended the policy of firing rockets although his actions have come under severe criticism from Arab leaders who regard it as pointless and merely making more difficult attainment of any form of peace in the region. Mashall wrote use of rockets was meant to defend the people of Gaz, but added, “all of the factions of the Palestinian resistance have expressed their willngness to seriously examne the issue of a calm, provided that is overall, concurrent and mutual.”

Egypt, which has been working to broker a peace, has been informed by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, of a willingness for a cease fire provided it includes the West Bank. However, there are as yet no signs the Israel government will accept that proviso. There are risks in any agreement, but continuation of the present situation is a greater risk. A rocket hit an Israel preschool and luckily no one was killed. If a rocket kills Israel children there is no doubt, Israel forces might well strom into Gaza. Everyone needs a period of calm.