Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Arab League meeting

The Arab League of 22 countries are meeting In Kuwait to discuss the state of affairs in the Arab world and especially to focus on Syria. Here is a review of the current situation they must face.
  • In Syria the civil war that started over three years ago and has caused 140,000 deaths as well as 5 million refugees is continuing. Remember when we thought that Syrian Pres. Hafez Assad was a ruthless dictator for having killed 30,000 people in the city of Homs and his son Bashar Assad was a wimp, who might even carry out reforms. Well that was well before the carnage in Syria really got going.
  • Saudi Arabia and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar for not supporting the opposition in Syria and for not providing arms and funding to the insurgency.
  • In Egypt the military government of Pres. Al-Sisi has condemned 539 members of the extremist Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood to death, for causing the deaths of Egyptian policemen during recent riots. There is widespread rioting and killings.
  • In Iraq there are still ca. 30 people being killed a day by bomb blasts and shootings as a result of sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni that is rapidly bringing the country to civil war.
  • Lebanon is poised on the cusp of another civil war between Shia, Sunni and Christians, being drawn into the Syrian maelstrom since Hizbollah is fighting for Assad in Syria..
  • In Gaza the ruling Hamas Islamist clique is suffering because Egypt has closed all the tunnels under the Egyptian border and Israel has closed the land crossings since they keep firing missiles into Israeli populated areas. Now they have electricity cuts for 12 hrs each day, yet they still afford to import and build missiles.
  • In the West Bank, that is supposed to become the nucleus of a Palestinian State, Pres. Abbas has arranged celebrations to welcome the terrorist prisoners released by Israel and is paying them large salaries paid for by EU and US taxpayers. He also wants to retire since his actual term in office lapsed in 2006, but there have been no elections since then and there is no mechanism for a succession.
In their first declaration, the Arab League gave their support to Pres. Abbas for not agreeing to recognize Israel as the Jewish State and for deciding to discontinue negotiations (if you can call them that) unless PM Netanyahu implements another building freeze on the West Bank. But, surely that should be a subject of negotiation, not a precondition to talks. The Arab League once again proposes their 2002 "Peace Plan" that basically is the Arab position, that they know that Israel can never accept. Back to square one. They like to have the Palestine problem because it gives an appearance of unity, while they are greatly divided over all other issues, including Syria.

Over all this looms the white elephant, Iran and its Shia faith, that has split the Arab world again as it has for centuries, with Iraq and Syria aligned to Iran and Saudi Arabia leading the Sunni States of Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States, with Qatar treading a middle path. Although the Arabs put on a good show, their meetings are usually just that, a show with very little substance.


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