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Arab Summit Faces Regional Crises... Can it Offer Permanent or Temporary Solutions? - By Fathia Eldakhakhny, Asharq Al-Awsat

 

 

The current crises in the Arab region have raised questions whether the upcoming Arab summit in Algeria will be able to reach solutions, even if temporary, to them.
 
Arab officials have stressed that their countries are facing “major challenges” and that the “reunion” summit is being held in “difficult circumstances”.
 
 
Algeria is still sending out invitations to the 31st regular Arab League summit set for November 1 and 2.
 
 
Algerian newspaper Echorouk said President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has so far sent invitations to 16 Arab leaders, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Mauritania, Iraq, Djibouti, Sudan, Lebanon, and Libya.
 
 
The Algerian newspaper, L'Expression, confirmed in its editorial Tuesday that doubts about holding the summit on time have dissipated.
 
 
The daily indicated that the summit would witness significant representation, as the majority of the leaders have confirmed their attendance, noting that the first day of the conference coincides with the anniversary of the Algerian Revolution.
 
 
Over the past weeks, the Arab summit has been the subject of debate, with many issues seen as obstacles to convening the meeting on time.
 
 
Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit set the debate to rest by declaring to the press that it was finally agreed to hold the summit in Algeria, underscoring its importance, especially after three years of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
 
He denied claims that the summit will be postponed or held in another country, revealing that Syria has chosen to skip this year's conference.
 
 
The reinstatement of Syria’s membership in the Arab League was one of the points of contention ahead of the summit. Algeria had insisted on restoring it to the organization, but its calls have been met with a tepid reception.
 
 
The summit has already been postponed before.
 
 
The last time the League held a regular in person summit was in Tunisia in 2019.
 
 
In past remarks, Aboul Gheit highlighted the challenges facing the Arab world. He remarked that the war in Syria is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, Iraq is still without a government despite having held elections months ago, and the Libyan capital Tripoli has witnessed renewed clashes between rival militias.
 
 
Algeria wants the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to be at the heart of discussions at the summit. Palestinian Ambassador to Algeria Fayez Abu Aita described the event as "exceptional" because it seeks to bring serious outcomes that restore balance to the Arab region.
 
 
The ambassador said in statements carried by the Algerian news agency that Palestinians are looking forward to the summit and highly commend Algerian diplomacy and its support to the Palestinian cause.
 
 
Expert at the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Said Okasha believes results of previous Arab summits make it difficult to expect any permanent or temporary solutions to the region's problems during this year's conference.
 
 
Okasha told Asharq Al-Awsat that many Arab nations have changed their view on national security, basing it on the safety of each state separately, with the possibility of interacting with other countries with common interests in mind.
 
 
He indicated that Arab countries are facing different sources of threat, such as terrorism, internal crises, economic challenges, and others, which they view as a priority over joint Arab action.
 
 
Algerian journalist and political analyst Nouredine Khettal noted it was difficult for the summit to succeed in resolving Arab issues for two possible reasons.
 
 
The first is the extent of the problems across the region, stretching from Iraq to Morocco. The second is the growing strength of the enemies of Arabism in several Arab countries. Such movements work on impeding all intra-Arab efforts, he remarked.
 
 
Khettal told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Arab summit is an opportunity to clear the air, adding that bridging the gap and resolving intra-Arab disputes is difficult, but possible.
 
 
He recalled the successful efforts to resolve the dispute between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Qatar, citing the recent visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Doha after years of differences.
 

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