Monday, March 30, 2009

Doha Ha

It's time! Arab League kicks off their summit today in Qatar and looks like another in a long line of non profit jawflapping events that produce little agreement - much less an action plan that inspires action.

Arab League's entire raison d'etre' is to:

“draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries.”

'Safeguarding sovereignty' is pretty much happy talk for maintaining power at all costs.

Like when Sudan's fellow despot Field Marshal President For Life came under fire for intolerant genocide against his own dear people. Arab League freaked when the Internat'l Criminal Court called it and issued arrest warrants for current ruler - 1st time in history.

Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses will all be on hand. Certainly a great chance for Iran to launch a killing decap strike and render Arab League totally hapless, helpless, clueless and hopeless.

While the list of illegit leaders and/or sychophantic fanboys of regimes (various and sundry) is incomplete - here's the VIP's possible to attend - and may cause as much drama, hissy fits and racket as wearing a thong to church:

Iran's Pres Ahmedenejad -

Rumor's Mill grinds out that Qataris invited Iran's fiery little rocketeer as an 'Official Obsever" Pyramidland and Saudiland freaked and objected. Latest buzz reveals Ahmedenejdad won't daytrip down to sunny sunny climes. Keep an eye on the Radar Screen though - a dramatic, unannounced visit would be more in style.

Sudan's Criminally indicted Leadership -

Omar Bashir. Thanks to tons of support for Sudan's dictator in Arab League, he'll make it. Despite concerns he would be arrested in accord with the International Criminal Court warrant.

While he's made showy trips to Cairo and Eritrea, he may pull another fast one. If he does, brace for an extremely, richly deserved distraction frenzy.

Egypt's President Life Hosni -

Mubarak has been trying to destroy the summit, flying around trying to convince other leaders not to attend, and the failure of the Palestinian talks thus far mean that he has nothing dramatic to present. Current word is that he will not make it. This may hurt the summit, but also risks highlighting Mubarak's feeble diplomacy (after all, Hosni is the cat that failed to deliver Palestinian reconciliation charade).

King Abdullah of Jordan -

Still PO'd over Qatar's cable Al Jazeera's expose' that his pa was a CIA spy, Abdallah will be there. He always attends summits, and pointed out that al-Jazeera and Qatari's gov were two entirely different critters.


Any Fatah-Hamas breakthrough will want repstatives of both sides there, those hoping to maintain the containment of HAMAS will not. Qatar, which has hosted Khaled Meshaal before - land is a big advocate of a unity government, will likely invite him again. Whether he comes and what he does will be closely watched.

Nuri al-Maliki PM of Iraq -

The Iraqis reportedly decided to send their Prime Minister instead of President Jalal Talabani, which could be taken as a signal of their growing political integration into the Arab world and Maliki's personal growing involvement.

So - depending on the shows and no shows - what kind of agenda will be realised?

Syria. The leading storyline will be the nature of Syrian engagement. The Saudis have been driving a rapprochement with Syria which has become one of the key elements of the shifting Arab order. Summit watchers will be looking to see how this plays out in the deliberations, in the personal dynamics (will there be a recreation of the famous "couch summit" in Kuwait, where the Saudis literally sat Bashar al-Asad down with his rivals for the photographers?), and in the final statement.

It's linked to the American outreach to Syria (i.e. the Feltman/ Shapiro visit), to the endless struggle over Lebanon, to Syria's role in the intra-Palestinian struggles, and to the possibility of movement on the Syrian-Israeli peace talks. Expect to see a big show of Syrian amity.

Palestinian unity talks. The hopes of having a national unity government to present in Doha ended this week, after the talks stalled. The talks will likely continue on the margins in Doha, but don't expect a resolution.

And of course - how to cut a deal with Little Satan.

2002 Arab Peace Initiative is still on the table, but won't stay there forever.

"Will Lebanon, whose policy is dictated by Hiz'B'Allah, agree to peace with Israel even if a peace agreement is reached with Syria? And will fundamentalist Sudan be in any hurry to shake hands with Benjamin Netanyahu? And what will the Palestinians propose? Peace in Ramallah and war in the Gaza Strip? Even the Gulf states will find it hard to form a uniform policy on Israel."


Will the summit focus more on Little Satan or on Iran? Whether the summit frames the major challenges to the Arab world around Little Satan or around Iran will be carefully monitored -- as will how confrontational the Arabs are towards the Iranians.

Art - "Dohahaha"


Raedwulf said...

where do you find the time? Syria is only stable as long as its president is alive. It may be the next crises spot.