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Riyadh Summit... Potential Success - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Arabs must race to make the upcoming Arab summit a success.

Facts have proved that finding a solution to Arab problems is in the hand of Arabs and that by relinquishing their role, not taking the initiative, and failing to resolve their problems through understanding, Arabs would create a political vacuum, thus allowing outside forces to interfere.

The following three burning issues will be on the agenda of the (upcoming) Arab summit: Bringing the interrupted peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis back on course, creating a state of conformity between effective parties in Iraq, and helping Lebanon emerge from the crisis that is gripping it.

Arabs would be making a mistake by assuming that there is nothing they can do to solve these issues. The Arab initiative serves as a fundamental base for Arab action toward peace in the Middle East and prevents disagreement or discrepancy. Arabs need to promote this initiative and to launch a broad diplomatic campaign at the highest echelons, including the formation of a delegation of Arab leaders to visit major world capitals such as Washington, Moscow, London, Beijing, and others, in an effort to build international momentum toward resolving the (Palestinian-Israeli) issue based on the Arab initiative, and making the Israelis recognize this initiative.

As for the Iraqi issue, we must admit that most Arab capitals have adopted one of two “strange” positions: The first is the bystander position, which entails inaction, failure to create a state of conformity between the (disputing) Iraqi parties, and inattention toward the ongoing events in Iraq. The second position entails negative interference by supporting parties that kill and exercise violence. Had the Arabs agreed to honestly and jointly use whatever cards they have in their hands in Iraq, perhaps they would have succeeded in achieving what others — including the United States — have failed to achieve. This requires pressuring and reaching an understanding with Iran to put an end to its continued interference in Iraqi affairs.

Concerning the Lebanese situation, Arab capitals have many pressure cards, which can be used to pressure the various Lebanese parties. Also, Arabs can reach an understanding with Syria and convince it to change its position on the crisis, demarcate borders, exchange ambassadors with Lebanon, and build trust. Moreover, Arab capitals can take action and employ their political and economic capabilities to take the Lebanese to a final negotiating table, in an effort to resolve all complex problems.

Saudi Arabia succeeded in bringing together the Lebanese after the civil war by means of the Al-Taif conference. The Mecca meeting between Fatah and HAMAS was also a success. Accordingly, what can possibly prevent Arab capitals from pooling efforts and honestly and determinedly working toward resolving destructive conflicts, renouncing the notion that we need others to solve our problems, and trying to restore confidence in the capability of Arabs to deal with themselves and take care of their own affairs?