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A Spectacle of a Summit - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Like a free show or the many comedic and tearful scenes originating from the Arab world, the Damascus summit was indeed an event worth watching. Here we witnessed scenes that at best could be described with the words of the Poet Ahmed Shawqi who once wrote, “You spoke and you were a disaster”.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad inaugurated the summit with a speech that included several fabrications, most notable of which was the issue of Lebanon, when he said that Syria had been pressured for a over year to get involved in Lebanese affairs.

These words seem strange, when you remember Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa statements regarding Damascus’s power in Beirut.

Al-Assad also discussed Iraq’s Arabism, but we don’t know what Arabism he refers to since Iraq has become completely under Iranian influence. Today the Iranian revolution has been exported to every part of the Arab world, with Syria and the Bashar Al-Assad’s regime as their most prominent ally.

Something that was brought to my attention by one of the attendees at the summit was the absence of the Basmala (In The Name of God, The Most Beneficent and The Most Merciful) from the start of the Syrian President’s speech, however Syria had no problems utilizing its mufti in threatening Arab leaders who did not attend the Damascus summit by decreeing that attending the Summit is a compulsory duty and that those who did not attend the summit without a legitimate excuse were doomed.

This was followed by Libyan Leader Muammar al-Gaddafi’s speech. This man and his speeches are another story all together, however the most notable issue mentioned in his statement was his assertion that eighty percent of residents of the Gulf region are Iranians. Perhaps here he was referring to people of Iranian affiliation in the Arab world, thanks to Syria.

Moreover, Gaddafi had other motivations for his positive words on Iran. The Colonel here wanted to hit a number of birds with his one speech, namely to close the chapter on the issue Moussa al-Sadr with Iran and Lebanon and to spar with Saudi Arabia for the sake of Syria.

What’s quite notable to anyone who watched the proceedings was that many of the attendees were laughing heavily at Gaddafi’s speech, perhaps not realizing that he meant every word. His speech was hilarious, yet the man is convinced with his logic especially when he warned others about ending like Saddam Hussein at the gallows.

But wait; didn’t Colonel Gaddafi give the US access to inspect every chicken farm in Libya after he abandoned the idea of a nuclear program? The man has strenuously sought to end his conflict with Washington and according to the former head of the C.I.A, George Tenet’s biography; the US was taken aback by Gaddafi’s zeal for cooperating. Of course all this happened after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

so after witnessing this spectacle of a summit and listening to all the fabrications about Lebanese and Arab issues as well the insinuations and insults hurled against the people of the Gulf region, we have a final word to say to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal who stated yesterday that Saudi Arabia hopes that it had been wrong and that it hopes that the Summit would come up with solutions for the Lebanese crises. To this we say to the Saudi Foreign Minister, Rest assured Prince Saud; your country was right when it decided not to attend, for we will not bare false witness especially after all we’ve heard at this spectacle of a summit.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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