On the 17th July 2011, following the visit of the Arab League Secretary General, Nabil el-Araby, to Syria, and his meeting with Bashar al-Assad, and the comments that followed, I wrote an article that stated that, “Syria responded quickly to the comments made by the new Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil el-Araby…however, the Secretary General’s statements were not what one would expect from a seasoned politician”!
Today, after a long series of events and stances relating to the Syrian revolution, which up to now has left nearly seven thousand people dead, not to mention the thousands of detainees and missing persons, and has lasted ten months, we return once again to talk about Mr Nabil el-Araby and his positions towards Syria. Up until this day, the al-Assad regime has not held one member of its personnel accountable, but rather we see Walid Moallem saying that he does not know anything about how military activity operates in Syria, and that he has nothing to do with it. These are the same words that al-Assad said previously when he claimed that only a crazy leader would kill his own people!
Mr el-Araby defended al-Assad the day he met him in Damascus, in July 2011. Surely el-Araby realizes today that nothing has changed in the behavior of the al-Assad regime since that date, but despite all this, el-Araby still makes strange and incomprehensible decisions, and appears to be defending the al-Assad regime. Even in his latest press conference in Cairo el-Araby was not convincing, despite the issuance of a new Arab initiative, and rather it was Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim who spoke with logic and clarity.
Nabil el-Araby is still going against public opinion, choosing the leader of Hamas, Khaled Mishal, to convey messages to al-Assad, and choosing Mustafa al-Dabi’s team to head the delegation of Arab observers. Now we find el-Araby offering the Egyptian Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei the chance to be his representative in Syria, only because Bashar al-Assad may feel comfortable with ElBaradei, because of the stand he took against the strike on the Syrian nuclear reactor, his position on the Iranian nuclear file, and likewise his criticism of the West and the Americans. This is what I have heard from several high-level sources, but is this a joke or something real? With all due respect, what would ElBaradei do in Syria? Will he withdraw halfway through his task, like he did in Egypt? Will he disappear when the Syrian protestors are fired upon, like when he avoided going down to Tahrir Square on the first day of the Egyptian revolution? His excuse that day was that he did not want to steal the limelight from the youth, and this is what we described at the time as “knife and fork opposition”, and we were criticized for saying so!
This is a puzzling matter, and it requires us to pose the logical question about Mr. el-Araby, with reference to his choices and stances. The question is: Since el-Araby has chosen Khaled Mishal, Mustafa al-Dabi’s team – which presented its recent observation report as if it were answering to al-Assad rather than the Arab League – and now Dr. ElBaradei, should we expect el-Araby to choose Azmi Bishara and Mohamed Hassanein Heikal in the future?
To answer the question in the title, it does not seem that el-Araby is a conspirator, but he is a long way from understanding the region and its variables. Of course, if he truly wanted to conspire, he would have been more subtle!