Perhaps it’s not for a political reason that the city of Dhahran was intentionally chosen out of 20 Saudi cities to host the Arab League summit but it’s still the geographically closest city facing Iran. Iran was mentioned in the major speeches delivered during the summit, both via coding and direct statements. The meeting’s sponsor, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz called for a “strong international stance to confront Iran’s behavior in the region,” and reiterated warnings of this “Iranian behavior’s threat.”
Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit reiterated that there’s a need for an Arab stance against Iranian stances. Arab governments have different stances on almost all causes, except the Palestinian cause to some extent. This has been the case of the 37 ordinary and emergency summits held in the past 70 years as Arab states rarely agreed on decisive issues. This is why politicians often formulate general, loose and long statements to bring positions closer.
In his speech to the League’s members, Aboul Gheit proposed a plan to confront the multiple challenges via “a dialogue on the priorities of Arab national security” and noted that “major threats confronting us are equally important and dangerous.” The Arab League secretary general is right to place all important cases in one basket as, for example, Libya’s crisis cannot be viewed as less important than Syria or Yemen.
Threats are common. Bahrain and Lebanon suffered from Iran’s interferences six years ago, and today we can see that Iran’s rifles expanded the scope of their activity towards Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria. If some Arab governments do not think Iran’s behavior is a threat, either because they’re geographically far from it or because they have a political consensus with it, the Arab League’s principle of joint defense, and on which the league was established, will have failed.
Unfortunately, our region is still the most troubled region in the world and the one with the most failure in terms of political governanceAbdulrahman al-Rashed