SINCE its founding in 1945, the Arab League, now embracing 22 countries (including Palestine), has sought to forge unity. Yet its annual summits have tended to produce either quarrels or platitudes. The latest gathering in the Qatari capital, Doha, followed much the same pattern but did produce unity—of a sort. Independent Arab commentators, as opposed to the state-controlled media, were united in calling it a waste of time.
“The only use of summits,” said Salama Ahmed Salama in Egypt’s daily, al-Shorouk, “is that they sharpen trends of rejection and opposition to these regimes.” “The only novelty they bring is new divisions,” chimed Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of al-Quds al-Arabi, a daily published in London. “Rising non-Arab powers in the region, such as Iran and Turkey, rub their hands in glee at the spectacle,” he asserted.
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