Syria to the Summit!?

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 20 March / Mar 2017. 01:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

The Syrian flag, along the Dead Sea road, underlined with a poetic and proud descriptive statement, has incited curiosity as to whether Syria is invited to the 2017 Arab Summit.

In response to the relentless questions raised, government officials explained that Syria’s membership in the Arab League stands. Syria’s participatory role, however, in the League’s conventions, has been suspended, which includes the Summit.

In a previous stage, an Arab member of the league; a state, tried to substitute the Syrian official delegation to the Summit with an opposition representation, but that didn’t work. It didn’t find favour among participating Arab states, even when the delegation attended the Summit in Doha. Syria’s seat remained empty in all occasions of the foreign ministry conventions, as well as all the summits which followed.

The decision to suspend Syria’s participation was purely political, in response to the Syrian regime’s irresponsiveness to the Arab League Initiative to settle the Civil Crisis politically. Subtly though, it implicitly infers the support of some Arab states’ for the opposition, in an attempt to endow them with some level of legality as representatives of Syria.

Typically, the Arab League did not go back on its decision, and the Syrian opposition did not succeed in nailing acknowledgment. As a result, the Syrian seat remains vacant.

The problematic issue here is that Syria’s official representation at the United Nations (UN)’s conventions is Bashar Jafari; the regime’s official envoy, still. And despite all UN decisions, Syria’s participation in the Security Council’s conventions has not been suspended.

Officially, Jafari is Syria’s representative in Geneva and Astana Talks. So, why is Jafari acknowledged by the UN as Syria’s official representative but not the Arab League?

This has nothing to do with the Syrian regime. More so, nor is it an underlying, subtle invitation for the regime to attend the Summit. This is here, however, a question of Syria the country, its identity, and its place on the map of the Arab World; will that too be vacant?!

Fact is, Syria is not doing any better than other Arab countries included the League’s agendas; war torn Yemen, Libya, with three governments, as its self-proclaimed national army prepares to liberate their capital, as well as Somalia, whose capital we do not know, notwithstanding other Arab countries, barely holding together.

The issue, however, lies in the fact that throughout all the other times Syria did attend the Summit, the Arab League had failed to advance a resolution for the crisis. And when they felt helpless, the League turned it over to the United Nations and more or less turned their back to the whole thing.

Now, the UN too has failed, leaving Syria for the regional and international rivals and players to resolve the crisis. Most like, and it goes without saying too, that the interests of Syria and the Syrians will not come first!

Hence, Syria’s attendance or absence in the Summit is all the same. So is it too for the many of the attendants.

Truth be told, the whole Arab World is in disintegrating.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.