Who defines Arab national security?

تم نشره في Tue 31 March / Mar 2015. 09:40 AM

By Jumana Ghunaimat

As expected, the Yemen question dominated the Arab League summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the day before yesterday; other equally important files were somewhat absent from the meetings of the Arab leaders, especially the war on terror.

As a result, it became possible to read the different Arab attitudes toward many of the issues that has been, until recently, the main concern of many countries. The crises in Iraq and Syria, in particular, did not receive sufficient attention, while talks of a military alliance against the Houthis were crowned by the approval of establishing a joint Arab force to safeguard the Arab national security.

But the million dollar question here is: What is the definition of the Arab national security today? Is it limited to the expansion of Iran in the region and its control over the four Arab countries, the latest being a back garden to Saudi Arabia? Is the threat of terrorist organizations, according to the agendas of some countries, not part of Arab national security? Were the Syrian and Iraqi issues sidelined?

The main task of the joint Arab force is not to face of the multiple challenges faced by various Arab countries, especially the terrorist organizations who also welcomed hitting the Houthis, considering them enemies of Islam. There seems to be a stark contradiction, and even a coup against the agenda of the fight against extremism; that is what needs to be stopped. It is unreasonable that two parties who were enemies yesterday suddenly agree in an explicit announcement of a sectarian Sunni-Shia war.

The dubious agreement on a war in Yemen reveals the most important and most dangerous aspect in this war, that it is sectarianism. Perhaps what makes this as explicit as it seems is the inclusion of Pakistan and Turkey, in their capacity as two Sunni countries, to support the war on Shia, though each to their own objectives. The goal of the Turks specifically is to ride the wave of the war and not to lose the Sunni sympathy, and not even Saudi Arabia alone can reap the fruits of the Sunni friendliness.

The move to hit Yemen was not for the fact that countries in the region felt upset, and that the threat arrived at their doorsteps.

The graveness of the war in Yemen is in its none-guaranteed results, and that it may develop into a proxy war. History proves that all the wars in this country have proved to be futile. It would have been sufficient to protect the border.

However, it seems that Saudi Arabia has identified precisely the time of the launch of the military operation in Yemen; it came specifically before the end of the meetings of Lausanne, Switzerland, which will determine the fate of the nuclear deal with Iran. This is because Saudi Arabia knows that Iran will behave differently after the deal, if it is struck. Indeed, the initial reaction of the Iranians is less than expected, for known reasons.

Again, the problem today lies in the Arab national security definition, and who has the authority to determine these priorities, especially to any existing threat today, especially those coming from terrorist organizations. These organizations will not stop expanding; even if these organizations strongly supported the strike on Yemen, and remains. We need an Arab common vision, put together by all, not to serve country-specific agendas.



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition