“Arab leaders on Thursday urged a swift and peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria at a landmark summit in Baghdad, with Iraq’s premier warning that arming rival camps there would lead to a “proxy war.” Nuri al-Maliki’s remarks highlighted the split in the Arab League, with hardliners Qatar and Saudi Arabia calling for Assad to step down and for rebels opposing his regime to be supplied with weapons, while others including Iraq are pushing for political reconciliation. Qatar and Saudi Arabia were among Gulf countries that largely snubbed the summit, with the two countries only sending envoys to the first Arab meet to be held in the Iraqi capital in more than 20 years. Doha said its decision was a “message” to Iraq………..”
Possibly the Iraqis and the real situation on the ground in Syria may have pushed the Arab League to come out against foreign intervention. The Syrian opposition, no matter how much of the population it represents, seems unable to coordinate let alone unify. The nominal leaders of the SNC are now purely symbolic ambassadors of anti-regime forces. It is the various armed groups that call the shots inside Syria and they are even more divided than ever.
Baghdad also represented its own message to the summit: where else are the consequences of Western intervention and liberation more dramatic than in Iraq? Then the leaders meeting in Western-liberated Iraq also had “Western-liberated” Libya in mind, where small battles rage every day between militias in different cities of the country. They know that Libya was liberated by NATO, not by the rebels nor by Qatar or the UAE who between them don’t have enough citizens to from a medium-sized army.
As for Qatar sending a “message to Iraq”: with all respect, some of our GCC regimes are silly, nearly absurd, in fact ridiculous (and I am not talking about Bahrain only although that regime is the mot ridiculous). Qatar probably has a couple of hundred thousand citizens (and a lot more temporary foreign laborers), and yet it is sending ‘messages’ right and left. The only country that the Qatar potentates have to truly fear is Saudi Arabia which tried at least once (late 1990s) to overthrow its current emir through yet another coup. Qatar probably needs to send a “message” toward Riyadh, if anywhere. Brotherly, or is it sisterly, Saudi Wahhabi tanks are as close to Doha as they were to Manama a year ago. They may have been defeated by the Huthis in Yemen, but the road to Doha is smooth with no ragtag Huthis to stop them.