Arab leaders started their annual summit yesterday. This year it is in Dhahran (Zahran), Saudi Arabia, right on the Persian Gulf, right over the oil fields. Right across the waterway from Iran and the scowling ayatollahs. One can imagine that you can see the mountains of Iran if you squint hard enough, if you can see through all the Western naval warships clogging my Gulf.
These Western warships that are there presumably to deter an alleged Iranian attack that will never materialize, that has not materialized in over two centuries.
So far in my lifetime (and in my father’s and my grandfather’s lifetime), the only aggression in my Gulf has been committed by one Arab country against another, in one case by one Arab country against Iran:
Kuwait was invaded from what is now called Saudi Arabia at least twice, last time in the 1920s.
Kuwait was often threatened and then actually invaded and occupied by Baathist Iraq in 1990. Only the USA and Western allies liberated it, with some token Arab forces.
Yemen was invaded at least twice from Saudi Arabia. Large chunks of its territory were annexed, Israeli-style, by the Saudis during the last century.
Yemen has been, still is, the target of daily bombing and genocide by Saudi Arabia with active British-American help for the past three years.
Bahrain has been the beneficiary of a joint Saudi-UAE expeditionary force that helps the ruling family crush a popular uprising and the popular calls for reform.
Qatar was the target of a Saudi-instigated coup in the 1990s. It failed and several high Saudi intelligence officials were jailed in Doha for years. Now Qatar is again the target of a Cuba-style economic and total blockade from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Bahrain and Qatar have had their territorial disputes and clashes for decades.
Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, starting a war that lasted eight year. That losing war bankrupted Iraq and was the beginning of the end of the Baath regime of Saddam Hussein.
And there is more….
This Dhahran summit was weakly-attended: several Arab leaders sent second or third or even fourth rate representatives. The Emir of Qatar was smart enough to stay home; he probably did not want to be taken hostage by the fellow Arab princes of Riyadh. He remembers what happened to Lebanon’s Saad Hariri last year. Algeria, Oman, Morocco, even the UAE downgraded their delegates.
Bashar Al Assad would not stoop to attend the summit even if he were invited. There was no mention of the GCC crisis, of the Arab blockade of Qatar, of the Western attack on Syria.
The Saudi king declared that the Dhahran Summit will be called the Jerusalem Summit (presumably to celebrate his new friend Trump’s move of the US embassy).
In recent decades, Arab summits have been impotent gatherings of incompetent leaders. In the shadow of the huge American and British armadas and military bases, the Saudi king talked against “foreign” interference in Arab affairs. As if the NATO military forces and bases dotting my Gulf region were purely Arab forces.
In my lifetime, I have never seen the Arab world in such disarray and weakness, largely controlled by outside powers: be they American, Iranian, Israeli, or Turkish. This was probably the worst summit of them all, and the most hypocritical.
Its incompetence was summarized by Egyptian dictator Generalissimo Al Sisi, who raged against what he called “plastic” missiles being fired from Yemen in retaliation for constant Saudi bombing. I believe Al Sisi meant “ballistic” missiles. But he was onto something, inadvertently. The huge Arab armies, very expensively armed by the West to face a non-existing enemy across the Persian Gulf, are almost like “plastic” missiles. They are useless without Western help, guidance, and management. And very likely they also need imported personnel to operate them…
Cheers (if you can)
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum