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What to expect from the Amman summit

Mar 05,2017 - Last updated at Mar 05,2017

The Arab summit to be held soon in Amman is an important moment for the region.

The ongoing crises in Yemen, Libya, Syria and other places show that the real challenges exist in the Arab countries themselves.

One major issue is the return of Syria to the Arab League after more than six years of crisis in this Arab country.

The political solution can be the only option, so Arab countries should try to bring Syria back in the Arab fold, and play a key role in stabilising and rebuilding Syria. 

Yemen and Libya are also important issues that could, and should, be solved under the Arab umbrella.

They also need a new way of thinking and repositioning of major Arab countries.

Egypt, as the most active Arab country, could pave the way for better Arab cooperation.

Arab countries must understand that the longer the crises endure the worse the situation gets for all of them.

In view of the Saudi concerns about Iranian influence in the region, it is important to review past policies and understand how Arabs may have given Iran more room to exercise its influence, especially in places where crises occurred, like Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and now Yemen.

Sectarian trends cannot be countered by more sectarian policies. 

Shiite Arabs in Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen are still Arabs, but the policies adopted by some Arab countries pushed many of them closer to Iran.

These are important issues to bear in mind if we wish to learn from the past and avoid repeating mistakes.

It is important that Arab countries develop new policies that work to unify people, rather than divide them.

For Jordan, this summit is critical, as it provides an opportunity to restore its political importance as a country interested in solving these crises and building a new phase of Arab concord.

If such attempt fails, Jordan may find itself alone in facing three major issues: growing economic crisis, the new phase of combating terrorism and the risks of a failed peace process between Palestinians and Israelis.

Arab states need to encounter Israel’s current narrative which is based on a wider regional peace, and focus, rather, on peace with Palestinians.

The Trump administration’s positions on the Middle East must also be addressed at the Arab summit. 

These include the future of the peace process and the potential of strong US interventions in the region if Arabs cannot find a path by themselves.

Developing a new and effective Arab strategy for deradicalisation and fighting terrorism is one key issue that might help restore Arab cooperation.

There is not much to be optimistic about regarding the crises facing the Arab world, but Arabs need to start a new phase of inter-Arab relations, and credible and smart initiatives to achieve goals.

amersabaileh@yahoo.com.

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