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Articles - Addostour - Date: 2019-06-02
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

The takeaway from the three Mecca summits was much as expected: The most strongly worded condemnations were directed at Iran, especially during the Gulf and Arab summits, while three Arab countries, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain, received all the expressions of solidarity and support that they wanted.
 
The crowd of attendees gathered in Mecca has dispersed, leaving behind a question hovering over everyone's heads, but without any conclusive answers: What next? Condemnations have been issued, but what follows? What is the next step after expressions of solidarity and support?
 
The Arabs who met Mecca during the last ten days of Ramadan do not want to wage war on Iran, and are unable to do so anyway. This could mean one of two things, or both: First, that the proxy wars against Tehran will continue, and second, that the next step will be to wait for Washington to offer an antidote, after failing to secure a healing salve from Iraq. These are the remaining options for facing 'Iran's dangers and threats to regional stability,' as stated by the summit statements and deliberations.
 
However, the problem is that both options are more complicated than can be accounted for in an ordinary or an emergency summit statement. If the decision for war and peace with Iran lies in Washington's hands, then dependence on Washington will continue to hang over our necks like a sword, especially since the man occupying the White House is akin to the Merchant of Venice. He is above offering anyone gifts or free meals. He does not seek war, and does not want one, and may not be able to bear its costs, despite the din of the war drums that he and his aides have been beating with unprecedented force over the last few weeks.
 
As for the proxy wars option, the problem is that they will take place in our own home turf and backyards as Arabs. We alone are their fuel and fodder. Hundreds of billions of our future generations' monies will be spent on them as our societies are distorted and disrupted, and as the children of the Arab crisis states are exposed to famine, stunted growth, malnourishment, ignorance, and disease, with no political or negotiated solutions on the near or distant horizon. True, Iran, in turn, will bleed on the proxy war battlefields, but there is a world of difference between its hemorrhage and our own, as a bleeding wound in a hand or foot cannot be compared to a non-stop and profuse one in the heart.
 
The U.S., which has received the summits' support for its anti-Iran strategy, does not aspire to either a military or a political solution. It merely observes the scene remotely, while sticking to managing the crises so as to prevent them from spiraling out of control, rather than to resolve them. It takes advantage of the mutual fears and deep concerns rooted on both sides of the conflict, so as to strike more arms' deals and contracts at astronomical rates. But, above all, it seeks to subdue the region into accepting Israel's existence as a natural entity and a potential ally and partner in the conflict with Tehran and its allies.
 
So, what are we doing, again?
If we are neither willing nor able to go to war, and if proxy wars will deplete us more than Tehran, and if it is in Washington's interest to perpetuate the conflict in the future, why do we not to launch initiatives that will allow the region to emerge from this moment of self-erosion into the zone of security and cooperation?
If we are unable to defeat Tehran, which is also unable to defeat us, why cling to the Samson Option and 'bringing the temple down on all our heads'? Is it not time to think of a large-scale regional initiative? For example, an Arab negotiating team can be formed from the countries concerned to launch bilateral dialogue with Iran in the hope of expanding it at a later stage to integrate Turkey and perhaps Ethiopia into the talks.
 
The end goal would be to establish a regional system of security and cooperation that safeguards the rules of good neighborliness, reinforces the concept of nation states and national sovereignty, and meets the interests of the historical nations that are the foundation of the region's legacy, are responsible for its present, and are partners in shaping its future.
 
We cannot allow the region's circumstances to remain as they are, trapped in a state of limbo between war and peace, with no decisive action or resolution based on the recognition of mutual rights and interests. A condition of bleeding and attrition cannot continue to prevail over the regional situation. If we do not wish to go to war, let us try the option of peace, even if it faces formidable obstacles, and even if we are plagued with doubts and concerns about the intentions of the Arab nation's regional axes states.
 
If we are unable to launch creative initiatives, then let us respond to other parties' initiatives, starting with the non-aggression and good-neighborly treaties with Iran that Moscow and other international capitals have welcomed and expressed their willingness to mediate so as to facilitate their success.
 
There are no other options, and we do not have the luxury of waiting indefinitely.