It is the fashionable thing to do, to criticize the impotence of the Arab league, and to keep questioning its current and future viability. However, if anything, the League is nothing more than the simple manifestation of the failure of its member states, or/ and, their unwillingness to create a viable Arab collective order.
By – Khairi Janbek:
As a matter of fact it is not the Arab League which has failed in promoting in promoting and defending collective Arab interests, but rather it is the Arab states which have proved to be totally disinterested in the notion of collective Arab action. One would say that, actually the Arabs still prefer to deal bilaterally with other countries in the world rather than collectively.
Now, if we look at the issue from a global perspective, we can see that unlike anywhere else in the world where the nation state and large collectives are in tension, or where the nation state is losing its particular importance in the process of globalisation , the nation state in the Arab world carries a far more important weight in ratio to its capabilities represent, and that tends to make it more resilient and non-conducive for collective action.
Therefore, this superficial self image of importance of the individual Arab state, and the lack of confidence in the usefulness of the Arab League to serve its own individual purposes, renders this edifice as obsolete.
The questions automatically arise, how to make the League efficient, and on the flip side, is there a purpose for keeping it?.
I suppose in attempting to answer those questions , it is important to probe deeply whether it is possible for the individual Arab state to do away with some aspects of its image of itself, as well as relinquish some elements of its own individual self-interest and sovereignty with assumption that, it will feel more secure and comfortable in the larger aspect of collective Arab action. Simultaneously, those questions need to be balanced by the rational thinking of, whether what the Arab nation-state deems as painful sacrifices worthy of resuscitating the League, which has never been, and does not like going to be, the forum for the meeting of Titans, that draws the attention of the whole world.
Unfortunately, one does not really see the current situation and future prospects of the Arab league in terms of any single Arab state shedding its own sovereignty and self interests aside for the larger collective, therefore, the main advantage currently, for the continued existence of the Arab league, is to provide a form of frustration-venting exercise that spares the individual Arab state the necessity for reflecting on its own failure and impotence.
If this can be construed as a sufficient raison d’etre for the continued existence of the League, then by all means, but it would be unfair of the Arab people to expect anything more in terms of purposes, simply because Arab countries, will not as things stand, inject the required energy aspired by the Arab people into the Arab league.
At the same time, one has to say, that with the current state of inter-Arab rivalries and divisions, it is always healthy to provide the minimum of meetings and discussions among the Arab leaders in a forum which can be limited for this purpose. And this forum is the Arab League.