A funeral prayer for the Arab League

A funeral prayer for the Arab League
The bloc has proved ineffective at managing the region's political crises.
3 min read
24 Oct, 2014
Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby [Getty]

No longer is there any justification for the existence of that fanciful organisation named the Arab League. The Arab world has become an open playing field for all kinds of competitions, a huge wall for graffiti artists to adorn with their scribbles.

There is no longer a single Arab country playing a central role. All Arab states now occupy the margins, with none able to wield the power to lead others.

Misery, helplessness and incompetence has spread from Yemen to Iraq to Syria to Palestine. The fate of these countries now lies in the hands of foreign players. One cries laughing at the memory of the days when Arabs fought each other to host the Arab League.

In those days, Egypt viewed the Cairo location of the League's headquarters as sacrosanct, and non-Egyptian heads of the organisation as destructive to collective Arab work, and serving the Arabs' enemies.

A role forgotten

Arabs used to fight over the now decaying and useless body of an organisation that no longer has any presence in Arab affairs. Even the role it used to play in legitimising foreign interventions is no longer remembered.

Arab humiliation has reached the point that Arab states are no longer able to continue their tribal squabbles, and no Arab capital envies another or aspires to its coveted leadership role. All Arab states are now content with the scraps they receive, and their meagre survival has become an achievement in itself.

     Elaraby heads an organisation that has no presence.

The Arab world has been ablaze for the past several years - and the past year in particular, yet the Arab League has not noticed the smell of smoke. The League has either lost its sense of smell or has accepted that it will become a short sentence in history books, or in the stories of the elderly, or as part of the worn out train tracks scattered across Arab lands.

Yemen is being fragmented and will soon become a collection of dyes on an Isfahan rug. Libya is burning and transforming from a state to a field of counter-revolutionary folly. Iraq and Syria likely share the same fate. Meanwhile, the Arab League is fast asleep. We have not heard of plans for a ministerial meeting or proposals for an Arab summit. We have not heard of any mechanism being implemented to deal with the situation in these countries, mechanisms that those occupying the lavish building on the banks of the Nile should be experts in.

If you count the number of times you have heard or read the name Nabil Elaraby, secretary-general of the Arab League for the past few years, you will find he is seldom mentioned. This is because Elaraby heads an organisation that has no presence.

Arab states have retreated and retired from their disagreements with each other, passively watching Iran and Turkey compete over our land and populations, and leaving the field wide open to al-Qaeda, the Houthis and the Islamic State group.

In such a disgraceful situation, the Arab League is just another example of extravagant and wasteful spending on a frivolous organisation that should have funeral prayers performed on its behalf.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the original author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed staff, its editorial board or staff.