News / Middle East

    Arabs to Hold Summit on Bridging Regional Divides

    Kuwait's FM Sheikh Sabah al Khaild al Sabah (C) hosts the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in Kuwait City March 23, 2014, ahead of 25th Arab League Summit which will take place in Kuwait March 25.
    Kuwait's FM Sheikh Sabah al Khaild al Sabah (C) hosts the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in Kuwait City March 23, 2014, ahead of 25th Arab League Summit which will take place in Kuwait March 25.
    Phillip Walter Wellman
    Foreign ministers from across the Arab world have finalized an agenda for the 25th Arab League Summit, which begins Tuesday in Kuwait. 

    Organizers say the summit comes at a critical time in the region and collaboration among member states is needed to move forward.

    One of the most pressing issues is Syria’s civil war, which has claimed around 150,000 lives, according to some estimates, and continues to fuel sectarian tensions in neighboring states.

    But after three years of fighting and futile attempts to restore peace, Rice University research fellow Kristian Coates Ulrichsen says it is unlikely the league will be able to coordinate a truce.

    "There was a feeling that as in Libya the Arab League was the natural place to start, but I think with the Arab countries themselves divided over whom to support and to what extent, that has made it much more difficult to try and come up with a coherent position on Syria," said Ulrichsen.

    Kuwait is holding the league's summit for the first time since becoming a member in 1961. It says bridging regional divides is one of its main aims as host.

    The meeting is being held under the slogan “Solidarity for a Better Future.”

    Before the talks, Kuwait's Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah said Arab solidarity was already “strengthening in many domains.”

    The director of research and consultancy at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, Theodore Karasik, says the minister’s claim is an overstatement.

    "The title of this year’s conference is one that is completely contradictory to what is ongoing in the region, and I highly doubt that the Arab League is going to be able to put forward a final closing statement that says that the Arab League is unified given so many divisions within member states," he said.

    Further division came to light earlier this month when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, accusing their Gulf neighbor - which has backed the Muslim Brotherhood - of jeopardizing regional security.

    "I am curious, and I think a lot of other people will be curious, if the issue of Qatar and this dispute between Doha and Riyadh and Cairo and the Emirates comes to the forefront of the Arab League meeting," said Karasik. "That will be quite telling of the impact of this squabble within the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] on the rest of the MENA [Middle East - North Africa] region.

    Analysts like Karasik say divisions among the Gulf states could affect the capability of the Arab League because of the financial flows supporting the organization.

    The Arab League was formed in 1945 to strengthen relations among member states and promote the interests of Arabs.  Thirteen heads of state have confirmed their attendance for this year’s summit.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ali from: Iran
    March 24, 2014 12:33 AM
    hey Dr. Marina, these Arab fools are dead already. They just don't know it yet. We have already prepared the ground to drink their blood.
    and you should stop being a stooge for hated US/Israel. or Scandinavia will be next...

    by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
    March 23, 2014 10:46 PM
    Saudi Arab is the main cause of division among arab states.SA is supporting terrorist is Syria in the shape of finance and weapons. SA is responsible for fall of Ghaddafi in Libya. Al Qaida and Taliban born in SA. Unless and until SA change its narrow mind thinking there will be more problems and more divisions in Islamic and Arab worlds.

    by: Dr Masta Marina from: Finland
    March 23, 2014 6:36 PM
    somebody should have the courage to tell this assembly of idiots that without Israel they will all be slaughtered by the IRGC or the Hizbulla...

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora