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Friday, March 28, 2008

Arab Leaders Snubbing Syria By Refusing to Attend Arab Summit

Syria's alliance with Iran and Hizbullah as well as their interference with Lebanon, who has not had a Lebanese president since November, nor a functioning parliament since 2006 because of Syria's interference, via Hizbullah, has brough the leaders of countries such as Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt which has joined the long list of Arab leaders that will not attend the summit hosted by Syria.

Lebanon is boycotting it altogether because of Syria's role in blocking the election of a new Lebanese president.

The Lebanese government issued a statement explaining their reasoning which said, "Based on the injustice that Syria has subjected Lebanon to (and) in light of the vacuum in the presidency ... the council of ministers decides that Lebanon will not take part in the Arab summit in Damascus that is scheduled for March 29-30."

The statement made note also of the fact that Lebanon had never missed an Arab summit until now and called it regrettable that it come to this.

Saudi Arabia -- which supports Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's cabinet in Lebanon also blames Syria for the crisis, which has led to the announcement that Saudi King Abdullah will not be attending the Syria hosted Arab summit either.

Relations with Saudi Arabia worsened after the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who made billions building palaces for the Saudi royal family, and carried a Saudi diplomatic passport. Harri was killed when the Syrian military, deployed in Lebanon since the 1975 to 1990 civil war, dominated Lebanon's security and political landscape.

Syria has done everything in their power to stop a full investigation into Harri's death and a U.N. inquiry into his death initially concluded that Syrian intelligence agents were involved. Syria denies that and refuses to cooperate with a tribunal being established in The Hague for the trial of suspects in Harri's assassination.

Almost like a snowball effect, other leaders are following suit. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is only sending a junior official in his place and Jordan's King Abdullah II has yet to announce whether he will be participating at all.

Andrew Tabler, Damascus-based editor of Syria Today magazine says, "The fact that the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not attending the summit is a bad sign. Decision making in this region comes from the top, so this makes the summit less able to settle major differences. This underlines the division between Syria and moderate Arab states and makes conflict this year more likely."

Syria is becoming more and more isolated within the Arab community because of its alliance with Hizbullah as well as being known as a proxy for Iran.

When the latest election for presidency failed in Lebanon, the conservative Arab leaders decided it was time to let Syria know that its interference in Lebanon as well as sponsoring terrorism by aligning and backing Hizbullah and continuing to work as a proxy for Iran, would not be tolerated anymore.

Syria has backed the wrong horse by aligning themselves with Iran and by actively sponsoring the terrorist group Hizbullah and this snubbing from the powerful Arab leaders is a warning to Syria to stop interfering with Lebanon.... the question now is, will Syria heed that warning or continue the course they are on?

Sources: Reuters and SFGate.