In general, in today’s world the governments as the key parties of the international relations form or join the international cooperation organizations in a bid to collaborate, solve disputes, and jointly face common threats.
The major goal of the governments behind referring their cases to the international bodies is an intention to realize their interests and objectives through drawing support of other actors. Seeking the same aim, the Saudi leaders called for holding an emergency meeting of the Arab League FMs after Yemeni forces on November 4 targeted Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport with a ballistic missile.
Saudi Arabian goals behind the meeting
Issuing a request statement calling for the Arab countries’ foreign ministers to hold an emergency session, Saudi Arabia claimed that Yemen’s Ansarullah forces fired at the Saudi capital an Iran-made ballistic missile from the Lebanese soil. The statement went on to allege that what the Islamic Republic is doing in the Arab world not only threatens the peace and security in the region but also the whole world.
With these points in mind, it appears that the Saudis’ major aim behind this call is to form a consensus against Iran and the other Axis of Resistance members including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and also Ansarullah in Yemen. In fact, Saudi Arabia, frustrated by failure to materialize its goals after three years of a devastating aggression against Yemen and under international community’s pressures to end massacring the Yemeni civilians, is seeking to garner backing of other Arab states under the excuse of so-called Iranian complicity in the anti-Saudi missile attack in a bid to exhibit as legitimate its aggressive approach to the neighboring country.
Another part of the Saudi Arabian goals is linked to the flagrant meddling of the kingdom into the case of resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Intending to escape the massive international criticism against Riyadh, the Saudi rulers want to stir a political crisis in Lebanon for the aim of impairing the now firm political position of Hezbollah on the country’s political stage even if it takes ignition of chaos or, even worse, a civil war there.
During the past two weeks since resignation of the Lebanese PM, who made his quitting statement from Riyadh not his country, the developments did not go as the Saudis desired. Not only no crisis hit Hezbollah but also the Saudis were accused of interference in Lebanon politics. The next resort is the Arab League that in its March 2016 meeting blacklisted Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Now the Saudis hope that they can once against instrumentally take advantage of the bloc to introduce Hezbollah and the so-called Tehran meddling as the main drives of Hariri resignation.
Arab division and meeting’s possible outcomes
Over the past years, the Arab League policy revolved around keeping in tune with the Saudi aspirations and imposed visions of the kingdom. Similar track is expected to be taken by the Arab bloc, though it is far from being able to reach a consensus, and will at best end with a statement repeating threadbare charges about Iran’s meddling in Arab states, and a condemnation of the Yemeni missile attack, or even showing support to the Saudi Arabia’s interventionist measures in Lebanon.
But a two points about the Arab emergency meeting need highlighting:
First, despite the fact that the Arab League was founded to bring about unity to the Arab states, it has fully lost the nature and role it was expected to take due to deep gaps between its members. The bloc’s decisions have never borne efficiency to solve the disputes or find solutions to crises. This decline apparently strips the bloc of a credible title among other major international organizations.
When Saudi Arabia called for the emergency meeting, divides showed face, too. Iraq declared that it will not take part on the level of foreign minister in the meeting. Additionally, the foreign minister of Libyan national unity government Mohammed Taha Siala has announced that Libya sent a letter to the Arab League head informing him that it was not participating. Lebanon is another Arab country that is expected to challenge the closing statement if it blasts Hezbollah. In March 2016 summit, the Lebanese and Iraqi representatives opposed labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Responding to Beirut objection, Saudi Arabia froze $3 billion in military aid presented to Lebanon by Riyadh. Moreover, the Qatari spat with Saudi Arabia is slated to overshadow the ending statement about Hezbollah condemnation and continuation of Saudi Arabia’s destabilizing behavior in Yemen and Lebanon.
Second point has to do with validity of the statement. The statement is not an official resolution and is devoid of consensus. So, when some countries decline to sign it, it will lack validity. And the statement is usually published a day after the meeting. In many cases, the representatives of some countries question the final version of the statement as it appears on the media.