London, 17 Apr – On Sunday, the Arab League held its 29th summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. This is a significant choice because it is the closest city geographically to Iran and the Iranian issue was a key topic of discussion and condemnation at the meeting of 17 Arab countries.
The most vocal critic of Iran at the Summit was Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the sponsor of the meeting, who called for a “strong international stance to confront Iran’s behaviour in the region,” and warned against the “threat” posed by Iran’s malign behaviour.
But he was far from the only person. Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit also stated that the Arab world must take a stand against the Iranian mullahs and even proposed a comprehensive plan to confront all challenges to the national security of Arab states.
Over the past 70 years, the Arab League has not unilaterally agreed on much, so it’s incredibly telling that they agreed on the need to take a stand against Iran.
It shows just how much the Arab states have put up with from the Iranian rulers, since its inception in 1979. Iran has been meddling in the affairs of Arab nations practically since then and now holds sway in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria (expelled from the Arab League in 2011), and Yemen. They routinely attack Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other Arab states. They fund terrorist groups across the Middle East, supplying them with weapons and troops. They even have terrorist training camps inside Iran to train the future leaders of Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed, the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel, wrote on Al Arabiya: “If some Arab governments do not think Iran’s behaviour is a threat, either because they’re geographically far from it or because they have a political consensus with it, the Arab League’s principle of joint defence, and on which the league was established, will have failed.”
This is why it’s so important for the member states of the Arab League to stand against Iran, even if its too different degrees depending on their GDP and military power. But this tough talk must be backed up with action. Too often, the Arab League have condemned things, but failed to act unilaterally. The last time was the expulsion of Syria.
Iran has simply done enough damage to the Middle East and should not be allowed to get away with it. The Arab League must act, whether militarily or politically, and they must act soon.