With the holding of the Algiers and Jeddah summits, we are facing a fundamental discussion on the trends in the development of joint Arab action. Over the course of the preparations and convening, many challenges have emerged facing Arab countries, both in their inter-relations and with neighboring countries, foremost of which are security problems in a number of countries and the challenge of building positive relations with neighboring countries. The ability to remain neutral in the face of international conflicts may be a test for the Arab League in building a common position that ensures that damage is avoided.
Therefore, following up on the commonalities between the two summits helps to explore the elements of viability and the potential strength of Arab countries in the transition towards stability. The main observation in Algiers' declaration was that the official discourse does not provide sufficient solidarity for progress in the implementation of Arab aspirations, but lays the groundwork for possible compromises at the regional level and stimulates confidence in joint action. In these contexts, the Algiers Declaration of November 2022 converged with the Jeddah Declaration of May 2023 on many issues, so that it can be noted that the outcomes of the 32nd summit were complementary to the previous summit, and that they complement its objectives.
The Algiers summit seemed aware of the state of the international order and put forward the idea of positive neutrality to reduce the risks of war on regional security
At the Algiers summit, differences appeared over the priorities of the agenda, due to the emergence of several problems, the most important of which were normalization with Israel and "resetting relations with neighboring countries." Minor disagreements have also emerged over the common perception of the relationship with neighboring countries, especially with regard to Iran's influence in a number of Arab countries. Preparations have therefore been preoccupied with reconciling the aspirations of the Arab States with taking into account regional instability. Under the slogan "reunification", the Arab League has tended to seek solutions to the problems of governance and instability in some countries. Despite the traditional pattern of the preamble of the Jeddah Declaration, the content of the statement combined with the slogan of reunification, to form the basis of the discussions and decisions taken by the University to consolidate the understandings that took place during the past two years.
At the level of the two summits, the Palestinian cause occupied a central position in Arab politics, and perhaps the meeting coincided with the attack of the right-wing government in the Zionist entity on the Gaza Strip and Al-Aqsa Mosque motivated the Arab consensus to affirm commitment to a comprehensive settlement and the protection of Palestinian demography along with supporting the historical Hashemite Custodianship to protect Islamic and Christian holy sites, and to stabilize the vision for a final solution according to the June 1967 borders and the legal protection of Palestinian rights.
In any case, the summit followed a common pattern in considering all issues related to regional security and foreign policy, as it considered that the transition to peace, cessation of hostilities and ceasefires is necessary to protect state institutions. In this context, the positions of the Arab League towards Arab countries facing crises share the priority of strengthening the government and ensuring the unity of the state, and with the momentum of political solution initiatives, the chances of filling the vacuum resulting from international intervention and respect for national sovereignty are increasing, and here we can refer to Saudi-Egyptian coordination in containing the crisis in Sudan and preventing its internationalization, and providing a model that can be generalized in Libya and Lebanon.
While the Algiers summit discussed Syria's return to its seat, subsequent preparations expanded consultations to bring views on Syria's status closer together. After delegate-level meetings, reservations were lowered to allow for the end of Syria's seat freeze and the invitation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to participate in the summit, a phase in which Saudi and Syrian officials made an effort to build confidence and ensure that disagreements were avoided during the summit.
The consultations appeared between two sides; the first was to open relations with Syria according to the status quo by gradually improving the capabilities of the state, and the second went to set conditions for the Syrian government to take confidence-building measures with society and expand control over the region before it returns to the university. The wording of the resolution carried with it a combination of the two opinions, against the backdrop of the difficulty of keeping Syria away from Arab action and leaving it under the influence of external interference for a period of nearly 12 years, which exposed the unity of the state to multiple risks.
When addressing the situation in the Arab world, external interference occupied part of the debate in the preparatory work about the clarity of the Arab position, as the meetings avoided mentioning the names of the intervening countries, which paved the ground in the Jeddah statement for positive talk about cooperation with Turkey and Iran. Under the slogan "Reunification", the trend towards developing features of collective relations has been strengthened, in addition to the network of relations with the two Arab neighboring countries (Turkey and Iran). These trends appear to be a response to regional rapprochement, an interesting process in the ability to transform consensus into future policies and open the way for economic and political cooperation.
Internationally, the Algiers summit seemed aware of the state of the international order, and put forward the idea of positive neutrality to reduce the risks of war on regional security, as the Arab Contact Group was formed to mediate between Russia and Ukraine. Building on previous efforts, Saudi Arabia has tended to expand the impact of Arab meetings by linking them to global issues. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's invitation and presentation of a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin represent an expansion of the role of the Arab League, so that it is present in international interactions.
In this case, I was keen to bring the two direct parties together and listen to their positions, and in addition to searching for a neutral position and avoiding involvement in the conflict, the main goal was clear in bringing the positions of the Arab countries closer to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Due to Jeddah's association with the holding of several international conferences, the convening of the Arab summit has become the focus of interest of parties who participated in previous summits during the past year - where the US-Arab and Chinese-Arab summit - resulted in similar declarations that placed the Arab world within the discussions of international issues and the problems of the global order, in development issues, and regional security, which is supported by the common desire to expand peaceful relations between Arab and neighboring countries, and work to absorb the Israeli right-wing government and undermine its efforts to increase regional tension. The Saudi-Iranian agreement represents an advanced stage in relations with neighboring countries and the transformation of problems into mutual opportunities and interests. The positive signals of Arab-Turkish relations were also an important indicator that the region has overcome a period of tension that prevailed in previous years, and can prepare for collective relations in regional cooperation.