May 16, 2024 | The Jerusalem Post

Arab leaders meet in Bahrain for summit regarding Gaza and regional development

Arab League summit convenes in Bahrain to address the Gaza conflict and regional integration. Concerns arise over Israel's isolation amid shifting alliances and diplomatic challenges.
May 16, 2024 | The Jerusalem Post

Arab leaders meet in Bahrain for summit regarding Gaza and regional development

Arab League summit convenes in Bahrain to address the Gaza conflict and regional integration. Concerns arise over Israel's isolation amid shifting alliances and diplomatic challenges.

Arab countries are gathering in Bahrain this week for the Arab League summit. There are 22 members of the Arab League, and this is an important meeting for the group of countries. They will be focused on the Gaza war and other developments in the region.

This follows a meeting in Gambia of Muslim countries, where Israel was condemned for “genocide.” In addition, it follows Iranian outreach to Egypt and other diplomatic moves in the region.

The Syrian regime is expecting positive developments at the meeting in Bahrain. According to Al-Ain News in the UAE, a Syrian regime official discussed its plans for the summit.

“He stressed the need for the Arab Summit to send a strong and clear message to the American administration, demanding the necessity and inevitability of working to stop the war on Gaza, especially since the Israeli occupation now controls the Rafah crossing from the Palestinian side, and thus this threatens more murders and genocide and preventing the flow of aid to the people of Gaza,” the report said.

The meeting represents major shifts in the region. Three years ago, Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE signed on to the Abraham Accords, and there was a new hope for peace in the region. But the October 7 terrorist attack has changed all of this. Israel is now isolated, and there is a lot of concern about the US role in the region.

Israel’s diplomatic challenges

Meanwhile, Russia and China are on the march. China’s leader was just in Europe, and Russia’s leader is now in China. The Middle East region is hedging its bets between the West and East. Israel is losing out in this scenario, as countries grow closer to Iran, which backs Hamas. Turkey also backs Hamas, as does Qatar.

This means that Israel is losing out because key countries in the region are outraged about the ongoing war in Gaza. Countries that might have backed Israel are also concerned that Israel can’t seem to defeat Hamas or deter Hezbollah. As they watch the Iranian axis on the march, they wonder if Israel is able to be a partner for stability, or if Iran will soon control more of the region.

The Arab League wants to work to end the Gaza war. It wants more regional integration of Arab countries after years of conflict in places such as Syria and Iraq. It also wants to discuss the civil war in Sudan and potentially discuss Yemen and Libya.

There are many developments in the region. It will be an important meeting, and it could have negative ramifications for Israel. This is because Jordan and Egypt have been harshly critical of Israel, as has Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Jordan is also concerned about Iranian threats and threats from Syria.

Not everything is as it seems, and there are still disputes within the region that go beyond Gaza.

Seth Frantzman is the author of Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machine, Artificial Intelligence and the Battle for the Future (Bombardier 2021) and an adjunct fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Issues:

Arab Politics Iran Iran Global Threat Network Israel Israel at War Syria