As good old Muammar Gadafy pointed out, the Arab summit in Damascus laid bare crippling divisions over Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq
By Ian Black
"Muammar Gadafy is usually good for a laugh, and he raised some thin - if strained - smiles at the weekend's Arab summit in Damascus when he took his fellow leaders to task for wasting his time and theirs. Talk of unity, complained Libya's irrepressibly candid "brother leader", was nonsense when Arab states spent their time plotting against each other, achieving nothing and standing idly by when one of their number (Saddam Hussein) was toppled by foreign armies.......
Summits are often boring and of little relevance to ordinary people outside the charmed circle of leaders, security and media. European Union summits invariably feel like that - though the achievements of the EU are enormous compared to the paltry results of Arab integration since the league was established in 1945.
"The summit in Damascus will constitute a transformation in the history of inter-Arab relations," wrote the analyst Adel Malek in the pan-Arab al-Hayat daily. "It will either trigger an awakening that would save what remains of Arab solidarity or consecrate the near total collapse of the Arab system." Life rarely offers such clear-cut choices - but no prizes for guessing which of these two outcomes is nearer the dismal truth."