Flags of Arab states are seen along the Nile river (File image) Image Credit: Reuters

‘The Arab World’ is an obsolete construct. The MENA region is torn by fractures and disagreements permitting malevolent foreign entities to exert influence and power. Never has the time been so auspicious for Arab states with a similar world view to unify so as to create an Arab Army on the lines of NATO.

The plans were forged some years ago but failed to be implemented. Now they need to be signed off by the leaders of Saudi, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, close allies capable of constructing the necessary building blocks towards empowerment. Threats to peace and stability are real and cannot be ignored.

For instance, Turkish and US forces have no right to be stationed in northern Syria or to deprive the Syrian government from its country’s oil. But not only is the United Nations impotent to prevent this illegal occupation and theft, the regime’s protector Vladimir Putin is hesitant to make waves.

Today Lebanon is on its knees, the economy and the lira (down 70 percent against the dollar) are in freefall. Inflation is rampant. People are losing their jobs. Suicides are on the rise. Hopelessness is weighing heavily on the shoulders of those going hungry in the dark during a pandemic.

- Linda S Heard

He remains hopeful that Russian-US relations can be improved over time and resists jeopardizing Moscow’s relationship with Turkey, one of its most important trading partners.

Lebanon is another example of foreign strangulation. This formerly prosperous Mediterranean jewel was once known for its sophistication. Wealthy travelers from all over the planet flocked to its shores to enjoy the beaches, ski resorts, shopping, entertainment and nightlife.

Tragically a 15-year-long bloody civil war that kicked-off in 1975 involving the PLO, Syria and Israel besides the Lebanese belligerents robbed over 120,000 of their lives, triggering a mass exodus of the brightest and best. Born in the chaos was the stone around the nation’s neck, Hezbollah.

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Today Lebanon is on its knees, the economy and the lira (down 70 percent against the dollar) are in freefall. Inflation is rampant. People are losing their jobs. Suicides are on the rise. Hopelessness is weighing heavily on the shoulders of those going hungry in the dark during a pandemic.

For those of us who love Lebanon and admire the courage of its people to stand strong when faced with adversity, observing Lebanon is self-destruct is heartbreaking.

Case of Lebanon

Lebanon will always struggle to emerge from the quicksand until Iran’s emissary Hezbollah - an armed terrorist group holding allegiance to the ayatollahs – is dismantled and disarmed.

The question is who will do that? It appears that no Arab country, including Beirut’s traditional friends and allies, have any appetite to take on Hezbollah militarily and all are reluctant to prop-up Lebanon’s finances with aid which in the past have lined the pockets of corrupt politicians.

Iraq is another country ruined by foreign meddling; it has never been able to recover from George W. Bush’s WMD fabrications that resulted in a US-led invasion by ‘the willing’ which killed up to a million Iraqis while opening the gates of hell to sectarianism which, in turn fathered the most bloodthirsty of all terror organizations.

And thanks to President Barack Obama and his cohorts in France and the UK, Libya remains a political, economic and security basket case vulnerable to overtures from the energy hungry Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who also has a finger in Syria, Iraq, Qatar and elsewhere.

He is paying battle-hardened mercenaries from Syria to retake territory, especially oil ports and facilities, from the non-elected, Islamist-weighted government’s main adversary, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army.

In essence, Erdogan has re-infected Libya with mercenaries carrying out abuses under a Turkish flag which places Egypt directly in their path. Unless a diplomatic solution can be found, which Turkey strongly resists because that will not facilitate its desire for permanent bases or agreements allowing Ankara to excavate for oil within Libya territorial waters, Cairo will have no choice but to launch a military intervention.

Erdogan's reaction

How Erdogan will react in that event other than his trademark bluster cannot be predicted.

Adding to the uncertainty permeating this part of the world is the upcoming US presidential election. For all his faults and faux pas, President Trump has maintained fairly good relations with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt while keeping up the pressure to contain Iran. His plummeting approval ratings are putting smiles on many faces. Be careful though!

His Democratic rival Joe Biden may come across as Mr. Nice Guy in comparison, a soft-spoken, folksy type who champions America’s role in spreading democracy and human rights worldwide, but he has no love for Arabs.

Lest we forget he was a main cog in Obama’s reach out to Iran wheel, an administration known for its hostile stance towards Riyadh and Cairo as well as its cozying-up to the Muslim Brotherhood.

It is beyond time that Arab governments learned to trust one another. The guarantees of self-serving foreign leaderships are not worth the paper they are written on. When will they learn that the West is not their friend?

Just look how the US, UK, Australia and Canada fallout from time to time but still band together against rising powers Russia and China. They know the value of all-for-one, one-for-all whereas throughout the Middle East with few exceptions, it is, sadly, each country for itself.

— Linda S. Heard is an award-winning British political columnist and guest television commentator with a focus on the Middle East.