Egypt Independent

Arab Summit in a unique country



As I write these lines from the Libyan city of Sert where the 22nd Arab Summit is being held, I cannot help but wonder whether the now 65 year old Arab League–which first convened in Anshas in 1946–has "retired" from service as people normally do at this age or if it is, on the contrary, about to enter a new, more mature stage of its life.
 
No one knows whether the Arab leaders will agree on a minimum set of demands, or if they will resort to hurling dishes at each other like they did at an emergency summit in 1990 following Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait.

However, we do know that when Israel recently made the decision to build 1600 new housing units in Jerusalem while the US Vice President was visiting Israel, it did so intentionally as if to say to the Arab leaders convening today in Libya, "Show me what you will do."
 
It will only be a few hours before we know what they will do.
 
When in Libya, you can’t help but wonder about this truly unique country. Everything here has changed since Muammar Qadhafi assumed the presidency on 1 September 1969– a very long time ago!
 
Other than the country’s religion and geography, everything in the 2010 version of Libya is a far cry from that of the year 1969. Unlike its fellow 22 Arab states, Libya is a "Jamahiriyah," not a kingdom or a republic.
 
Even the months in Libya are different. While the current month is known across Arab States as "March," in Libya, it’s called "Rabee." So, today it is 27 Rabee in Tripoli while it is 27 March in Cairo.
 
Libya also has a "Green Book" that was intended to present the best way to run the affairs of the Libyan state and the rest of the world. This book was written by Qadhafi as a philosophy on ruling affairs.
 
Until this very moment, Qadhafi refuses to substitute the title of "Guide of the Revolution" for either the title of "president" or "ruler". In Libya, the government is composed of "popular committees" rather than "ministries."
 
Saying that the country’s geography is one thing that has gone unchanged by Qadhafi might not be even a very accurate statement. Indeed, Qadhafi seems more attracted to the African countries to the south of Libya than he is to the Arab world. Around a year ago, Qadhafi bestowed on himself the title of "King of African Kings."
 
Everything in the Libya of today is an invention of Qadhafi. But what will be the outcome of such inventions?
 
Translated from the Arabic Edition.