By General Monzer El Ayoubi


Translation: Pierre A. Sarkis

​Nine countries and several international organizations participated last Saturday, January 20, in the so-called “Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership”, and from the given title to the participants, one can smell the sacrifices that are to be presented and the volume of the rewards and the prices received. In addition, and in light of the political weight and role of its members at the regional level, and the prevailing cooling climate, the goal is clearly to develop a framework and agenda for the new anticipated geopolitical change in the new Middle East.

​Attending the conference were French President Emanuel Macron, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad II, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohamed Ibn Rashid Al Maktoum, and the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Sabah. Also in attendance were the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Abou AL Ghayz, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Yusuf Bin Ahmed, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef AL Hajraf, and the representative of the UN Secretary General in Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert.

​Alternatively, the exclusion of Syria and Lebanon and the failure to invite them to participate despite the disagreement over the suffering and tragedies, confirms the scale of limbo that the two neighboring countries are living in or going through. This brings us back exclusively to the stage of the slogan “unity of path and destiny” as raised in the “era of guardianship” in a negative sense, or “the brotherly Syrian presence in Lebanon” in a positive sense. It was flaunted and supported at the time, but then they turned against it “as they depended on most of the same current political factions…” Foxes have always cried at the feet of shepherds.


​On the other hand, attention was given to the Iraqi internal political scene to raise the level of the “effective effort”, with the aim of strengthening state institutions and its performance, along with the priority of economic growth, ensuring stability through understandings and easing tensions, while emphasizing that the coming parliamentary elections will be held with impartiality and transparency, under international supervision represented by the United Nations.

​In parallel, the reality of the necessity of the conference cannot be ignored in terms of space and time without overlooking the geopolitical and strategic extension, with the “New Sham/Damascus Project” in its role and decisions, which was held also in the Iraqi capital in the month of June, with the participation of the Egyptian President, the King of Jordan and Iraqi Prime Minister. Both conferences, when delving deep into their provisions, breathe the same oxygen and aim at the same objectives related to economic cooperation in the fields of energy, water resources, electricity, agriculture, marketing and transportation. This is in addition to the most important shield for all that is planned, which is cooperation, security and intelligence coordination in the fight against terrorism, and attacking their safe heavens and sleeping cells, as well as, fighting organized crime in all its diversity “electronic, drugs/narcotics, human trafficking, etc.”

​In a related context, Baghdad’s quest to adopt a positive position of neutrality can be foreseen and felt through the adoption of a zero-enmity policy, in conjunction with an attempt to renew and restore its balanced coordination role in the region, as an honest mediator contributing to reducing tensions and defusing crises. By embracing the conference, it renews its mantle from the days when it was the capital of the old world and the Abbasid Caliphate, through understanding the positive and negative military and political sequences in order to be a major gathering point in the region, whether for friends or bitter enemies. In distinction, the conference is the first of its kind on the regional level from its geographical positioning and common political and economic interests, and not from the fanaticism of the linguistic, religious or national affiliations, such as the Arab League, or, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, etc. There is no doubt that the conference will ensure that there is a common space for understanding and reducing the gap of conflict, and a hoped-for scene that reflects the positive intentions of the regional states.

​From a French and European point of view, it seems that President Emanuel Macron’s participation in the conference reflects the Elysees determination and desire to regain its historic role in the East, especially at this sensitive and dangerous period with states immersed in a struggle for power. Next, it is no secret that such participation may draw a more effective methodology, and may contribute to drawing the pattern of confronting the challenges faced by France in Lebanon, and the repeated attempts to disrupt its active mobility starting with attempts to derail the French initiative for reform and the formation of an important government.

​In summarizing the deeper delving into the recent Baghdad Conference and what was put forward on the table of solutions and the knowledge of the maps of influence, and according to the crystallized local, regional and realistic data, the need or conviction formed by President Macron is to take a bold and realistic step such as, “the lesser of two evils” of the Baghdad II type Conference, in coordination and sponsorship of the US and Russia with the purpose of creating a praiseworthy solution to cure the Lebanese quandary.

​Arthur Wynne, and in a forced nostalgia for the crossword network, proves there is a tremendous need today for the likes of this talented inventor who may succeed in solving the mystery of the Lebanese network, in the depth of its intersections and the positioning of its black and white bunkers. The Lebanese network cannot fit in pages, due to the worsening crises and accumulation of tragedies and the dependency on briefings, for what is required of the synonyms horizontally: the formation of a Lebanese government, economic and financial reforms, financial auditing, recovery of people’s looted deposits, halt corruption and perversion, financing card, dealing with the crises of electricity, medicine, water, and fuel, announcing the results of the investigation into the Beirut Port explosion and accountability of those involved; vertically, parliamentary and presidential elections, constitutional amendments, defense strategy, interaction with the region’s variants on the Iraqi pattern, determining Lebanon’s political identity and entity, eliminating Lebanon’s dependence on outside powers, the format and rules of the cooperation with Syria, the demarcation of maritime borders, and the extraction of energy from oil blocks.

​In concluding, and in its Lebanese version of Alzheimer, the network accommodates many pillars, and if a lot of doctors consider it a cure for an illness, it imposes its power in a game of life and destiny. Hopefully, the Lebanese message can be established through its united entity with its diversity on the social, religious, and ideological levels, in conjunction with saving the people of the country from the decline in their standard of living and life in all its aspects; otherwise, the disaster will be resounding, the impact enormous and the pain great. Such is the way it will be and it will be stated that a prostitute is a hotbed of bad people.

Beirut, 31/08/2021
Scholar in Security and Strategic Affairs