September 13, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10203

Arabs Intellectuals Polarized Over Algeria's Hosting Of Next Arab League Summit

September 13, 2022
North Africa | Special Dispatch No. 10203

Reacting to Algeria's preparation to host the next Arab League summit in early November 2022, Arab intellectuals are deeply divided regarding Algeria's foreign policy positions. While some have praised Algeria for its support of the Palestinian issue, others condemned it for being hostile to its neighbor Morocco, allying with Iran against the Arabs, and siding with Ethiopia in its dispute with Egypt.

Mocking Algeria for planning to host the Arab league summit while allying with Iran and being hostile to Morocco, Al-Jazeera TV host Syrian national Faisal Al-Qassem (with over six million Twitter followers) posted a tweet[1] on September 2, 2022, saying: "A regime that conspires with Ethiopia against Egypt, allies with Iran against Arabs, is hostile toward its Arab neighbor Morocco, and then claims that it seeks to unite the Arabs in an Arab summit." Al-Qassem also questioned Algeria's pro-Palestinian position, saying: "Would it be possible to be an agent for France and a supporter of Palestine?" and "They slaughter their own people, torture them mercilessly and deny them their most basic human rights and then they raise the slogan: We are with Palestine hahahahaha."

Responding to Al-Qassem's tweet, Hafid Derradji, sports commentator for the Algerian BeIN, which, like Al-Jazeera is owned by Qatar, tweeted: "Most importantly, we do not betray, we do not sell our country, our issue, and honor. We do not express pride in destroying out country to topple our president. Algeria did not say it will unite the Arabs because they will not be united while dangerous kinds of drugs and hallucinogenic pills are widespread and the level of normalization with an entity that seeks to cancel and prevent the summit from taking place in Algeria by using its agents is increasing."[2]

An indirect response to Al-Qassem's tweet came from his Palestinian colleague at Al-Jazeera Jamal Rayyan, who praised Algeria in a tweet saying: "it is a model to be followed, may Allah preserve it and grant it resolve to maintain its honorable positions regarding Arab issues and particularly the issue of Palestine."[3]

A great deal of the criticism Algeria has received was based on its relations with the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad and its intention to discuss the restoration of Syria's membership in the Arab league, a proposed agenda item that the Syrian government requested not be included "for the sake of Arab unity."

Pro-Syrian revolution activist Omar Madaniah posted several tweets in which he accused the Algerian regime of being the leading supporter of "the killer of the Syrians Bashar Al-Assad and the one that cries days and night to reinstate the criminal Bashar in the Arab league. The souls of these children will hunt the criminals and those who support them."[4] In another tweet, he wrote: "Only pigs believe that reinstating the criminal Bashar Al-Assad in the Arab league would mean uniting the Arabs."[5]

Questioning Algeria's motive in hosting the Arab league summit while "allying" with Iran, "siding" with Ethiopia, and supporting the Polisario Front, Iraqi journalist Sufian Samarrai wrote a tweet on September 5, 2022, suggesting that the summit should be moved to Morocco "to foster a unified Arab position regarding crucial issues that threaten our security in this stormy global situation."[6]

In addition to Derradji, other Arab intellectuals rushed to defend Algeria and its efforts to host the next Arab league summit. Omani political analyst Dr. Haydar Al-Lawati posted a tweet on September 7, 2022, saying: "[There is] an Arab campaign against Algeria as it prepares to host the Arab summit. Algeria seeks to reinstate Syria in the league and would like to present the Palestinian issue for discussion and there are people who are bothered by the mentioning of Palestine and would like to bury this issue and there are those who feel disappointed at the possibility that Syria may return to [the league] and this is the reason behind the campaign. I salute Algeria and its remarkable positions."[7]

Many Arab countries have reservations and doubts on the importance of the upcoming summit in Algeria, which was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. According to the London-Based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, until late August there were discussions on postponing the summit mainly because of a lack of agreement on the agenda and Algeria's positions regarding several sensitive issues. Analyzing Arab countries' reluctance and lack of enthusiasm regarding the summit in Algeria, Rabah Lounici, a political science professor at Oran (Wahrane) University in Algeria noted that Egypt "believes that Algeria does not seek a fair solution to the [Palestinian] issue and only seeks to be a mediator to restore its diplomatic role. Egypt believes that Algeria supports Ethiopia to put pressure on Egypt... and we should not forget the dispute between Egypt and Algeria over Libya."[8] Lounici also pointed to the Gulf states disapproval of Algeria's relations with Iran and stressed that the biggest factor is "the influence of the alliance between Morocco and the Zionists in many countries, especially the Gulf states, to spoil the Arab summit so that Algeria would not return to the international and regional stage and would not play a role in resolving disputes between Arabs, which does not serve the interests of Israel, particularly because Algeria would like the summit to be one where the Palestinian factions reconcile and that would not serve the interests of the Zionist entity."

Despite all the reservations and doubts, Algeria seems to be determined to host the upcoming summit. On September 6, 2022, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra noted that the Summit's agenda proposal has been approved during the 158th regular session of the Arab League Council at the ministerial level which took place in Cairo, Egypt. Lamamra also stressed that "the current global situations require the doubling of efforts in order to divert the Arab region from these tensions and the various challenges that result from them."[9]


[1], September 2, 2022

[2], September 3, 2022.

[3], September 3, 2022

[4], September 3, 2022

[5], September 4, 2022

[6], September 5, 2022

[7], September 7, 2022

[8], September 4, 2022

[9], September 6, 2022

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