Do not put any hope in the Riyadh Summit of the League of Arab Nations. The Arab heads of state are meeting at a time that will go down in history books as the most critical and dangerous in the past 2000 years.
Two thousand years – the history of past generations and conflicts in this part of the world almost never dies out.
But the Arabs of today are caught between two histories that since March 2003 have converged upon them.
On the one hand, we have the knowledge and insight of some 3000 years of history – Persian history, not Arab history, to be precise.
Throughout the long, arduous course of its empire, Persia employed belligerent, nearly fanatical lust for the Middle East. And beyond.
The Persians of the longest-lasting empire in history fancied themselves superior to other nations of the area. They waged war and enslaved all other races, but their designs came crashing down when the new Muslims pushed through the area known as Iraq.
Ah yes, Iraq. Where the new Persian Empire is roosting.
In Riyadh today, Arab leaders eye Iraq (the new Iran) with consternation. They fear the rise of Iranian influence in that once Arab nation. There are some 30,000 Iranian agents operating in Iraq, issuing orders for the politicians in Baghdad and drawing up lists of Iraqis to be kidnapped, executed, and destroyed.
But modern history will also figure into the parlays in the Saudi capital. In 1948, the State of Israel was created and Arab politics – the unity and disunity therein – were shaken at the foundations.
Israeli policies were designed to humiliate and beat down the Arabs as the specter of occupation wore on.
Israelis were taught to feel superior to Arabs in much the same way as the Persian Empire.
What future history will Arab leaders create a foundation for in Riyadh?
None, I fear. For in Riyadh, Israel and Iran will compete for recognition as the greatest threat to the Arabs.
Iran will win this competition, by chance, outside interference, or due to the sheer fanatical sway of its chest-thumping leaders.
If you hate Israel, you will embrace Iran. If you hate Iran, you will embrace Israel.
But if you are wary of both, the game is up, the knights and pawns have all fallen.