The Arab uprising has so far targeted the usual suspects - despotic regimes dating back to the last century. But now it may be moving to challenge pan-Arab organisations sustained by discredited regimes. Top of the list is the Arab League, which claims to coordinate the policies of the Arab countries but has been perverting them instead. Almost two years ago, the leagues secretary-general, Amr Moussa, started looking for a safe place to hold its next summit. This was no easy task, as the Arab world was being sucked into an unprecedented political storm. No place for a confab: Yemen, here experiencing protests every day, is just one of countless Arab states too hot for the Arab League to gather in. Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain - early candidates to hold the summit - soon dropped out because of rising political tension. Later, Libya was also written off. By January, the picture was even less encouraging. Morocco was experiencing mass protests; Algeria was rocked by popular uprising. Unrest also left Yemen and Oman looking unsafe. Sudan? Its president is subject to an international arrest warrant for crimes against humanity. Lebanon? The Iran-financed Hezbollah and its allies had left it without a government. Syria? Its regime faced nationwide revolt. And Jordan needed its army to protect its regime and couldnt spare thousands of troops needed to protect visiting dignitaries. Somalia? Its government controls little beyond three districts of the capital in Mogadishu. Eritrea? Thanks to 10,000 UN peacekeepers, it has cordoned itself off for years and is in no mood for hosting anyone, let alone leaders of 22 Arab states. Palestine, though only a virtual state, is a full member of the league - but the idea of holding a summit in Gaza or Ramallah was never raised. Oil-rich Qatar wouldve liked to hold the summit. But its much larger and richer neighbour, Saudi Arabia, believes that tiny Qatar is getting too big for its boots - so no summit in Doha. Nor were the Saudis keen. Faced with mounting protests, theyve decided to distance themselves from pan-Arab politics, which have often cost them money and brought them grief. Kuwait or Abu Dhabi? No, both worried that hosting the summit would suck them into the Arab hurricane, threatening their fragile calm. Believe it or not, by the start of 2011, the only Arab country that appeared safe and stable enough to host the summit was Iraq. Yes, the same Iraq of quagmire and new Vietnam repute. But Iraqis werent keen on hosting the summit, either. Iraqs post-Saddam politicians prefer to emphasise Iraqiness (Uruqa) as opposed to Arabness (Uruba) - not surprising in a country where non-Arabs are 30 percent of the population. Nevertheless, the Iraqis, tickled by being acknowledged as the only stable place in the Arab World, agreed to host the summit. The man put in charge was Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari - an ethnic Kurd who speaks literary Arabic with a Kurdish accent. But that is not the end of the saga. Now the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, seem bent on derailing the Baghdad summit scheduled for May 10-11. The stated reason is Iraqs support for the Arab uprising, especially in Bahrain. But the real reason fear that Iraq may claim leadership in a new effort to transform the Arab World from a club of despots to an alliance of people-based states. Iraq, of course, isnt out of the woods; its achievements are challenged daily. But it is the only Arab country where the overwhelming majority accept that change of government should be sought through elections rather than coup detat, civil war, revolution or mass murder. I believe Iraq should ditch the summit until democratic regimes are in place in all Arab countries. The Arab League was a British colonial creation to perpetuate despotic regimes in the context of the Cold War. The world has changed since then, and new Iraq could become a symbol of that change. Apart from a few thousand bureaucrats, nobody wants the Arab League. New York Post