A group of those who still long for the "good old" past have arranged for a meeting for the different factions of the "Iraqi resistance" whether that resistance was Ba'athist, Salafi, She'at or pan-nationalist doesn't really matter as long as they share the same dream of bringing Iraq back to the dark ages of tyranny and repression.
Of course the conference attracted some opportunists who saw in the latest meetings between American officials and some militant groups a chance to gain influential positions in the political process by representing these groups.
Anyway, the objective of the conference was to unite the efforts of the powers that oppose the American presence and the current administration in Iraq (or any future administration other than the Ba'ath) and to form a front that can defeat all the present trends in Iraq that are led by "American agents".
The conference-unsurprisingly-drastically failed and they even couldn't release a final statement.
Syria didn't host the conference because her position these days is already critical and the Syrian Ba'ath cannot take more risks so the choice (or the offer) was made to hold the conference in Lebanon and that was most probably a Syrian idea since Syria and the Ba'ath in general still have good presence in Lebanon represented by the pan-Arab movements and the Lebanese Ba'ath party.
The sponsor was the "center for Arabic unity studies" which is stationed in Lebanon and led by Iraqi professor Khair-Iddin Haseeb; one of the tireless defenders of pan-Arabism and who still thinks that armed resistance will certainly win.
A first look at the list of attendants (100 of them) was enough to tell me what kind of a conference it was; a pathetic assortment of people who do not know anything about dialogue meeting to have a dialogue. All they know and believe in is the language of guns so I was positive of their upcoming failure, and it happened.
I don't want to bother you with a list of a hundred names that you don't know but to keep you in the scene, those 100 attendants could be classified as follows:
1-Members of the leadership of the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party.
2-Patriotic democratic trend (a pan-Arab group).
3-Members of Muqtada trend (delegation led by Hassan Zargani chief of foreign relations in the Sadr trend).
4-Regualr guests of Al-Jazeera and other Arab media networks.
Full list in Arabic can be found here.
The attendants were trying to put plans for post-liberation Iraq (liberation from what the call western occupation) considering that kicking coalition troops out of Iraq is something they don't need to worry about because they (the armed "resistance") are already triumphing so their main concern was how to run Iraq's affairs after "liberating it" and the basic issues that were scheduled for discussion included rebuilding the army (the old one), rebuilding the ministry of information and solving the Kurdish issue.
After the 1st session, objections came 1st from the armed groups themselves where they said that no one had the right to represent them "we are the ones to lead Iraq and we are the only body that has the right to decide for the Iraqi people and there shall be no politics or negotiations of any kind".
As a matter of fact, the objections came earlier than this in the form of announcements posted on some "resistance" websites.
I actually find it funny (and of course stupid) to say that they're the one and only legitimate representative of the Iraqi people when they oppose all kinds of politics while 60% of Iraqi voted in the January elections and more are willing to vote in the next elections!
I guess this clearly shows that they do not represent more than an extremely low percentage of Iraqis which is the same percentage that helped Saddam repress the rest of the people.
That statement of the armed groups left the other groups in bewilderment; who's going to fill the security vacancy if America left? UN peace-keeping forces? Or forces from the Arab league?
The armed groups answered by "NO" for both suggestions as they believe that both institutions are under American influence and they helped America invade Iraq(!!).
The representatives of the armed groups said that they are capable of controlling Iraq and that there's no need for any kind of foreign troops.
Those who had a few neurons functioning in their heads were not convinced by this response. Actually even the Sadrists were shocked when the heard those people talking in the name of Saddam and Ezzat and referring to them as if they were the legitimate leaders of Iraq.
The Sadrists and the patriotic democratic trend asked the Ba'athists to give up on the past regime and apologize to the Iraqi people for the atrocities committed by the Ba'ath as a condition to resume cooperation.
But the Ba'athists refused and the Sadrists left the conference and so did the patriotic democratic trend.
Even professor Haseeb who arranged for the conference chose to sneak out and announced that his center is just a research institution and they happened to be sponsoring this conference. At this time the Jazeera regulars were getting aboard their flights on the way back to Europe.
The objective of the conference in the first place was to form a national front to lead Iraq after it's liberated from the colonial west and its Iraqi agents but the conference ended also calling for the formation of that front!
Related Arabic links here and here.