It has taken years for our bickering Arab rulers to realise it, but uniting our region benefits us all.
Europe is the model for every economic union in the world. The EU is the most deeply integrated region on earth, with a highly developed political, social and economic system.
The Gulf has done pretty well, bringing together the oil economies into a free trade zone known as the GCC. But the rest of the Arab World lags decades behind, despite the professed desire for unity coming from most of our leaders’ mouths since independence in the early 20th century.
Now, though, the unity train has once again left the station, fuelled this time by Turkey. Ankara has pushed for more liberalised cross-border trade and is removing visa requirements for citizens of regional countries. The knock on effect is that those regional countries are also signing bilateral agreements between each other. So what started out as a Turkey-Jordan and Turkey-Syria deal has ended up in Syria and Jordan agreeing a similar treaty.
Now that Jordanians no longer require visas to enter Syria, the number of people crossing that border has tripled, from one-third of a million in the first half of 2009, to almost one million in the same period this year.
More unity, more benefits.