Hot off the Arab press 396515

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East.

The P5+1 – China, France, Germany, the US, the UK and Russia – prepare to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at nuclear talks in Lausanne. (photo credit: REUTERS)
The P5+1 – China, France, Germany, the US, the UK and Russia – prepare to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at nuclear talks in Lausanne.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Will Saudi Arabia enrich Uranium?
Al-Riad, Saudi Arabia, April 4
In March 2006, I visited Tehran and met with the “first man” of the nuclear program, Ali Larijani – who now serves in the Iranian parliament. At the time, both of us had no idea that it would take nine whole years for the world’s superpowers to reach a nuclear agreement with Tehran. Back in the day, Larijani told me that the United States would not be deterred from using force to stop Tehran’s ambition to become a nuclear power. Today, in hindsight, we know that such an attack never took place, even when conditions favored it. The rise of Hassan Rouhani in 2013 paved the way for a brand new page in Tehran’s relations with the United States, and despite official calls of “death to America” on the streets, Rouhani seemed to understand the importance of reaching a diplomatic deal with the Americans. He cleverly used the rhetoric that Washington wanted to hear, while continuing his incitement at home.
Where does this agreement leave the Gulf States? Where does it leave Saudi Arabia? Given Iran’s dubious track record, and continuous attempt to spark unrest in the Sunni world, Gulf countries are justifiably concerned. They will not be able to sit back and watch Iran become a nuclear power. Such a threat is too big. Therefore, it is not unlikely that Saudi Arabia will work to develop a bomb itself. The signing of the framework agreement in Lausanne this week might be remembered not as the event that brought stability to the Middle East, but rather as the catalyst of a nuclear arms race between Arab countries. Will Saudi Arabia enrich uranium? One should most definitely not rule this possibility out. – Ayman al-Hammad
Our long war against terror
Al-Masry al-Youm, Egypt, April 4
At least 20 Egyptian soldiers were killed on Thursday, when a terror group in Sinai launched several simultaneous attacks against military targets. Attacks in Sinai have, sadly, become a norm. In the past, terror groups hid explosives in everything from cars to potable water tanks. Last week, they went as far as shutting down the El-Arish-Rafah international road, in order to prevent ambulances from accessing the area. They carried out five coordinated ambushes at the exact same time.
One group carried out the shooting, another group set tires on fire to block the roads, while a third group was filming everything for dissemination on the web.
It is hard to believe that such sophistication and level of expertise can be simply achieved by individuals.
Not even local groups. The intensity of these attacks suggests that there is a state standing behind them.
These cowardly terrorists are funded, supported, and even trained by outside sources. As they increase their sophistication, so should the Egyptian army increase its counter-insurgency methods. As the terrorists become more daring, so should the Egyptian army be more ferocious in its war on terror. Yes, we are paying a heavy price for our war against terror. But we must show the Muslim Brotherhood, once and for all, that we will hunt down each of its individuals until we feel safe.
This month we celebrate 25 years since Sinai has been returned to Egyptian sovereignty. We will not let any force – domestic or foreign – take our land and our future away from us. – Sliman Gawda

What Arab force are you talking about?
Asharq al-Awsat, London, March 31
The Egyptian government submitted a proposal to form a joint Arab force that could intervene in the different crises throughout the Arab world. This idea is not new. It has been suggested in the past, even prior to the upheaval that we are currently witnessing around us – from Libya to Iraq. In fact, the Arab League itself was a forum created to establish a united Arab front against Israel, during the years of its establishment.
Since, however, it has become a defunct diplomatic body –manipulated by its own member states. It enjoys very little effect on the ground, if any. Its meetings are difficult and windy, and leaders struggle to reach agreements. Expecting that the very same organization will be able to form a unified army that can save the Arab peoples from their oppressors, is naïve. Not to mention the fact that several of its member states are, themselves, the subjects of intervention: Libya, Iraq and Syria, to name a few. With the exception of the current intervention in Yemen, the Arab world would not be able reach an agreement on almost any policy, let alone one related to waging war. Whom will the new Arab force fight? And who can assure us that it will not be [rife with] politics and manipulations – just like any other joint Arab forum has proved to be thus far? – Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid
Operation Decisive Storm – an Islamic spring?
As-Safir, Lebanon, March 28
Yemen has long served as the forefront in the battle between two opposing jihadist groups: Islamic State and al-Qaida. Both organizations vie for control and influence in the Arab Gulf, and compete over controlling not only the hearts and minds of people, but also territory and natural resources. Historically al-Qaida has been more successful at basing itself in Yemen, while IS’s activity was limited to Syria and Iraq. Now, with the launching of Operation Decisive Storm, things become unclear.
At first sight, the Saudi intervention in Yemen has the potential of eliminating both groups, as their bases and strongholds will be targeted from the air and on the ground. However, we must also remember that when foreign forces intervene in domestic wars, some become more extreme and begin supporting groups that seem to defend the nation. This is the card that the Islamists might play in Yemen. The lack of policing and the overall chaos in the country, moreover, will create an unbelievably fertile ground for both Islamist groups to strengthen their grip on the ground.
It is unclear what will happen next, but right now it seems like Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen might lead to an outcome contrary to that desired by the Saudis: Islamist groups in Yemen might be able to take advantage of this chaos to strengthen and reestablish themselves. – Abdallah Sliman Ali
Compile by the Media Line