Hot off the Arab press 436913

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (photo credit: REUTERS)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the vote on the air-strikes against Islamic State
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, December 5
The British parliament voted this week in favor of joining the campaign against Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
British Prime Minister David Cameron invested significant effort in convincing members of parliament to support this vote. He has argued that international support of the Free Syrian Army – a group of soldiers who defected from President Bashar Assad’s army and hold moderate views – would go a long way toward weakening IS. Cameron is right. Western governments, lured by Moscow, believe that the only way to end the Syrian conflict is through cooperation with Assad. They are forgetting, however, that the fundamental source of this conflict is Assad himself, who has ruthlessly killed thousands of his own people in the past few years. Without removing him from power this war will never end. Cameron seems to understand this, and so has chosen to advocate for support for the Free Syrian Army. The Russian approach might be effective in making immediate gains, but is futile in the long run. If anything, it will only add fuel to the fire. The British vote this week is an important step in making the world recognize this simple fact. – Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed
The true face of al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia
Al Eqtisadiah, Saudi Arabia, December 4
Some people claim al-Qaida’s day has completely passed, especially since the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Public attention seemed to have shifted away from Afghanistan and toward the Levant. But a recent documentary aired on Saudi television brings the terrorist group back into the spotlight, calling into question the kingdom’s preparedness to deal with the rise in global terrorism.
The full-length documentary was compiled from dozens of homemade videos shot by al-Qaida militants, whose cellphones and computers were confiscated during a Saudi raid on their camps. Authorities recently released these videos to the public, shedding light on the everyday lives of terrorists. The film provides an insider’s perspective on the men’s training, ideology and daily lives. It depicts them in their most humane moments, joking and rejoicing just hours before setting off to carry out an attack.
While there are many important takeaways from the film, the main one is the understanding that education has a direct impact on the radicalization of young men. Some of the militants in the films left their families and enrolled in Islamic schools at the age of 10-14.
They were brainwashed and conditioned to believe in a deadly ideology.
In the face of growing radicalization and the surge in global terrorism, it seems to me like more has to be done to provide proper education to our youth. We must keep them away from society’s margins. Our struggle is not simply about security. It is in many ways a struggle of education and intellect. It is a struggle between humanity and ignorance. – Fadeela al-Jafal
Between the sultan of Turkey and theTsar of Russia
Al-Arabiyah, Saudi Arabia, December 1
The downing of the Russian jet [last month] by Turkey generated mixed responses among Arab states.
Some stood by Moscow, while others proved loyal to [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan – furthering the divide between the Russian and Turkish camps in the region. This is not surprising. Both leaders, who have very similar personalities, appeal to their peoples’ national sentiment: Erdogan by protecting his great empire, and Putin by punishing anyone who defies his monarchy. Meanwhile, the Arab public – defeated and beaten by its own autocratic leaders – is drawn to these ideas of greatness. Instead of looking at their own grievances, Arabs are able, for the first time in a while, to look at others’ suffering instead of their own.
But we must keep in mind one thing: At the end of the day, no matter what side one takes Arabs will be those paying the price. It is their countries and airspace that will be filled with fighter jets and bombs. It is their people who will be fleeing from one border to another.
Given the turmoil we witness everywhere around us in the region, it does not seem wise to engage in this futile debate between the sultan of Turkey and the tsar of Russia.
Let’s stay out of this. – Diana Makled
The Gulf’s normalization of ties with Israel
Al-Saffir, Lebanon, December 1
For decades now Israel has been hiding its true identity of a colonial power by branding itself as an advanced and pluralistic society – what some people ridiculously call “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Helping with this effort all along were Arab states, particularly those in the Gulf, who have completely turned their backs on the Palestinians. Their oil wealth seemed to have blinded them; erasing any moral values they once claimed to have had.
Today, many in the Gulf even dare blame the Palestinians for the dire conditions under which they live. Meanwhile, Israel, in their eyes, is a potential ally in their fight against Iran. But let us be clear: Iran is not a threat to the Gulf. It is a threat to the Gulf’s hegemonic ambition to be the most powerful player in the Arab world. Riyadh’s emerging alliance with Israel is nothing but another stepping-stone in its attempt to outweigh Tehran.
The Gulf Cooperation Council stood idly by when Israel developed its own nuclear program, which far exceeds that of Teheran’s in both size and power. Now they are coming to terms with the existence of Israel as a normative and legitimate state. Sadly, the Palestinians have been ignored for too long. They have taken the blame for the entire Arab world’s ills and faults.
They have been manipulated by their Arab brothers for narrow political interest. And all along, while Israel’s brand name is praised and exalted, Palestinians are being demonized and alienated. The Arab world forgot where its loyalty lies. – Nasri Sayegh
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