Hot off the Arab press 449758

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

KURDISH FEMALE fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and women wearing traditional dresses dance as they celebrate the spring festival of Newroz in the notheast Syrian Kurdish city of Qamishli on March 21. (photo credit: REUTERS)
KURDISH FEMALE fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and women wearing traditional dresses dance as they celebrate the spring festival of Newroz in the notheast Syrian Kurdish city of Qamishli on March 21.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Al-Mustaqbal, Lebanon, March 25
The brutal attack that hit Belgium this week cannot but leave us aching with pain over the atrocious crimes that were committed on behalf of our religion.
It now remains virtually impossible to determine where or when the next attack will take place, yet many Europeans are coming to terms with the idea that this new threat will likely accompany them for years to come. But what is behind it? How did the barbaric ideology of the Islamic State reach the hearts and minds of European individuals who received a Western education? The answer has to do with marginalization.
Muslim youngsters who grow up in European societies might hold French, Belgian, or German passports.
But their alienation from society and their limited options – both economic and social – bring them to identify, first and foremost, as Arabs. To make things worse, they see the problems faced by their Arab brethren around the world: in Palestine, in Syria, in Iraq, and in Yemen. They witness Western leaders try to conduct wars far away from their borders, ignoring human suffering when the circumstances don’t suit their political goals. This is how extremist dogma reaches Europe. Surely it won’t disappear simply by integrating Arabs into European society. President Obama recently mentioned defeating the Islamic State as his “top priority.”
Yet he did not say how this will be achieved. And this, my friends, is the million-dollar question; without hope for a brighter future in the Middle East, European Muslims will continue viewing themselves, above everything else, as Arabs. – Asaad Haider
Al-Quds News, Ramallah, March 22
Roughly 17 Yemenite Jews were covertly smuggled to Israel last week, in a joint effort of the Mossad and the Jewish Agency. The operation sparked widespread public discussion in the Arab world about the role of Jews in Muslim societies and their loyalty to the state.
In reaction, Dhani Khalfan, the famous head of the Dubai police, called on the Arab public to stop treating Jews as enemies and start viewing them as “our cousins, with whom we have some territorial disputes.” He then went on to explain that forming a Palestinian state would be a mistake, as Palestine – under the PLO – will simply become a failed state, like many other Arab ones in the region.
Instead, he argued that Palestinians should merge with Israel and enjoy the democratic and political stability of the Jewish State. There, they will be able to enjoy fair representation in the government, growing to become the majority of the population, just like the black population in South Africa has done.
Reactions to Khalfan’s remarks soon followed, with many accusing him of cooperating with the Israeli authorities and speaking on behalf of the Israeli Intelligence.
Others claimed that he is a shame to Islam and to all Muslim people around the world. However, the lieutenant general refused to apologize for his remarks and stood firm behind his words. – Al-Quds News Editorial staff
Al-Okaz, Saudi Arabia, March 24
It has been a bloody week in Europe. In Brussels alone, roughly 40 people were killed and some 140 others were wounded in two terrorist attacks in the city.
Just days earlier, in Turkey, several tourists were slain in Istanbul’s central shopping district, only a week after an explosive car rammed into a packed commuter bus.
These attacks come after the arrest of Salah Abd Abdelsalam, the Moroccan-French national who stood behind the November attacks in Paris. Now Europe is beginning to understand that it is facing a new terrorist threat emanating in its own backyard. And within Europe, authorities are realizing that Belgium has become one of the biggest hotbeds for terrorism in the entire region.
Brussels’s Molenbeek neighborhood alone gave rise to numerous terrorists, many of whom were involved in deadly activity inside and outside Europe. A recent study even showed that Brussels yielded the highest rate of terrorists per capita – more than any other European city. Currently, some 250 Belgian nationals are fighting in Iraq and Syria, alongside the Islamic State.
This is the new face of Islam that emerges in the region, and it poses a big threat not only to Europeans, but also to the majority of Muslims who condemn such acts of terrorism.
Europeans now fear Islam, and conflate it with treason and terrorism. Islam has been hijacked by a group of pirates, and they are redefining the way the world views our religion. – Turki al-Dakhil
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, March 25
The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould al- Sheikh, recently announced his plan for a cease-fire in Yemen, set to take place on April 10, after which representatives of all sides are scheduled to arrive in Kuwait for negotiations on a final cease-fire resolution.
There are no guarantees. However, this is still a great achievement for the United Nations. It shows that al-Sheikh succeeded in gaining each party’s confidence, allowing everyone to sit around the same negotiating table. It also exposes the true reality of the fighting in Yemen: that both sides have an interest in ending the war.
The Houthi rebels, on one hand, are losing vast territories that they previously seized. With very little military power left, they now realize that they must take part in the political process or risk losing everything they have. On the other hand, government forces associated with former president Abdullah Saleh realize that they will not be able to restore the country to what it once was, and therefore have to negotiate a final resolution. Meanwhile, the Arab Coalition, comprised of Gulf States, which has been operating in Yemen for months, cannot restore stability by continuing to bomb the country forever.
There must be a negotiated deal that brings about stability in Yemen. The UN’s peace initiative just might be the missing link. – Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed