Hot off the Arab press 459357

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

Iraqi military vehicles pass by the flag of Islamic State militants in Falluja, Iraq (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iraqi military vehicles pass by the flag of Islamic State militants in Falluja, Iraq
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Islamic State is controlling the minds of the world
Al-Anba, Kuwait, June 26
We all know that Islamic State has been pretty successful at brainwashing young individuals to join its ranks and carry out operations on its behalf. Numerous articles, and even books, have been written about this topic; indeed, there is nothing new here. What we don’t discuss – yet is equally dramatic – is the way in which Islamic State has brainwashed the minds of the Western world.
After waging wars throughout the entire Middle East, wreaking havoc in almost every Arab country, and dividing people and communities along sectarian lines, Islamic State proved to also control the minds of young men and women in Europe and America. Look at Britain: the vote to leave the European Union last week has been driven by nothing but xenophobia and a fear of terrorism. Despite the fact that every levelheaded human being understands that it is in the UK’s strategic interest to stay in the EU, British citizens voted based on emotions and instincts. These emotions are a direct reaction to the propaganda war waged by Islamic State. The organization succeeded de facto to push Europeans and Americans to support right-wing extremists and succumb to populist political agendas. It is playing on their most basic intrinsic fears. This explains the widespread popularity enjoyed by candidates like Donald Trump in the US and Nigel Farage in the UK.
It is ironic that in the wake of a crumbling Middle East, a region in which almost every country has disintegrated into smaller sectarian states, the European Union is following suit and beginning to fall apart.
The Islamic State’s ideology seems to have extended its reach well beyond the Middle East. – Sami al-Nassef
We have had enough of supporting Assad!
Al-Nahar, Lebanon, June 21
More than 30 Hezbollah militants have died in the past few days in Syria. While I am not justifying their motives, I do want to remind all of us that each one of these individuals left behind a family: a mother and a father and, often, a wife and children. What are all these deaths good for? What is the bigger cause that they claim to defend?
Hezbollah has been dragging Lebanon into a war that it has nothing to do with. It has pushed our sons and daughters to pay a heavy price for a cause we do not believe in. Instead of dying in the line of duty for their country, these men died in vain. What excuse can Hezbollah make up to justify these sacrifices? What will they tell the mothers who receive the tragic news of their sons’ deaths?
What Lebanon is witnessing today is a hijacking of our national ideals and values. We have allowed Hezbollah to exploit our political system and our people. If Hasan Nasrallah wants to participate in the political process – he should, by all means. But he must do so legitimately, in accordance with our constitution. Hezbollah must actively and openly participate in elections and in political debate. But we cannot let factions within us take over the country. We cannot fight the wars of others. We have had enough of being Assad’s soldiers. – Jamana Haddad
Between David Cameron and Muhammad Morsi
Al-Aharam, Egypt, June 26
Shortly after the results of the British referendum became clear, Prime Minister David Cameron convened a press conference at the prime minister’s residence and announced his resignation. Cameron cited his failure to convince the British public to vote in favor of staying in the EU as the main reason for his departure from office. He did not blame his opponents, nor did he point fingers at other politicians. Instead, he expressed his disappointment with the results, which he expected to be different. Then, he proceeded to stress the importance of respecting the people’s wishes and abiding by democratic law.
Let us, just for entertainment purposes, compare Cameron’s behavior to that of Mohamed Morsi. Shortly after assuming the office of the president on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi began doing everything in his power to change the Egyptian constitution. He disregarded the people’s desire to build a safer and more stable Egypt. Instead, he sought to promote his own political interests, and those of his organization. He intervened in court rulings. He replaced government officials with his cronies. He assigned Brotherhood members to almost every designated seat in parliament. Then, he worked to change the constitution and bring it to a public “vote” that was manipulated and distorted by his allies.
What a dramatic difference between the two referenda! Comparing these two cases, I cannot help but wonder: when will the culture of political accountability finally reach our society? When will our leaders become David Camerons: public servants owning up to their mistakes, and stepping down when called to do so by the people? – Ahmad Abu al-Tawab
Propaganda without our notice
Al-Okaz, Saudi Arabia, June 25
Last Friday, Riyadh woke up to terrible news. Two Saudi twins in their early 20s killed their mother and severely injured their brother and father in a stabbing attack carried out in their Riyadh home. The two men were taken into custody upon the arrival of police forces to the scene, after attempting to flee the area. Later, in their investigation, they admitted to have been inspired by Islamic State, and claimed that their family did not adhere to Islamic law. How is it that two children become so radicalized and hurt those closest to them, without anyone noticing?
Islamic State has been successful in reaching youth throughout the entire Arab world via social media and the Internet. The fact that our children have direct access to Islamic State content and channels of communication should be worrisome to all of us. Whenever a gruesome attack like this occurs, we all react in shock and horror. Newspapers publish investigative reports about the details of the attack. Policymakers give interviews to the media. There is public uproar. But within weeks, if not days, we all return to our normal routines and forget about these issues. Sadly, we can no longer afford to do so.
It is not enough to send our children to good schools and hope for the best. It is not enough to react and then forget what happened. We must control the content and media that is made available to our children, and ensure that they learn how to distinguish good from evil. Parents must also learn how to discuss such issues with their children. Enough is enough. We can no longer block terrorism coming through our front door, while letting it creep to us, unnoticed, from the back one. – Turki al-Dakhil
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