Hot off the Arab press 462625

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

A luggage loading vehicle is driven past Middle East Airlines aircraft at Beirut Airport, Lebanon (photo credit: REUTERS)
A luggage loading vehicle is driven past Middle East Airlines aircraft at Beirut Airport, Lebanon
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Al-Rai, Kuwait, July 23
This summer has been one of the worst ones I can remember. Almost every morning I wake up to horrible news of yet another attack somewhere around the world. Souls are fed with hatred. Hearts are breaking out of anguish. The sight of flames and sounds of gunshots have become an inherent part of our environment, no matter where we go.
My heart cries out for Nice. Not only because the attack there earlier this month was an appalling attack against innocents, but also because Nice is a unique place. It is different from many other French cities in that it peaceful, quiet and tranquil. There is not an ounce of hatred in that place. Locals greet you down the main streets. People invite you into their homes. Things take on a different cadence. To target Nice is to target everything that is good about people, their kindheartedness and warm hospitality.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing France today is the need to reconcile these two worldviews: the peacefulness, progressiveness and tolerance that embody much of French culture, and the mass flow of immigrants into the country, which introduces strikingly different customs and traditions. Many of the migrants, to whom the perpetrator belonged, cannot assimilate in French society – even if they desired to. A gap of education, culture and mentality is growing between France’s new and old citizens.
Europe at large, and France in particular, are at a crossroads. Do they open their arms to migrants and allow them to assimilate into their midst, or do they stop them at the door? Will domestically bred terrorism become the biggest threat to European stability and security? Are these once-tolerant societies facing fundamental changes that question their entire being? I don’t know. Only time will tell. In the meantime, my heart cries out for Nice. – Alia Shoaib
Al-Nahar, Lebanon, July 23
The preoccupation with the fighting in Syria should not distract us from the ever-worsening ties between Lebanon and the Gulf, and the former’s decapitated foreign affairs. More and more Lebanese citizens living in the Gulf have been facing difficulty in renewing their work permits, and Gulf investments in the Lebanese economy have significantly declined.
There is no arguing over the poor nature of this relationship.The real discussion surrounds the way in which both sides have left the debate between them hurt by the other.
In Lebanon, many believe that the Arab states have abandoned their country in the wake of the Syrian crisis. Hezbollah dragged Lebanon into the Syrian quagmire and allowed for Iranian influence to extend over Beirut. Instead of siding with Lebanon, Gulf countries stood idly by as the country was consumed into the Syrian-Iranian havoc.
In contrast, on the other side, Gulf States have been viewing Lebanese people as ungrateful and ungracious.
Following the 2006 July War between Lebanon and Israel, Gulf States were among the first to extend aid to Lebanon. Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular made vast financial contributions to the Lebanese people, reconstructing most of the destroyed facilities and infrastructure in Beirut and its outskirts. In addition, Gulf universities have been wide open to Lebanese citizens, accepting them and providing them with generous scholarships.
How did the two sides come to view the very same events that unfolded between them with such striking differences? Perhaps more importantly, how can this derailed relationship be fixed? We can dwell for ages on the details of what happened and what brought us to the current state of affairs. But the truth is that Lebanon has much more to lose from this crisis than does the Gulf. Will our government finally choose to put its pride aside and do something about this mess? – Ghassan Hajjar
Asharq al-Awsat, London, July 23
Now that people finished commentating about the failed coup in Turkey, we can take a minute to look back and try to understand what happened. Many falsely believe that it was either the secular opposition or the armed forces that attempted to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The fact of the matter, however, is that it was actually a third group that managed to do so under the radar: the Islamic movement led by Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen, who is currently in self-imposed exile in the United States, established the movement several decades ago, basing it on the Muslim Brotherhood. Gulen’s movement looked at its Islamist counterpart, in terms of both ideology and structure, to establish its operations in Turkey. Throughout the years, it provided its own financial, housing, and educational services to its followers. It undermined state authorities wherever it could, garnering popular support from underprivileged Turkish citizens. As the coup attempt has shown, it even managed to penetrate the Turkish military, a highly protected and exclusive group.
Suspicion of Gulen’s activity culminated in his deportation nearly 15 years ago, after which he relocated to the United States. Now, with the coup foiled, Turkish authorities are concerned with one thing only: finding any lead that can tie the uprising with Gulen. Religious writings, emails, or propaganda material will all be useful in ensuring his extradition from the United States to Turkey. This is a top priority for the regime.
Contrary to popular belief, Erdogan’s concern is not with “sleeper cells” that might still be active in the army. His security forces took care of that. Rather, he is concerned by an ideology that must be eliminated and uprooted. This is what he charged his security personnel to do. – Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Compiled by the Media Line.