Hot off the Arab press 468423

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

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov look toward one another during a press conference following their meeting in Geneva, Switzerland where they discussed the crisis in Syria, September 9 (photo credit: REUTERS)
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov look toward one another during a press conference following their meeting in Geneva, Switzerland where they discussed the crisis in Syria, September 9
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Al-Hayat, London, September 13
There seem to be some significant incongruities in America’s foreign policy these days. While Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is busy accusing Moscow of violating its promises regarding a ceasefire in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared in public with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov and praised the latter’s willingness to cooperate with the US on the Syrian deal.
This puts the United States at a weak position.
Not only is the White House sending inconsistent messages to the world, but it also leaves Russia with full autonomy to dictate the next moves in the Middle East. With only a few months left for President Barack Obama in office, Kremlin officials are well aware of the fact that he will try to avoid a confrontation with Russia at any cost. He is also unlikely to order dramatic moves just weeks before stepping down, such as the deployment of ground forces in Syria. Therefore, much of Syria’s fate depends on Russia and, to a great extent, on the next American administration.
In the meantime, what we are seeing in the international arena is a lot of confusion and bewilderment with the American position. Obama certainly cares about the legacy he leaves behind in the White House.
This guides many of his decisions both at home and abroad. Unfortunately, his great victories – such as restoring ties with Cuba and signing the Iranian nuclear deal – are simply not enough. The deaths of thousands of Syrian children and women, the displacement of entire Syrian communities, and the genocide of minorities throughout the region will be left on the hands of his administration.
Obama can refrain from action and let Russia guide the way in the region, but unless his administration steps up its game, Obama will be remembered as a president who enabled war and bloodshed; not as one who promoted peace and stability.
– Ragda Dagham
Al-Okaz, Saudi Arabia, September 18
I have written in great length in previous weeks about the Iranian prohibition on its citizens from making the pilgrimage to Mecca this year. Despite this ban, hundreds of Iranian citizens managed to arrive in Saudi Arabia, either as tourists or through transit countries. Most of them came, against the will of their government, to carry out the religious duty of Haj.
I have interviewed many of them. I asked them about the controversial stances of their leaders. All of them, without exception, confirmed what we all suspected: that there is a difference between the Iranian people and the Iranian leadership.
Many Iranian citizens do not agree with the actions and statements of their leaders. At home, their voices are shut and they are threatened against taking political action. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime speaks in one voice, spreading hate and violence the region. By oppressing their own people, the mullahs in Tehran are not only creating the illusion of one unified Iran, but also preventing Arabs and Muslims around the world from knowing the true beliefs of their Iranian brethren.
This tyrannical rule has been the source of fear and instability in our region for years. Its victims are not only the innocent citizens across the Middle East but also the many Iranian dissidents who oppose their government. These people, fearing their lives, are forced to keep their mouths shut. They are mere puppets in the hands of their despotic leaders.
– Turki al-Daheel
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, September 15
When Wikileaks was launched in 2010, we did not realize just how much the world of investigative journalism would change. Soon enough, millions of classified documents were released to the Web, revealing groundbreaking information about the War in Iraq and Afghanistan, detainees in Guantanamo Bay, and diplomatic cables from around the world. No one was immune anymore, as secret information about our leaders and governments became accessible to the masses.
More than six years have passed since, and the founder of the website, Julian Assange, is still taking shelter at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which he cannot leave. While Assange claims to be a staunch supporter of transparency and freedom of information, it is curious that so far we have seen very little, if any, files leaked about Russia.
Assange maintains close ties with television channel Russia Today, which he uses as a platform for his interviews and groundbreaking discoveries. Throughout the years, the greatest political benefactor of almost all of his releases was no other than the Kremlin. This is not to say that the files at hand are not authentic; indeed, many of the leaked documents allowed people around the world to demand justice from their governments. But it also seems peculiar that a country like Russia, known for its flagrant human rights abuses at home and abroad, as well as its covert ties with sinister players in the Middle East, has not yet been the target of any major leak.
Julian Assange is undoubtedly benefiting from his warm relations with Moscow. I am not denying the fact that he is an important figure who changed the face of journalism as we know it today. However, it seems as if he, himself, is guilty of what he blames world leaders of doing: hiding information from the public when their own personal interests are on the line.
– Diana Maqled