Hot off the Arab press 469015

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

Saudi children ride in a car to celebrate Saudi National Day on a street in Riyadh, last week (photo credit: REUTERS)
Saudi children ride in a car to celebrate Saudi National Day on a street in Riyadh, last week
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Al-Nahar, Lebanon, September 22
On February 14, 2005, a massive bombing shook the streets of Beirut, killing my beloved father, prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, along with 22 other Lebanese citizens.
The special tribunal for Lebanon concluded in its investigation that a Hezbollah cell, backed by Iran, carried out the assassination. Only three years later, in 2008, Hezbollah – again, using Iranian-provided weapons and funding – occupied major parts of Beirut.
Today, Hezbollah is preventing Lebanon from electing a new president by imposing a deadlock on parliamentary votes. This is all taking place while hundreds of Lebanese men and women are sent on behalf of Hezbollah to fight in Syria, protecting the detestable regime led by Bashar al-Assad. Iran and its proxies in the region are the biggest source of turmoil in the world today.
Their sinister involvement takes place in almost every Arab country, as the regime in Tehran proudly boasts its takeover of Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and Sana’a.
Iran seeks to extend its influence across the entire region, destroying everything that stands in its way.
It incites sectarian hatred and funds armed militias, while hiding under the guise of innocence and peace.
What has Iran done for the region? What has Iran done for Lebanon? Contrast this with Saudi Arabia’s generous assistance to our country. While Iran was wreaking havoc in Beirut, Saudi Arabia negotiated and mediated an end to our civil war. While Iran trained and funded Hezbollah militants, Saudi Arabia donated millions of dollars to rebuild Lebanon.
It is time to put an end to Iran’s game in the Middle East. Iran’s interference in other Arab countries must stop, and the leaders in Tehran must come to terms with Saudi Arabia’s leadership role in the region.
–Sa'ad al-Hariri, former Lebanese prime minister
Al-Hayat, London, September 23
As the US presidential race enters one of its final stretches, one main factor emerges as the determinant of these elections: a struggle between trusting and distrusting the political system.
Despite having her own unique set of beliefs, Hillary Clinton is inevitably viewed as Obama’s successor. She has been involved with his administration for far too long to be viewed as an independent candidate who can bring new energy to the White House. American voters realize all too well that Clinton and Obama are two of a kind, and a vote for one means a vote for the other.
In contrast, Donald Trump represents something else: a complete distrust for the political system. Regardless of his controversial rhetoric and stances, Trump has succeeded in coming to symbolize everything that stands out against the system. Indeed, his election would serve as a blow to the political establishment as we know it today.
As a result, these elections will have much more to do with satisfaction with the current administration and political order than with the actual ideology of each candidate. In a sense, these elections are practically a referendum on Obama’s performance in office in the past eight years, and not a competition between Clinton and Trump, which is encouraging and disconcerting at the same time. – Amir Taheri THE MOST IMPORTANT WEEK FOR SAUDI-AMERICAN RELATIONS Asharq al-Awsat, London, September 24 This week is perhaps the most important week in the history of the Saudi-American relations, because an odd piece of legislation, allowing victim families of 9/11 to sue the Saudi government for its supposed role in the attacks, has been approved in Congress. Despite Obama’s plan to veto the bill – made known to all by the White House spokesperson – members of both houses are still planning to override the presidential decree using a two-thirds vote in each chamber. This means that the law could actually go into effect and change the relationship between the two countries forever.
What is unbelievable is that these American policymakers are completely ignoring the fact that Saudi Arabia has been the US’s closest ally in its war on terrorism since 2001. Saudi authorities have worked in tandem with their American counterparts on collecting intelligence on al-Qaida and bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.
If this law is to pass, relations between all countries, not just Saudi Arabia and the US will be damaged forever.
This bill will create a precedent for any country to sue another country in its own courts, without deferring to international legal institutions such as The Hague.
European leaders have already warned against the outcome of this bill, as did senior American officials. Yet some Congressmen seem steadfast in their demand.
Saudi Arabia’s close relationship and cooperation with the US dates back more than 70 years. This week will be essential in determining whether these relations will continue for another least 70 years, or end right here and right now.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Al-Rai, Kuwait, September 25
Neither president Harry Truman and nor president George W. Bush realized how long the impact of their actions would be remembered. Truman ordered the use of an atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while Bush launched a relentless war on Iraq and Afghanistan.
History has put these two individuals side by side, and portrayed them as leaders who unnecessarily spilled the blood of millions of innocent people.
They paid a heavy price for the orders they gave, even while acting under conditions of war, and there is no doubt that their actions led to many tragedies.
However, the use of force is sometimes inevitable.
Today, President Obama idly observes thousands of innocent Syrians being tortured and killed by Bashar Assad. Photos and videos of Syrian bombs dropped on family homes in Aleppo and Damascus, of soldiers massacring civilians, and of women and children dying are evidently not enough to convince the president to act.
All the while, American officials are publicly aligning their stances with those of Russia, letting Moscow dictate what happens in the Middle East. Whether he is indeed convinced that it is not possible for the US to enter the war, or whether he believes it is out of his control to act, Obama still bears no small amount of responsibility for the bloodshed in Syria. He is complicit in the crimes of Assad and Putin.
Yes, Obama might be a liberal leader calling for a more peaceful world, but his lack of action is leading to more deaths than the hawkish actions of many of his predecessors.
Wahid Abd al-Majid