Hot off the Arab press 498291

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

Members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family and dignitaries attend an allegiance pledging ceremony for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Mecca. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family and dignitaries attend an allegiance pledging ceremony for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Mecca.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Felesteen, Gaza, June 21
We’ve all heard about the recent censorship of Al Jazeera by several Arab regimes in the Gulf, in an attempt to silence the Qatari-backed news channel.
What we haven’t heard about is that the Palestinian Authority is doing something very similar: blocking all news channels and media outlets that challenge its legitimacy, most notably those associated with the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas.
In doing so, Abbas’s government is once again demonstrating that it no longer has the best interests of the Palestinians in mind. Rather, it is colluding with the occupation against the Palestinian public and censoring Palestinian voices that are considered dangerous to the regime.
It seems like the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah chose to unequivocally align itself with anti-revolutionary governments in the region, such as those of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. Like its counterparts within this ideological camp, the PA controls the information that is broadcast to the public, while maintaining strict control over media outlets under its control.
Luckily, most Palestinians today consume their news via non-traditional news outlets, not those censored by their government. Blogs, social media posts, and independent newspapers have become more credible sources of information – ones that the PA cannot tame or control with ease.
And there is yet another reason for optimism: the PA’s inherent fear of the masses. In attempting to control the media so strictly, the PA is essentially admitting to its own weakness and lack of popularity among the Palestinian public. Unfortunately, it confuses silence with satisfaction. The fact that certain voices are shunned doesn’t mean they cease to exist. They will keep being heard below the surface until they have a way to violently erupt aboveground.
– Lama Khater
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, June 22
In what was perceived as a major political reshuffle, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz named his own son as crown prince in place of his nephew, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, who was the expected heir.
What followed this decision was no less dramatic: Prince Muhammad bin Nayef accepted the decree and pledged his allegiance to the new crown prince.
This chain of events is an incredible testament to Saudi Arabia’s political stability. A political system is only strong insofar as its political institutions are stable and its people respect the rule of law. The prince’s decision to respect the decision, no matter how difficult the consequences might personally be for him, reflects exactly this kind of resilience.
For more than eight decades Saudi Arabia boasted a stable political system; one that endured through several wars, a large wave of terrorism, and widespread revolutions in the Arab world. It has done so while embracing change and developing its economy, society, and political system. Notwithstanding, Saudis have continued to respect their rich history, reflected in the legacy of the Royal House of Saud.
This is the real magic of this country: the combination of old and new; of modern and traditional. So long as the kingdom retains this fine balance, it will continue to grow and to thrive no matter what comes its way. A strong and stable government is important not only for the Saudi people, but also for the region at large. Riyadh is an example for all other Arab states on the changing attitudes and priorities of younger Arab generations, and the need to meet their demands for change, development, and modernization.
– Abd al-Rahman Al-Rashed
Al-Quds al-Arabi, London, June 21
Ever since Mahmoud Abbas took power over a decade ago, security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the occupation forces has grown tighter and tighter. Security coordination, in and of itself, is not inherently a bad thing. It could even be used to promote long-term Palestinian interests. President Abbas, however, has been using it in a very dangerous way.
Most recently, he decided to succumb to American and Israeli pressure and cut all payments to Palestinian prisoners sitting in Israeli jails. These allowances have been crucial in supporting the families of martyrs and prison-ers, and their elimination is extremely concerning.
What is even more troubling is Abbas’s stance on the Gaza crisis. Instead of fighting to lift the siege on the Strip, which has locked some two million Palestinians in an open-air prison, Abbas turned the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip into terrorists.
On more than one occasion he even proposed that the Arab coalition fighting in Yemen divert its effort to “liberating” the Gaza Strip from its “terrorist” governors.
This is simply outrageous. His security forces collude with the Israeli army on a daily basis, leading to the most Palestinian arrests since the Second Intifada.
All of this spells out great danger to our struggle in the months and even years to come. The battle to liberate Palestine must focus not only on our external enemies, but also on our internal ones.
– Mamduh al-Ajrami, former PA minister of prisoner affairs
Al-Okaz, Saudi Arabia, June 20
The ongoing crisis in the Gulf has led to the release of shocking reports about the Qatari government’s disturbing involvement in the region. These reports repudiate the claim that the Arab boycott on Doha was motivated by narrow economic and political interests.
Rather, it proves once and for all that the Qatari leadership has consistently worked, for over two decades, to destabilize the region and undermine the political stability of its neighbors.
When the Gulf Cooperation Council was founded in the early 1980s, its goal was to bring together Gulf states in greater cooperation and unity. The establishment of the council led to ever-growing cooperation and reliance among its members.
Unfortunately, for the past 20 years, Qatar has been taking advantage of the GCC to promote its own independent strategy region. While it participated in sensitive multilateral discussions on counterterrorism efforts in the Gulf, it provided Iran with information of key strategic plans of its allies in the council.
While claiming to fight alongside its neighbors against Islamic radicalization, it harbored terrorists by granting them Qatari citizenship and passports. Most recently, in Yemen it assisted the Houthi rebels and directly undermined Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty, despite sitting on the same council with its leaders.
These are not simple “misunderstandings” or “mistakes” as Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem claimed just a few days ago. They are deliberate lies and conspiracies planned by the Qatari government against its closest and most trustworthy allies.
Qatar now has no choice but to make a public decision right now: either side with the moderates or embrace the radicals in the region. It must decide between its long-standing allies in the Gulf or rogue regimes like Iran, Hezbollah, and ISIL. This two-faced policy has come to an end, and Qatar is finally being held accountable for its duplicitous and deceiving actions.
– Turki al-Dakheel