Voices from the Arab press: No interest in Islamic rule

A variety of views from the Arab and Islamic world.

The committee to protect Journalists outside the Saudi Embassy in Washington on October 2 2019 marking one year to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi  (photo credit: SARAH SILBIGER/ REUTERS)
The committee to protect Journalists outside the Saudi Embassy in Washington on October 2 2019 marking one year to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi
No interest in Islamist rule!
Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt, October 6
US President Donald Trump's administration is well aware that Iran is showing no sign of peace or interest in making amends with other world nations. It means that confrontation will come, regardless of the fact that some people in Washington try to prevent it. The mullahs believe that the Americans are preoccupied with Trump’s investigations – in what has become known as "Ukrainegate" – and imagine that Washington will not find time to manage its affairs with Iran. But they are sorely mistaken. America, they forget, is still the strongest and most powerful state in the world.
So, is there anyone in the US still putting the option for a military confrontation with Iran on the table? The answer is yes. The generals do not trust Iran, and they know for sure that the only way to address Iran's imperial ambitions in the Middle East is through the use of the military machine, whether through an all-out war or a swift military action against Tehran. This, they know, will force Iran to reassess its behavior, exactly as it did in April 1988 during Operation Praying Mantis, in which the Americans destroyed half of Iran's operational naval fleet. So will history repeat itself with Iran? All scenarios are open, especially if Iran continues to aggravate the US and its allies, as it did with its recent attack on the Aramco refineries in Saudi Arabia.
Under such conditions, Trump and his administration will be forced to respond and attack Iran. This seems almost inevitable. Dennis Ross, who was [former president Barack] Obama's adviser for the Middle East, believes that the Iranians have an incentive to act out of the ordinary. They think they can get away with impunity because they are no longer afraid of the United States. If Trump wants to change the Iranian regime's behavior, he must use all the tools available at his disposal – diplomatic, political, economic, social, cyber or military – in order to send a resolute and decisive message that indicates Washington will not tolerate Tehran's aggression.
Washington is already planning for this scenario. According to several sources in Washington, the White House and the Pentagon have detailed plans to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, military command-and-control centers, and much of its strategic critical infrastructure within days, if not hours. If carried out, this would be one of the US military's biggest and most serious military
performances since the Vietnam War and possibly since the end of World War II. Such use of force should deter any country in the world, let alone a flailing power like Iran.
– Amil Ameen
Khashoggi's case failed to be politicized
Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia, October 8
The Qataris, along with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, tried to politicize the [Jamal] Khashoggi killing, but they failed. Money is valuable everywhere, except in this microscopic state ruled by an obsessed man, whose sole purpose is to harm Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Gulf while letting his own people go to hell.
Hamad bin Khalifa, the former emir of Qatar, came to rule his country through a coup against his own father. His concern was not with the development of his country, the well-being of its people or the cultivation of good relations with its neighbors. Instead, it was a strict quest for power. Bin Khalifa allied with everyone and everything that represented evil in the region and spent copious amounts of money on crazy goals and objectives driven by his inferiority complex. He was a man who did not read history and certainly did not learn from past mistakes.
The murder of Khashoggi is undoubtedly a heinous crime committed by individuals who are now on trial, but the [current] emir [Tamim bin Hamad], who lacks prudence, intelligence and sophistication, hoped that it would be solved not in criminal court, but through the toppling of the Saudi government. Saudi Arabia, however, is a regional power capable of defending itself and exercising its power both at home and abroad. This makes shaking its stability, let alone toppling its regime, a ridiculous ambition.
One cannot help but find striking similarities between the emir and other corrupt leaders like Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, who abandoned his own people in an attempt to build an empire and secure his throne. I am certain that the fate of Gaddafi, who ended up being killed by his own people, will not be far from the fate of the emir of Qatar, who embodies the very same narcissistic values. Any attempt to undermine the stability of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is doomed to fail.
– Muhammad Al-Sheikh
The battles of the rich… and the poor
Al-Ittihad, UAE, October 6
If there is a child that the UN General Assembly should listen to, it is not the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, but the one in five children in the world who are victims of war, according to a recent Save the Children report.
I have only one question to our world leaders: How dare you talk about the threat of global climate change while 420 million children have been killed in the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan and Somalia, including a million children who die before reaching the age of five? These deaths are the real, irreversible threats to humanity.
Thankfully, global climate change can be mitigated using state-of-the-art technologies designed to minimize man’s impact on the environment. Today, gases emitted during the burning of fuel, alongside other greenhouse gases accumulated in Earth's atmosphere, are being isolated and turned into stones that pave our streets and construct our buildings. Swiss technologies, for example, can now catch carbon dioxide gases directly from the atmosphere, compress them, mix them with water and bury them underground, leading to their conversion into basalt rock. Indeed, carbon sequestration technologies received major attention in the Paris Global Climate Agreement, which was set forth to stop global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius. Several pilot plants have already been set up in Switzerland, Iceland and Canada, one of which captures about 900 tons of carbon annually, a figure equivalent to the pollution level released from 200 cars. For comparison, the world currently releases 40 billion metric tons of carbon per year.
Technology today is allowing us to solve the problem of climate change or at least mitigate its adverse effects. But where is the world when it comes to the premature death of millions of innocent civilians, including women and children? Technological advances aimed at protecting our planet are important. But so is basic humanity and empathy toward the suffering of weakened populations – even those in the Arab world.
– Mohammed Arif
Concerns over Iraq
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, October 7
What is the common denominator between the situation in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen? The answer is, of course, Iranian intervention, which sent all of them into chaos. In Lebanon, the political vacuum and civil war allowed Iran to empower and fund Hezbollah. In Syria, where the regime was on the brink of collapse, Iran extended a lifeline to the Assad regime and is now a partner in power. Likewise in Yemen, Iran took advantage of the collapse of the Ali Abdullah Saleh regime to push the Houthis to overtake the state, defying both local and international understandings and agreements.
The next victim might be Iraq. Protests unfolding in Iraq in recent days have paved the way to complete chaos in Baghdad, and Iranian forces are already massing on the border, waiting for an excuse to take over. If [Adil Abdul-]Mahdi's government defies the Iranian invasion, Tehran has enough votes within the Iraqi parliament to wield power over Baghdad. But will it dare take this action? Tehran has enough regional experience to know that no internal or external force will challenge it at the moment. The United States, which considers Iraq a strategically important country, has a limited military presence in the region, and its appetite for war is weak. Iran aims to use Iraq as a lever to pressure Washington and other powers to lift US economic sanctions, and to use its oil resources to finance its fiscal deficit. International reaction is easy to predict; Iran has already tested it several times.
European countries have done nothing against Iranian conspiracies to carry out terrorist operations within their territories, so it’s even more unlikely that they will take action against Iranian plots in Iraq. Among Middle Eastern nations, the situation is not much better. Almost all regional powers prefer to avoid confrontation, including Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Of course, Iran's aggressive behavior will eventually become an international problem, even for those countries that are trying to pacify Tehran. But I fear that it’s too late for Iraq. Unfortunately, Iran is not the source of the entire problem. The performance of Iraqi state institutions is not in line with the expectations of the Iraqi people, who have been waiting for improvements in their government system for decades. The Americans bet on the establishment of democratic institutions, but these failed to secure the Iraqi people with a higher standard of living, economic security and political stability.
Instead, these institutions have been exploited by some clerics and clans to expand their dominance and spread corruption. Iraq today is facing a difficult test because the spontaneous demonstrations we are witnessing are unlikely to repair the situation Iraqis wish to fix. Instead, they will threaten the stability of the state and provide an opportunity for sinister forces lurking around the corner to overthrow the current government.
– Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed