A weekly selection of opinions and analyses from the Arab media around the world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria December 11, 2017 (photo credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/ VIA REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria December 11, 2017
Al Ittihad, UAE, April 13
In his most recent visit to the US, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appeared in numerous public forums and conducted several interviews with the American media, all of which revolved around one core theme: Riyadh’s efforts to fight radical Islamic terrorism in the Arabian Peninsula.
One of the terrorist groups mentioned by the prince – an organization about which not much is known – is particularly worth noting: the Sururist movement.
Named after a former Syrian Muslim Brotherhood member by the name of Muhammad Surur, this movement is a radical Islamist sect that combines teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood with puritanical Salafism. However, it is considered far more extreme in both its teachings and practices. Its inception dates back to the late 1970s, when Surur broke rank from the Muslim Brotherhood, accusing it of being “too moderate” and politically focused. Since then, his teachings and speeches received widespread attention, including by those who later on went to form al-Qaeda.
Why is this movement so dangerous? The main reason is that, unlike Islamic State, which is a political movement in principle, the Sururist Movement rests on a deep foundation of religious tradition and scholarly teachings that transcend a single time and place. Even if defeated, the Sururist Movement would leave a long legacy of religious doctrines and texts that will inspire new generations of Salafists around the region, and breed new terrorist groups in the Middle East.
There is yet another reason to worry. The Sururists have been extremely successful at growing their presence in Saudi Arabia in recent years, gaining slow but steady traction and support on the ground. They threaten not only the security of the region but also that of the Saudi regime itself. Growing ever wary of their influence, Prince Salman has now chosen to act. He has partnered with the US and other Saudi allies to eradicate all terrorist infrastructures in the kingdom through military action, investment in education and increased policing.
This is an important step in the right direction, one that might help us prevent the rise of the next terrorist group in the region. – Abdallah bin Bujad Oteibi
Al-Hayat, London, April 14
As horrific footage continues to come from Syria in the aftermath of the recent chemical attack perpetrated by Bashar Assad against his very own people and in the aftermath of the limited French-British-American response, one cannot help but wonder: will these strikes be enough to change the situation on the ground? US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron have kept a close line of communication in the past few days over the events unfolding in Syria. This close coordination between the two powers should not be ignored or overlooked. However, Trump has already committed to withdrawing all US forces from Syria in the upcoming months. Western governments, similarly, have no interest in getting involved in the Syrian war. The traumatizing memories of the American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, together with the public debate that surrounded them, are enough to deter any rational Western leader from agreeing to help the people of Syria through on-the-ground action.
Meanwhile, the situation in Syria continues to be determined to a very large degree by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani. These two dictators have no obligation to their people and their demands and can therefore do whatever they seek in Syria. Despite growing criticism at home surrounding the cost of the military involvement in the Syrian war, the mullahs in Tehran can simply ignore the call of their people. The situation is not much different in Moscow, where Putin continues to deploy Russian forces in Syria, despite growing public concern over Russia’s role in the war.
It is for this reason that I believe the only way to drive real change on the ground in Syria is through diplomatic negotiations, not a military campaign. The solution for the Syrian war lies in an agreement between Washington and Moscow that will facilitate the removal of Assad and the formation of a transitional government. US, British and French warships and warplanes can continue bombing targets in Syria all they want, but it is Putin who has the final say in what happens once the smoke clears.
– Randa Takya al-Din
Al Jazeera, Qatar, April 2
Egypt is slowly killing its ex-president in prison – and I am not talking about Hosni Mubarak, but rather Mohamed Morsi.
Ever since he was imprisoned in a coup d’état over four years ago, former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has been dying a slow and painful death in his prison cell. He has been put in solitary confinement, deprived of food and robbed of his basic rights. According to several sources in Egypt, he has even been denied access to medication to treat his liver disease and diabetes.
Following his overthrow, Morsi faced several farcical charges, including espionage for foreign organizations and the breaking out from the Wadi el-Natroun Prison during the 2011 revolution in Egypt. The Egyptian prosecution sought to sentence him to death, but following mounting international pressure this sentence was overturned. Still, it seems as if the goal of killing Morsi did not change; what changed was simply the strategy for doing so. Instead of judicially executing the former president, Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi is now trying to kill his precedent through torture and abuse.
Indeed, a recent review panel comprised of international lawmakers that visited Morsi in jail and examined his living conditions described his treatment as “inhumane” and “torturous” under international law.
Whether we agree with Morsi’s policies or not, it is beyond shocking to believe that Egypt’s first-ever democratically elected president now sits behind bars awaiting his slow death. All of this is happening while his overthrower, Sisi, who has never gained the backing of the Egyptian people, continues his arrest of political dissidents and human rights activists.
I would not be surprised if we learn of Morsi’s death long before he receives the opportunity to appear before a judge. Those who truly care about democracy must not remain silent in light of these crimes.
– Hasan Abu-Hanina