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[Note: Using editorials as an indicator, this series presents views, understanding and attitude of the Urdu periodicals in India towards various developments concerning the Middle East. The selection of an item does not mean the endorsement or concurrence concur with their accuracy or views. Editor, MEI@ND]
Roznama Siasat (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 04 March 2011, Friday
1. Threat of Military Intervention in Libya
The people of Libya are up against the four decade-old rule of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, which has gained momentum in recent days. The US and other Western powers want to take advantage of the situation and are preparing for military intervention in Libya. They have openly threatened military intervention. As far as domestic affairs in Libya are concerned, it is far from peaceful. The revolt that started in the north-eastern part has now spread to the entire country and it’s being said that Col. Gaddafi’s control is now confined to the capital Tripoli while the regime is trying to suppress the revolt through brutal military crackdown. According to recent reports most of the cities are now under the opposition control. A number of high ranking military officers have switched to the opposition. Likewise some of the ambassadors in different countries have also resigned citing brutal use of force against civilians. Other embassy staffs are also under pressure to resign. Government buildings have been put on fire by the opposition elements or have been captured. Reports about Col. Gaddafi fleeing the country have been spread by the British media but Gaddafi himself appeared on television and denied any such claims. The rumour was that Gaddafi has fled to Venezuela. Venezuela also denied the reports. It has also been reported that Gaddafi’s loyal army unit has put the important oil wells on fire, even though the report needs to be verified; it cannot be completely ruled out, as Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam had intimated in the beginning itself that the oil wells would be burned down.
The Western countries, especially the US and its allies, want to benefit from the current situation in Libya. These powers became active immediately after the revolt broke out and are now threatening military intervention. The military intervention cannot be completely ruled out. Gaddafi has always taken an anti-American stand and had been targeted time and again for this through sanctions. Gaddafi has refused to accept the revolt as people’s revolt and term it as the handiwork of Al-Qaeda which, according to him, is instigating the public. The notable point is that the revolt in Libya started immediately after Gaddafi urged the Palestinians to protest against Israel and take siege of its borders until it accepts their demands. The beginning of revolt immediately after Gaddafi’s statement gives rise to doubts about the revolt. There cannot be any excuse for military intervention and the US and its allies have no right to intervene in the domestic affairs of Libya and control its resources in the name of helping the people of Libya, like it did in Iraq. Britain has also threatened military intervention. These threats are deplorable because such intervention will add fuel to the fire. Whatever is happening in Libya is its internal matter and it should be left on the people of Libya to decide for themselves.
The demand for change that has draped Libya is important but to interfere in its internal matter cannot be justified by any means. Any change that may come to Libya will have to be decided by its people, and it also has to be ensured that this change is in the favour of the people and the country. If the government has to change then a new government of people’s choice should come that should work for the welfare of the people of Libya. It should not be a puppet government that takes direction from Washington and Pentagon.
The Etemaad Urdu Daily (The Confidence Urdu Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 15 March 2011, Tuesday
2. Saudi Arabia’s Concern
The security and stability of a country depends on unity among its people. The plan to hold a ‘Day of Rage’ recently was nothing more than a storm in a cup of tea, but it has terrified the Saudi government. This protest was called by the Shia community in the city of Qatif, which complains of discrimination since long. The government can address this long held grievance with proper handling and take the Shias into confidence. This problem has to be seen from governance point of view rather than taking it as a clash of religious differences. The Shias are also Saudi citizens. Fundamentalism of any kind only gives way to tension and division.
Interior Minister Prince Naif’s statement, while inaugurating the conference of provincial governors of GCC countries in Riyadh on Monday, reflects the desperation and concern of the Saudi government on the incident in Qatif. If Prince Naif holds the view that such demonstrations are harmful for the security and stability of the country, then the government should address the anger strategically and the Interior Minister is best equipped to deal with the situation. The best way to deal with the situation is to follow the path of Prophet Muhammad. The other way is to try and close the divide between the ruling family and other sections of society by public contacts. This can end a number of misgivings about each other and pave way for love and honesty. King Fahd had taken a number of measures according to the changing needs of time. Rather than identifying himself as King of Saudi Kingdom, he termed himself as the ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’, giving a facelift to his government. Respect was cultivated in people’s heart. The people’s psychology is fast changing nowadays. Discrediting these changes would not solve the problem rather complicate it.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a distinct identity in comparison to other Arab states. Muslims all over the world are conscious of this fact. The history of Islam is full of narratives about good kings who set vey high examples of governance, welfare and justice. The Muslims want to see Saudi Arabia in a similar perspective. Some would term this as obsession with monarchy but nobody can deny the services of the Al Saud to the Muslims who come to Saudi Arabia every year for Hajj pilgrimage. They have never compromised on expenditure and good service to ensure comfort of the pilgrims. The Muslims have high confidence on them and it cannot be easily weakened. Any bomb blast or unexpected incident in Saudi Arabia leads to desperation among Muslims all around the world.
After returning home King Abdullah has announced a hefty increase of 10 billion dollars for the welfare schemes in Saudi Arabia, which was welcomed by the people in and outside Saudi Arabia. This was termed as another step in an effort to curtail the unrest in the country by some circles. Such measures could have been taken even in Tunisia and Egypt, but only good leaders take such measures who keep an eye on the economic and social needs of people. King Faisal, King Fahd and King Abdullah always extended their helping hand to the needs of their own people and also to people abroad. These 10 billion dollars would be used for the welfare of people in Saudi Arabia and abroad which can bring positive change in Saudi society.
The editor of Arab News Khalid al-Moini, who is a leading Arab intellectual, has termed the ‘King’ as symbol of love and affection. “The King’s persona is such that the people consider him as the pillar of Al Saud rule. But it has also to be understood that time has changed and so have the people.” The realisation of this reality can bring further good to the country.
Translated and Compiled by Md. Muddassir Quamar
Md. Muddassir Quamar is a research student at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Email
As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND: P R Kumaraswamy