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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]
Dawat Online (Invitation), New Delhi
Editorial, 1 October 2011, Saturday
1. Israeli Behaviour
Just when the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has moved the UN General Assembly on its plea for independence and self-determination for the Palestinian state, Israel declared construction of new settlements comprising 1,100 houses in Jerusalem, which it had captured in the 1967 six-day war. This new Jewish settlement would be built in East Jerusalem, which Mahmoud Abbas has proposed as the capital of the would-be independent state of Palestine. By this declaration Israel has given the message to the world that under no circumstances is it going to give up its occupation of Jerusalem and even if the entire world is united on this, it will not budge. The current status is that even those countries which support Israel and recognize it as a nation cannot overlook the fact that those areas in which colonies are declared to be settled are occupied areas and the UN resolutions 242 and 338 demand Israeli withdrawal from these areas. This implies that even from the viewpoint of international principles and laws these settlements are illegal. During this time, the number of settlers in these illegal colonies has risen to more than half a million. The entire international community including the US and Britain want to stop this and have also appealed for the same. In their opinion, this kind of Jewish settlements does not find a place in any book of law; but till date nothing has been done to dissuade Israel from expanding such settlements. Making excuses, Israel-friendly powers have prevented the Palestinians from waging a “one-sided” war against Israel.
It is said that the US, Britain and France are still trying to persuade the Palestinians that they should not “hurry” for independence and self-determination for the state of Palestine and should take no steps in “haste” that could be detrimental to their own interests. They are consoling the Palestinians that they are trying for the “approval” of the Palestinian demands; therefore the Palestinians should leave the matter for them to handle, and do not take any steps themselves. Right from the time when Mahmoud Abbas had announced his decision to raise the issue with the General Assembly, the process of convincing him had begun and he has been quietly warned against doing this. However, notwithstanding these warnings when Abbas actually raised this issue with the General Assembly, he was then told that this would give a blow to the Palestinian cause. That is the reason why he should resort to negotiations, and whatever solutions are suggested after holding talks should be considered feasible. With the Israeli declaration, however, this excuse also slipped from the hands of the international community on the basis of which they once again wanted to erode the cause of the Palestinian state. The manner in which the US, Britain and France have been worried by this Israeli declaration is intriguing. All of them have expressed their disappointment at this declaration and have tried to convey that this step has failed their planning and have spoilt what they had achieved. In other words, this declaration has spoiled their game. But they are also well aware that despite their complaints, nothing is going to affect Israel and in the end they would have to agree to whatever Israel wishes.
Dawat Online (Invitation), New Delhi
Editorial, 13 October 2011, Thursday
2. Western Intervention in Syria
After carrying out destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and after imposing various sanctions on Iran, the US and other European countries have now expressed their intentions to attack another anti-Israel state; Syria. What kind of intervention would this be? The nature of this has not yet been revealed, but by virtue of recent statements of the US and United Nations Security Council’s reaction, it is evident that the US wants to put Syria on a similar path as Libya. Though the action is at its initial stages, the ultimate outcome appears to be similar to that of Libya. The conditions in Syria are similar to that of Libya prior to the military intervention. Just as the Syrian President Bashar al Assad has followed the policy of suppressing people, Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi also had the same policy, which is definitely wrong, but that does not mean that this should be an excuse to destroy the entire country.
Whatever is happening in Syria or the way the people are being dealt with there is not hidden from anyone. But what the western media and the western countries are propagating against Syria and what they want to do there is much more than what the Syrian government is doing. Everyone knows that after attacking Iraq in 2003 and overthrowing the regime of Saddam Hussein, the US had put Libya and Syria on its radar and was preparing to attack these countries. It succeeded in destroying Libya, and in transforming the government there, and now it is Syria’s turn. If the Security Council would have approved of the appeal made against Syria, then the US would have intervened there and would have succeeded in achieving its goals as well; the US has already put the Syrian economy on a path of destruction by imposing various sanctions on it. There is a deficit crisis in the government treasury. Salaries are not being given to the people on time. The IMF has already warned that the people’s struggle is coming to a close and the government is not going to refrain from its actions against the people, which have in turn opened the doors for foreign intervention. Until now Russia and China have given support to the Syrian government, but the question is how long they would be able to continue their support for Assad in the light of growing criticisms from the US and other European countries.
The present conditions in Syria and the attitude of the Syrian regime is only an excuse. Besides, the relations between the US and Syria were never good. It was only quite recently that diplomatic relations were established between them. First, the US had charged Syria with intervening in the neighbouring country of Lebanon; in the aftermath of the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, therefore, it was Syria that was accused of the crime. But the actual reason is neither Lebanon nor the present conditions in Syria; rather it is Israel, for whose protection and security it is important that no other state in the region becomes superior. It is for this reason that one after the other the US targeted those states which were capable of posing a military challenge to Israel. Under this assumption, first of all, Iraq was destroyed. The US has not yet succeeded in carrying out attacks on Syria but, along with the European states, they are still attempting to do the same. Libya was somewhat raising its voice, so it was also crushed. Now in order to proceed in this mission, Syria is the target. The explanation for targeting each of these states could be different, but the reason for doing so is only one; survival and security of Israel for which foreign intervention in Syria’s internal crisis has started. The consequences are known to all.
Roznama Hamara Samaj (Daily Our Society), Delhi
Editorial, 13 October 2011, Thursday
3. Al-Aqsa Mosque (The Noble Sanctuary) Wails
This is the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in the historic Palestinian city of Jerusalem with the distinction of being the first Qiblah (direction towards which Muslims face while offering prayers) of Muslims and the city of Jerusalem has the significance of having the birthplace or residence of many prophets including Ibrahim (Abraham), Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqub (Jacob), Zakariya (Zechariah), Yahya (John or Yohanan) and Jesus Christ. Not only this, Allah the Almighty, made his last messenger, Prophet Muhammad travel overnight from the Masjid al-Haram (Kabaa) to me (Al-Aqsa), and collected all the prophets here who then offered prayer under Muhammad’s leadership in my courtyard. Allah the Almighty had spoken about this episode in details in the Holy Quran. This episode is famous as “Isra”; in fact one Surah (chapter) in the Holy Quran is dedicated for this episode name al-Isra (chapter 17). This is an exclusive honour which I enjoy but for a long time now I have become the target of the Zionist groups; in the clutches of the Jews occupied by Israel. I am a victim of cruelty and ugly attempts of wiping out my identity are being made, newer tactics are being used to transform my walls into ruins. I am being encircled on all four sides by the Jewish colonies, on all sides there is bullying and pressure from the enemies. My own people have been separated and have shrunk in the cities of West Bank and Gaza. I am now surrounded by a 20-foot tall and thousands of metres long wall. This implies that my own people are now isolated from me and are confined in open prisons, they have no access to the outside world. For years the Israeli regime has continued its cruelty on the youth who know me, old people, children, men and women. There have been million of martyrs in my knowledge who have sacrificed their lives. There have been many times when attempts have been made to burn me and destroy me, by burning wires underneath my surface attempts have been made to make my base hollow. The Zionist and Jewish conspiracy continues. Instead of citing my long story, I would like to narrate an incident that occurred some days back on 10 October 2011:
During these days the 7-day fasting festival of the Jews—Yom Kippur—is celebrated. On this occasion, the Jews set up tents in open grounds, which intend to keep an eye in the aftermath of the Egyptian attack on the Sinai Peninsula (on the day of Yom Kippur). This festival is also being celebrated in the Israeli army bases and the soldiers are also spending their time in such secured tents. On this occasion, yesterday, that is Tuesday, the Jews entered my compound and started attacking me, they declared war on me, and tried to conquer me completely but the counter attack of some troops and emergency attacks prevented them from their ugly designs on me. Nevertheless this could not prevent riots between my friends and foes in the adjoining regions, in which many of my followers were injured in the military strikes and attacks by the Jews. Adding insult to injury, instead of arresting the extremist Zionist fighters, the Jewish army arrested my followers and put them behind bars. Though history has witnessed that from Caliph Omar to Saladdin no Muslim ruler has ever ill-treated or suppressed the Jews; instead, I remember, Omar the Pious Caliph protected the Church of Holy Sepulchre. Sultan Hamid constructed the Western Wall, which is considered holy by the Jews and on which the Jews lay their hands and pray. The Jews believe that this wall was erected by Prophet Solomon. There are many such buildings and monuments that have not only been protected but also constructed by the Muslims; but there seems to be an animosity of the Jews and the Zionists towards the Muslim buildings and monuments. They are not only determined but also seek opportunity to destroy Islam, Muslims, and Islamic monuments to the scratch. My Muslim brothers across the world! I plead you to save me from the clutches of the Zionists and the Jews, to protect me from being destroyed; if you call me and consider me your first Qiblah then respect it as well; and yes! not only me but your Palestinian brothers should also be rescued from the barbarism of the Israelis, wherever Islam, Quran, Mosques or Muslim monuments are being insulted and are being attacked, for Allah’s sake be ready for a strong and forceful defence!
The Etemaad Urdu Daily (The Confidence Urdu Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 15 October 2011, Saturday
4. Testing Time for Iran and Saudi Arabia
The Iranian-US relations have remained strained since the Islamic revolution in Iran which has many a time led to a clash-like situation between the two. The authorities in the US claim to have busted a conspiracy to assassinate the Saudi ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir in Washington and an Iranian-American citizen was arrested in this regard. The disclosure of an Iranian conspiracy to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US led to diplomatic tensions between Iran and the US. It was also used to instigate Saudi Arabia against Iran. Saudi Arabia is a good friend and ally of the US. In spite of the close relations with the US, the Saudi leadership tried to improve its relations with Iran. The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad made a historic visit to Saudi Arabia. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are two oil-rich Islamic countries. The claim that the US has unmasked a conspiracy to assassinate the Saudi ambassador was dismissed by the Iran saying that it is an American-Zionist conspiracy to spoil the improved relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that in the past as well the US has accused Iran of supporting terrorism and espionage. Indicating towards the Lockerbie case, he said that accusing Iran without any proof has become a normal practice in the US. The US Vice President Joe Bidden has demanded an explanation from Iran on the matter. The Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal said that Iran is accountable for this conspiracy and they have concrete proof of Iranian involvement. According to the US security agencies, the Iranian-American citizen who has been arrested for the conspiracy is also responsible for the killing of five US soldiers in Iraq. It was also alleged that he is attached with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister met the UNSC Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and delivered a memorandum. American President Barack Obama talked with the Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and informed him on this development.
Why does Iran want to assassinate the Saudi ambassador though it has good relations with Saudi Arabia? Does it even have a strong basis or is it only a conspiracy to instigate two powerful Islamic countries? Is the role played by the US in Afghanistan and then in Iraq in the offensive war fought as war-on-terror, not enough proof (of US intentions)? A cold war has prevailed between Iran and the US for a long time now on the question of possession of nuclear weapons. Iran publicly said that it has the right to develop nuclear energy for civilian purposes. Is it not an attempt to instigate Saudi Arabia to clash or interfere in Iran using the sectarian differences between them? It is important to thoroughly investigate the entire affair before reaching any conclusion. Many changes have been brought about in the region because of the recent Arab uprisings. The Saudi rulers have announced that women would be given the right to vote from the next municipal elections. Even if there is some tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, it should be resolved with the spirit of Islamic fraternity. The OIC shall be preferred over the US or the UN. If any two Islamic powers clash then it would benefit the Zionists. In the recent UN General Assembly meeting, the bid to seek an independent state of Palestine has already unnerved the Americans and the Israelis. Although the US had announced its intention to veto the resolution, it remained a topic for discussion in the General Assembly. At a time when an opinion was being developed on the Israeli barbarism, the clash between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not a positive sign for the Palestinian cause. In recent times, Turkey has played worthwhile role in the matters among Islamic countries.
Turkey has played a major role in aiding helpless Palestinians and in the post rebellion reconstruction work in Libya and Egypt. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia shall benefit from looking at the leading role which Turkey has played. The role that Turkey is playing in the difficult times of Syria and giving refuge to the Syrian refugees is crucial, and keeping this in mind Iran and Saudi Arabia should take assistance from Turkey. If the American findings of the conspiracy are indeed true then the United Nations should carry an independent investigation on the matter. Iranian leaders are not untouchables for the Saudis. In their clash on any issue, the Zionist objectives would be fulfilled. It is an examination of the intellect and wisdom of King Abdullah and President Ahmedinejad. A slight mistake on their part could make the Islamic world lose its respect.
The US is seeking an appropriate opportunity to attack Iran. The Iranian nuclear issue is still far from resolved. In these circumstances, the disclosure of a conspiracy to kill the Saudi ambassador gives the Americans a reason to attack Iran. The statements by Britain and other European powers indicate towards a pre-planned nature of the entire affair. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia should work with Islamic spirit of forgiveness so as not to provide the enemies of Islam any opportunity to fulfil their nefarious designs in the Muslim world. The matter can be resolved with the help of OIC and Turkey.
The Siasat Daily (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 15 October 2011, Saturday
5. Vice President Hamid Ansari’s Visit of Turkey
India and Turkey have long held ties. During his recent visit to Turkey, the Vice President Hamid Ansari recalled the centuries of cultural, political and economic relations between the two countries. Turkey is recognized as a distinct and unique state on the world map. Its outstanding feature is its retaining of Islamic values, while being responsive to the modern developments. On the one hand, it is considered to be a country which upholds the soulful Sufi philosophy as India does; on the other hand, it is a state which transcends state boundaries. On his visit, Vice President Hamid Ansari emphasized that Turkey should be made India’s key trading ally. Besides, he cited his memories of the soulfulness of the Turkish culture in India. The people of both the countries have benefitted from the philosophies of Jalaluddin Rumi and Moinuddin Chishti. At the international level, Turkey’s relations with the other states are better, but with India it has a special relationship. It is for this reason that the Indian Vice President advocated considering seriously the question of improving relations with Turkey. The Turkish economy has grown considerably over the past one decade while India is also a resurgent economy. It necessitates an improvement in relations and friendship between the two countries. Turkey has, in the recent years, accelerated its economic development. Under these circumstances, India has recognized the benefits of mutual relationship between the two countries and emphasized on improving relations with Turkey. If Turkey has a good infrastructure, then the Indian expertise on information technology is also well known. Therefore, importance should be given to the improvement of relationship between these states. In this respect private firms have expressed keenness to invest, between 2012 and 2017, a total of US$ one billion, especially in transportation, infrastructure such as railways, airports and harbours. Turkey’s interest in investing in India could be due to the Turkish expertise in technology, which is now gained the second position after China. Even Turkey and India are not safe from the notorious states at the international level as other states. Therefore, Hamid Ansari also discussed the issue of terrorism with the President of Turkey. Both countries expressed their determination to fight against the threat of terrorism. Besides agreeing to exchange of information on terrorism, the two countries have already set up a Joint Working Group. Free trade, as it is gaining importance in the world, is also important for Turkey; hence it signed a FTA with India which would benefit both trade and services. In 2009, the trade figures between India and Turkey were US$2.3 billion it improved to US$4 billion in 2010. In the previous year also, trade between these countries has achieved tremendous gains. In 2008, India gave impetus to trade with Turkey, so much so that the then Foreign Minister of Turkey, Ali Baba Khan came for an official visit to India, and strengthened the bonds of friendship between them. He was the first Minister to travel to India after three decades. His visit had laid foundation for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit in September 2008. The February 2010 visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul further strengthened the bonds between these states. The present tour of the Indian Vice President is the first official tour to Turkey after 2003 and is now becoming a visit of historical significance. After the visit of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, this tour of Hamid Ansari will become a significant historic tour. Hamid Ansari has also said that the Palestinian struggle requires the Indian support. The atrocities of Israel are not hidden from any one. In order to co-exist peacefully with Israel, India cannot ignore the rights of the Palestinians. With his visit of Turkey, Hamid Ansari has included another chapter in the history of the two countries. By adopting the “Look West” policy, India has given importance to many international issues. In this the Palestinian struggle is also included. Hamid Ansari is credited with the promotion of inter-state relations. Hence, he was awarded an honorary degree by the Mevlana University of Turkey. Apart from that Hamid Ansari was also conferred the honorary citizenship of the city of Konya, which is an excellent recognition of his political, social and cultural services.
Translated and Compiled by Amna Sunmbul
Amna Sunmbul 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