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8-22 Rabiul Awwal 1433 Hijri
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 with their accuracy or views. Editor, MEI@ND
Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (National Sahara Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 6 February 2012, Monday
1. A Strange Scenario in the Middle East
It has been mentioned in these columns earlier that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is running towards his decline and creating a situation that is paving the way for international intervention. The situation seems to be leading towards a sad end as in Libya. A foreign intervention in Syria is not easy because of geo-political situation, which can lead to regional instability that will affect all the Arab countries. The threat of external intervention has come down but Bashar al-Assad has refused to learn any lesson from the emerging scenario. On the one hand, his popularity among the people is on decline; on the other hand, he is also losing support from his allies. Most of the Hamas leaders who were in Syria have left by now. They are losing heart with the Bashar regime and Damascus is becoming an unsafe place for them. President Bashar al-Assad was banking on the military to hold the fort but reports of a split in the military have also started to come. Some soldiers and officers have already deserted the military and formed the “free army.” A high-level officer in the Syrian Air Force, Col. Abu Bakr, left the military yesterday. He was harsh in his criticism of the Bashar government and appealed to the military to stop killing the people and not support Bashar.
We have seen a similar situation in Tunisia earlier. These trends lead us to the conclusion that the Bashar rule is fast reaching its end and has created a strange panorama of political situations in the Arab world. Egyptian and Tunisian rulers were under American influence. The Egyptian ruler had even entered into a peace deal with Israel due to American pressure but Syria was supposed to be a strong ally of Russia. It vetoed any resolution in the UNSC against Syria brought by the US. It can be witnessed that both the Russian and American influence in the Arab world is fast receding. It cannot be termed as a conspiracy against Russia because the people of Syria are up against Bashar al-Assad. People’s movement are usually not directed by any power. It is well known that the Arab streets are against the US despite the rulers being American allies. Apparently, the biggest reason for this is the unconditional American support to the state of Israel that has started to reach the limit of injustice. However, it seems that the people in the Arab world are also getting disheartened with Russia. Firstly, Russia is no more what it used to be and, secondly, it has also backed the ruler on various occasions rather than supporting the people despite knowing the fact that these rulers have lost their legitimacy. Can it be an indication that the Arab world is fast coming out of the nets of big powers? Historically, Arab countries have depended on one or other big power. The region remained under British and French colonial rule till the mid-twentieth century. The Arab countries then fell into American and Russian camps after the Second World War. Largely, the rich Arab countries went with the US and poor countries allied with Russia. Egypt, Syria and Iraq were supposedly Russian allies. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries allied with the US. It looks as though the situation is changing now. Undoubtedly, the Arab countries are not yet self-dependent as far as military power is concerned and do not have the self-confidence to face the Israeli might. However, the trends indicate that the Arab street is fast losing its heart for big powers. This feeling is fast taking root and has the potential to produce Arab intellectuals who will ponder upon the destiny of their people, who would not look towards others for help and carve out a plan to move away from the dependency syndrome in the Arab world. It is likely that the end of Bashar al-Assad, which does not look very far, would prove to be a precursor for an intellectual revolution in the Arab world.
Dawat Online (Invitation), New Delhi
Editorial, 7 February 2012, Tuesday
2. Action against Syria
One more Arab country, Syria, is going to be a target of Western nuisance due to the idiocy of its rulers. The action against Syria would have started much before if Russia, and to an extent China, would not have blocked it. There can be some other strategic reasons as well. But there is no denying the fact that the authoritarian Syrian rulers have themselves paved the way for it. The Assad family has ruled over Syria like Hosni Mubarak ruled over Egypt, Qaddafi over Libya, Ben-Ali over Tunisia and the Hassan family in Morocco. The governments in Arab countries are run by families and individuals. The family do not just rule the country but they rule the country as ancestral property. Whatever may be the structure of these governments it cannot be justified. It is the people who suffer in any rule by a family or individuals and that is what was happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Syria and other Arab countries. The rulers of Syria are also not heeding the wishes of the people and are instead suppressing their voices. The government is in the hands of a few people. They are ruling the country like their own personal property.
The US and its allies are hell bent on teaching Syria a lesson. The interesting aspect of it is that the very countries who paved the way for Western intervention in Libya are not democratic and are neither working for promotion of democracy. They are being used again to intervene in Syria. It was the Arab League, which was made the Libyan case. Again, in case of Syria, the Arab League is being used for bringing down the gun on the Syrian leader. All the countries in the Arab league are undemocratic and the former US president George Bush had taken on himself to teach democracy to all these countries. The Arab League has demanded from the Syrian regime to either respect the wishes of the people or step down. This demand was made by the Arab League observers in Syria who were recently sent to assess the situation there. The US, Britain and others have also stated their support for this demand. The UNSC should also soon pass a resolution on this and then the noose against Syrian regime will further be tightened.
Dawat Online (Invitation), New Delhi
Editorial, 10 February 2012, Friday
3. The way towards Reconciliation
The Hamas leader Khaled Masha’al and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas met in the Qatari capital of Doha on Monday, 6 February. This meeting has been termed as very important because the talks have led to reconciliation between the two Palestinian groups. They have agreed on forming a unity government in Palestine. It has to be mentioned here that the two groups are known to be archrivals. The 2006 general elections was a victory for Hamas and they formed a government as well but it led to division among the Palestinians. One controlled by Fatah and the other by Hamas. It further led to fighting between the two groups, which was made an excuse by the West and Israel to target Hamas. Hamas ruled Gaza was paralyzed due to a blockade. Efforts for reconciliation between the two factions started since then and various proposals were made. The Doha meeting is part of the same efforts. It has come to light that Qatar has asked the two leaders to work for unity and set aside their differences. As a result, the two parties have agreed upon a formula for reconciliation and they have also announced their agreement regarding the same.
It is indeed a welcome development for the Muslim world because this will lead to unity and will help the Palestinian cause. On the other hand, the US and Israel may not like this unity. Israel has reacted sharply to this reconciliation announcement. Benjamin Netanyahu has termed it as a roadblock for peace efforts. He said that it will lead to seizure of any chance for revival of Israeli-Palestinian talks. The West had earlier declared Hamas as a terrorist organization and talking to such an organization will obviously not be acceptable to them. That is why Israel is putting pressure on world powers to ask Mahmoud Abbas not to go forward with this reconciliation because it will lead to blocking of peace efforts. The Israeli Prime Minister has also said that Mahmoud Abbas should not play the double game; he will have to choose either Israel or Hamas. If he really wants a peaceful resolution for the Palestinian issue then he will have to break off all relations with Hamas. It is indeed a testing time for Mahmoud Abbas.
Inquilab (The Revolution), Mumbai
Editorial, 15 February 2011, Wednesday
4. The Superpower of Lies
The moment a bomb blast targeted an Israeli embassy car in New Delhi, Tel Aviv accused Tehran of being responsible for it, as if it already had the investigation report before the blast or it knew that a blast will happen. It accused Iran immediately after the attack. This has been a tactic of the aggressive and destructive powers. It is done to influence people’s opinion and then the entire propaganda machinery is unleashed to influence the investigations.
If one remembers the 11 September incident, when the twin towers came crashing down after aeroplanes were collided with them, immediate accusations were made towards Al-Qaeda. The then US President George Bush came out with a statement within hours saying that this is a handy-work of Al-Qaeda as if the Al-Qaeda bombers had taken permission from him before going for the mission. It was such a big attack and the conspiracy behind it could be solved in minutes. Even incidents of small thefts are not solved so fast. If it would have been discovered after a thorough investigation that the attackers were Al-Qaeda members then it would have some credibility but saying it within no time certainly creates doubts. This is not to suggest that Al-Qaeda was not responsible for the attacks but justice demands that it should have been thoroughly investigated first and then any conclusion should have been reached. The US authorities have not yet answered the question that on what basis they concluded that Al-Qaeda was behind the attacks.
The issue of WMDs in Iraq is another such issue. The US announced with full conviction that Iraq had acquired WMDs as if Baghdad was a White House backyard and the President of US had seen all these weapons. The lies around WMDs were built with such conviction that the entire world accepted it as a fact. Iraq was invaded on this basis and it was destroyed.
When the American President addresses the Muslim world then it is portrayed as if it is a big sympathizer of Islam and Muslims. But what about its aggressions? It never stops aggression against Muslim countries. Israel could see the hands of Iran and Hezbollah behind the attacks in New Delhi and now let’s see how Washington changes its postures. These nasty powers have been after Iran for a long time and it has been targeted upon some or the other excuse and this is another tactic to harm it. Lies and propaganda machinery are being utilized against it again without considering the fact that Tehran can hit back at Tel Aviv in minutes.
Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (National Sahara Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 15 February 2012, Wednesday
5. The Criminality of Israeli Government
Israeli embassies cars were attacked in New Delhi and Tbilisi on the same day recently. There is no report of death but an Israeli woman diplomat has been injured in New Delhi. She has been critically injured and paralyzed in her lower part. Such attacks anywhere and carried out by anyone are condemnable but the Israeli reaction to the incident is also condemnable. The Israeli Prime Minister initially said that the Iran has carried out the attacks but in no time he changed his statement saying that Hezbollah is involved in the attacks. It looks strange for Israel, which claims that it has the best intelligence agency in the world. Why did it fail to find out the hands behind these attacks? The change in statement may not be incidental but rather a planned strategy. The Israeli Prime Minister would have wished to blame Hamas at first but it may not have been bought by the world. Hamas hardly has resources to indulge in such activities. To name Iran was easy as it is the most ardent Israeli critic. It would immediately be bought by sections of the media, particularly the Western media. But Benjamin Netanyahu immediately realized the moral bankruptcy of this claim, which can remind the world of many more incidents. Three Iranian scientists have been killed in the past one year in different attacks. The latest attack took place on 11 January when a young scientist was killed in a bomb attack. Iran had said that it has reports of Mossad’s involvement in these attacks. Incidentally, the Israeli diplomats were also targeted in their cars and Netanyahu realized that people will be reminded of attacks on Iranian scientists. To divert the issue, Hezbollah was named, which would have been more acceptable for the Western media. These are criminal attacks and have to be condemned but the Israeli government should remember that the entire world came to know that Mossad was involved in the killing of a Hamas leader in Dubai four years back. Mossad agents entered Dubai on fake passports and it enraged the people whose passports were faked. They issued statements condemning Israeli action. The international media has also raised doubts about Israeli involvement in the killing of Iranian scientists because they were all nuclear scientists. Israeli statements were also extremely confusing. The Mossad chief said that Mustafa Ahmedi may be a target of revenge. It is well known that Israel is against the Iranian nuclear programme and that it wants to take revenge. As far as Hezbollah is concerned, it is well known that Israel harbours extreme hate for the militant organization that inflicted severe and historical defeat on the Israeli Army in 2006. Israel wants that Hezbollah be labelled a terrorist organization. It has started a propaganda that Hezbollah is preparing for a big attack similar to September 11. It can’t be said as to who are involved in the attacks in New Delhi and Tbilisi but it should make Israel realize that one has to face what one does to others.
Compiled and Translated by Md. Muddassir Quamar
Md. Muddassir Quamar is a Doctoral Candidate 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