Islam Edit Bureau
Starts From Within
Corporate World Inspire CEOs to Confront Region’s Economic Challenges
a Wrap: Obama’s Visit to Saudi Arabia
Putin or To Pout
A Distinctive Voice for Climate Action
One for All, And All for One
By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
A lot of
things have so far been written and said about the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC) summit held in Istanbul last week. We are not going to make a
new assessment of the outlook and outcomes of the summit here. The
interpretations in this article are related to what the summit has reminded the
Islamic world and Turkey of.
Islam is a
great power in its own right. Countries, leaders, organizations and individuals
representing Islam are each a part of this considerable power. However, they
cannot make this power felt enough most of the time because they are
disorganized and divided. Thus, the factor those against Islam exploit the most
is this disorganization among the Muslim community. They are well aware that
they will never be able to hold sway over a unified Muslim community, that
their anti-Islam propagandas will be efficacious. It is for this reason that
the works carried out in concert by the Muslim countries, the activities that
emphasize their solidarity has always troubled the said groups. The formation
of an Islamic military alliance and later the OIC summit are events that also
have the same impact.
is very significant, as it reflects Muslim unity. Following statements of
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who took over the chairmanship of the
summit, in this regard are noteworthy:
should be uniting, not dividing. We should strengthen alliances, not disputes;
fondness, not animosity. Out of the conflicts, the disputes, the hostility only
the Muslims suffer… We should increase friends and decrease enemies.”
true; Muslim countries need to cast aside the dissidences and strengthen
fondness, and solve their own problems through their own strength and
solidarity. So at this juncture, it is necessary to bring to mind what the sole
factor that brought the countries in question together in that meeting is:
Islam. So long as the Muslim countries do not bring about a unity based upon
their shared value that is “Islam,” they will not be able to turn into the
great power that we have mentioned before. Even though trade partnerships and
military agreements are beneficial to a certain extent, they are in no way a
guarantee of the desired deep-rooted alliance.
is the guarantee of such a deep-rooted alliance. It renders those countries
strong and invincible. It resolves disputes; it helps countries prosper
together and makes the Muslim community the representative of peace. The
nations united through Islam and regarding each other as brothers form a solid,
well-founded structure. No one is strong enough to shake or bring down such an
effective deterrent force. It is important for the Muslim world to emphasize
the significance of nation states and national borders through this conference.
As one of
the positive outcomes of the summit, a women’s conference will be held in
Istanbul every year. In order for the place of women to be understood properly,
again, we need our only shared value, Islam. Now let’s discuss Turkey.
reminded Turkey of an important value it has been distant from for some time
now: The spirit of reconciliation. While President Erdogan’s statements were
its assurance, the picture demonstrated at the summit was an indication of
this. The Riyadh-Ankara relations strengthened by hosting Custodian of the Two
Holy Mosques King Salman, Turkey-Egypt convergence made possible by the
mediation of, again, King Salman, the Egyptian foreign minister being hosted in
Istanbul, relations with Iraq being strengthened, and the emphasis that every
Muslim country has an ally regardless of Shiite-Sunni differences were a
long-needed progress and initiative for Turkey.
should lead an alliance and friendship policy that will defuse tensions in the
Middle East. And to be able to do this, we should adopt a tone that can solve
the problems beyond our borders through political means and reconciliation.
Such a tone will provide a sound common sense to Turkey, conduce to the
establishment of trust among Muslim countries, and the emphasis on fellowship
will be remembered. If there is an important lesson that we have learned from
the 21st century, it is the fact that it is not possible to solve problems
through anger, resentment or violence, that alliance and embracing one another
always produce constructive and good results.
point forward, Turkey should put this crucial issue it raised in the summit
hosting the Muslim countries into action in its own domestic affairs as well.
This is a vital necessity not only for Turkey, but also for all the beautiful Muslim
countries of the Middle East. It is a well-known fact that polarization,
disputes and the horrible never-ending animosity are used as leverage on all
the countries, and they are what led Syria to its current situation. Therefore,
solving the main issue within ourselves will thwart the schemes of those who
have ulterior motives.
countries, we have to adhere to the principles of reconciliation within
ourselves, reconciliation between each other and ultimately reconciliation in
the world. We should address the problems within and between each other through
fondness, and then reach the level of wisdom and strength that will allow us to
teach it to the world. This, before anything else, is what our religion orders
us. And the fundamental way to achieve this is to never forget the fact that a
single common and solid basis is what essentially brought us together. This
solid basis is our noble religion, Islam.
Corporate World Inspire CEOs To Confront Region’s Economic Challenges
in oil prices has prompted a major economic transformation process in the GCC
region. According to leading economists of the region, GCC governments to
maintain financial stability and to avoid a deeper crisis in budget
deficiencies must consider privatization, taxation and less funding on
subsidies. TRENDS magazine and the INSEAD Business School launched the Top CEO
Conference and Awards in Dubai on April 5 in which officials, business leaders
and executives discussed the economic transformation process and the best ways
to deal with the new challenges facing the region. During the one-day event,
several speakers and panelists focused on issues that concerned both business
and personnel endeavors.
exchanged to enhance cooperation and prepare regional CEOs to face major
challenges of the economic decline that could be very disruptive to their
businesses. The economic transformation process will require that CEOs,
business and policy leaders be innovative and able to apply the necessary
requirements to transform the economy and create jobs.
dialogue among regional executives focused on ways to help improve their
businesses and the economy. They highlighted the major challenges of the
economic transformation, mainly, economic diversification, taxation, and the
disruption in the old models of technology. Experts cautioned that corporate
taxation is a major challenge to all businesses and CEOs need to be prepared to
deal with a new business environment.
In order to
diversify the economy, panellists discussed the need for businesses to enhance
productivity, increase revenues and promote international trade. They
highlighted the importance of enforcing new policies to maintain good
governance and property rights. They also called for new measures to revise the
immigration policy in order to enhance the small population of experts needed
to support the economic transformation process. They pushed for anti-corruption
and transparency agendas in the region.
region must invest in human capital and promote talented and qualified youth
who can contribute to the economy. The speakers debated ways for business
leaders to contribute to the development of talent by raising the quality of
education to produce more innovators, code writers, software developers,
mathematicians and scientists. Businesses in the Gulf have evolved from small
enterprises into large conglomerates. As this transformation was taking place,
the need arose for professional managers to run these businesses. Both the
public and private sectors suffered due to the absence of professionals.
Companies need more professionals for their businesses to prosper. Government
policy reforms affect the economic performance and the well-being of citizens.
Not enough is being done to boost innovation or streamline product and labor
market regulation, which are critical aspects of today’s productivity and
equity. Policy makers need to accelerate
monetary and fiscal reforms to introduce better conditions for investment and
innovation that lead to higher productivity, better quality jobs and more
growth that benefits all segments of society.
issue of great importance is the cybersecurity market which is set to grow from
$5.17 billion in 2014 to $9.56 billion in 2019. Cybercrime has been globally
identified as the second most common form of economic crime reported in the
Middle East. The speakers debated the best practices and safeguards and
outlined the best strategies to handle cybercriminals.
measures should be taken seriously they warned as they constitute a major
threat to all companies in the future. They concluded that with the emerging
trends in e-commerce and online banking, companies should apply safety measures
against any major breakdown in cyber security which can bring a company down.
statistics reveal that women in the GCC do not play a significant role in
advancing the economy. Of the 12.1 million women in the working age group, only
3.3 million are employed. Although the empowerment of women has gained momentum
in recent years in the Gulf region, very few women have made it to top senior
positions in the corporate world. The economists discussed gender diversity and
how it could enhance strategic decision making, produce better governance and
create a closer understanding of target markets. They urged the business
community to include policies in order to change negative attitudes, provide
mentorship and influence a fair environment to promote women in boardrooms.
international Arab affairs magazine, Trends, in collaboration with INSEAD, the
Harvard of Europe, initiated the top CEO awards to recognize the best
management practices and inspire a greater level of proficiency in the Gulf.
Julien Hawari, the Co-Chief Executive Officer of Mediaquest Corp., a leading
publishing house in the region and the architect of the top-100 CEO awards, has
demonstrated that a viable partnership between media and the corporate world
can contribute to the region’s economy and serve the interests of its
Wrap: Obama’s Visit To Saudi Arabia
Now that US
President’s Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia is completed, it’s now time
for an accurate assessment of the event itself and the results.
surface, Obama’s summit meeting with GCC leaders and individual one on one
meetings with key rulers came off as a robust showing of American-GCC unity in
the face of regional threats and a pathway forward in the remaining time in
office of the current administration. In addition, the discussions were meant
to set forth a foundation for the next US administration who ever that winner
may be taking office in January 2017. That future needs to be thought about
was a wide-ranging umbrella of issues discussed during the US-GCC Summit’s
three sessions between all parties there is clearly a hierarchy of important
and immediate issues.
To be sure,
the US-GCC Summit’s findings illustrate a robust set of joint action items
between America and the GCC states. The summit, attended by heads of all six
Gulf States, pledged to continue coordinating closely on issues of mutual
concern including through meetings of foreign and defense ministers.
agreed to hold an annual summit-level meeting and open an office in Washington
to advance cooperation, and endorsed additional security initiatives.
recalibration of US-Saudi relations, and by extension the GCC, is a necessary
historical and evolutionary move
GCC point of view, the most important result from the US-GCC summit was Obama’s
comments on Iran which is pleasing to Gulf ears who are unhappy still with the
Joint Comprehensive Plan for Action (JCPOA). The American president said he had
“serious concerns” about Iran’s continuing belligerent behaviour including
missile tests and illicit weapons shipments being interdicted in the seas off
of the Arabian Peninsula.
addition, the continuing process of the US-GCC Working Group to meet twice a
year is also a positive message. These efforts are slated “to advance
cooperation in counterterrorism, streamlining the transfer of critical defence
capabilities, missile defence, military preparedness and cyber security.” In
this context, the leaders announced future plans for a significant US-GCC
military exercise to be held in March 2017. With the Kingdom’s lead in forming
the Islamic Military Alliance (IMA), the US is positioning the next
administration to assist this new NATO-like trans-regional security
organization. Thus, American support for a Sunni alliance may be reverberating
thinking on the situation in the Levant remains on the same track. Obama called
on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside not only because he has
killed his own people but also because it was hard to see him being the head of
a government that would end the fighting. On the situation in Iraq where the US
is a major stakeholder together with GCC countries, Obama said that political
paralysis was impeding US-led efforts to defeat ISIS and reconstruct that
action is required and the Americans want the GCC to do more. According to a Jordanian
official, Saudi Arabia literally is now ordering Iraqi Prime Minister Haider
Abadi to visit the Kingdom to discuss Iraq’s future but ultimately to push Iran
out of Iraq.
importantly, counter-terrorism cooperation is moving in to high gear. Obama
pointed out that intelligence sharing between the US and the GCC was vital in
the fight against terrorism to help promote collective security.
coordination on the counter-terror fight is becoming more and more important as
wars rage in the Levant and in Yemen. US help to the GCC states in prosecuting
the fight against terrorism is taking on new urgency specifically in Yemen
regarding AQAP. America is helping the UAE with training program for attacking
and eradicating the Yemeni al-Qaeda affiliate and its hold on Hadramawt
province and the port of Mukalla.
recalibration of US-Saudi relations, and by extension the GCC, is a necessary
historical and evolutionary move. There is no doubt that multilateral relations
are undergoing a transformation. Although Obama himself went out of his way to
suggest that the so-called “old” Saudi-US “friendship and deep strategic
partnership “was still intact” there is a progression of utmost significance.
The Kingdom is making clear that Saudi Arabia is seeking a recalibration of the
Obama Administration recognizes that Saudi Arabia’s launch of economic reforms,
led by King Salman’s son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is a
critical moment in the Kingdom’s history, there needs to be the proper
combination of mutual veneration and continuous communication in the coming
months and years.
To Putin or To Pout
vaunted “cessation of hostilities” in Syria is collapsing, under the relentless
violations of the Syrian regime’s conventional forces and its auxiliary Shiite
Jihadi fighters, mostly in the form of aerial bombardment of civilian targets,
designed in part to make it impossible for the representatives of the
opposition forces to continue the “peace talks” in Geneva.
again, senior American officials from President Obama and Secretary of State
John Kerry on down, are reduced to invariably and impotently appeal or beseech
or urge Russian officials to lean on Assad to soften his industrial scale
brutality against Syrian civilians. Every time President Vladimir Putin moves
and creates facts on the ground, and leaves behind a trail of blood and tears
from the Ukraine to Syria, Obama analyses, and muses and then stoically pouts.
the cessation of hostilities was put into effect in late February, everything
the Syrian regime has done on the ground demonstrates convincingly that it
intends to exploit the lull in the fighting to improve its position militarily
and logistically, to move decisively when the time is ripe “for the kill”
against the rebel held areas of Aleppo, the country’s largest city, and the
most important strategic prize in Northern Syria.
days Assad’s killer air force rained barrel bombs on crowded markets in the
historic rebel held town of Maarat al-Nu’man, and the town of Kafr Nabl, in
North-western Syria killing and wounding scores of civilians. KafrNabl, also
known as Kafranbel, became famous during the uprising, for its sharp and witty
banners written in eloquent English about the stamina and the yearnings of the
Syrian people under fire and the silence of the world.
One of the
remarkable results of the reduced terror from the skies in recent weeks was the
quick resurrection of the spirit of defiance and the grass root peaceful
activism of the early stages of the uprising in towns like KafrNabl and others
which are under the control of the oppressive al-Nusra. Local Coordination
Committees, representing the resilience of civil society, sprung up with full
force, and people resumed their public protests against both the murderous
Assad regime and the abominable al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra.
urging of Moscow, and with significant Russian areal support, the Syrian regime
regained control over the city of Palmyra in central Syria – In fact President
Vladimir Putin predicted the defeat of the Islamic State ISIS in Palmyra few
weeks earlier – as well as waging attacks against positions held by Jabhat
al-Nusra another terrorist group not included in the cessation of hostilities.
The purpose of these tactical moves was ostensibly to improve Assad’s chances
of becoming a potential even if undeclared partner in the International
campaign against ISIS, something that might resonate with Western capitals, in
the wake of the Paris, and Brussels attacks which were sponsored by ISIS.
the US government continues to support a peaceful outcome to the war in Syria
that would lead, through a transitional period to a post-Assad Syria. But
privately, the Obama administration is counseling the Syrian opposition groups
to lower their expectations of the impending departure or demise of their
tormentor, hauled up in his splendid isolation in Damascus, with rare public
forays with his Desdemona as a décor for a mass killer, as we have seen him
recently voting in his latest sham elections.
Syrian or outside observer believes that the Obama administration will end its
timidity regarding Russian-Iranian-Assad machinations in Syria
Obama gave us yesterday his latest musings on the Assad-Putin duo, while
expressing his concerns over the fate of the cessation of hostilities: “keep in
mind that I have always been skeptical about Mr. Putin’s actions and motives
inside of Syria. He is, along with Iran, the pre-eminent backer of a murderous
regime that I don’t believe can regain legitimacy in his country, because he
has murdered a lot of people”.
analyst-in-chief is correct obviously, but in reality this prognosis cannot
hide the fact that the Obama administration is gradually moving to Putin’s
position on Syria, particularly regarding Assad’s fate, where the Russians would
like him to remain in power during the envisioned transition. In fact the US
and Russia intend to codify that in a new constitution. It is nothing short of
a flight of fancy to think that a constitution for a new Syria can be drafted
with Chemical Assad still in power.
United States and Russia for different reasons would like to see a somewhat
viable peace process (again, that much abused term) at Geneva. The Americans
hope that the process would begin with the release of prisoners from Assad’s
dungeons, and humanitarian assistance reaching the besieged and starved
communities that Assad has subjected to the worst medieval forms of punishment.
administration would like to see a “process” that would allow political talks
to proceed while a tenuous calm would prevail in Western Syria, so that the
American military and its international and local partners will concentrate
their war on ISIS. President Obama knows that ISIS will survive him, but he
would like very much to decapitate the leadership of the fake Caliphate, and
add the pretend Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to the trophies that he collected
in his war against al-Qaeda and ISIS.
President Obama escalated the drone and Special Forces war against al-Qaeda
following the “Christmas Day bombing attempt” in 2009 of theNorthwest Airline
Flight 253 over the city of Detroit by Omar Farouk Abd al-Mutalab, a Nigerian
recruited and trained by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), he has been
escalating the war on ISIS following the bombings in Europe and San Bernardino.
al-Mutalab had succeeded, President Obama could have conceivably kissed his
second term goodbye, hence his escalation against al-Qaeda which was both a
national security imperative, as well as a necessity for Obama’s political
survival. Clearly, Obama believes that decapitating ISIS and bleeding it is a
national security imperative, but also Obama is genuinely concerned that
another ISIS organized or inspired attack against the homeland will tarnish his
record as the hunter of ISIS.
military intervention came at a time when Assad’s forces were spread too thin.
Just as the military intervention of Iran and Hezbollah saved the Syrian regime
in 2013, Russia’s massive bombings of Syrian opposition groups, mostly in the
Aleppo and Idlib areas, where there are no ISIS controlled towns, has
strengthened Assad’s position, but it did not alter fundamentally the balance
of power on the ground so far, because the Syrian regime’s lack of manpower has
prevented it from enlarging the area under its control.
announcement of the “withdrawal” of Russian forces was meant as a reduction of
forces, to signal to Assad that Russia’s military role has limits, and that any
ground campaign against Aleppo should be conducted by Syrian, Iranian and
almost inevitable that the cessation of hostilities will collapse, and with it
the Geneva “process”, because the Assad regime and its main protector Iran, as
well as Russia are determined to deal the moderate Syrian opposition a severe
blow by trying to occupy the whole city of Aleppo, hoping that this would be a
game changer. If this happens, Assad will then insist with Russian support to
be a tacit, if not a serious ally in the war on ISIS.
nightmarish situation is mostly the result of Washington’s refusal to
understand the symbiotic relations between the Assad regime and ISIS and act
accordingly. From the beginning of the uprising Assad was determined to make it
a conflict between the so-called “secular” Syrian state and Islamist extremists,
hence his calculated release early on of a large number of hardened Islamists
from Syrian jails.
The US lost
its credibility as a serious foe of the Assad regime, when it refused
repeatedly to challenge, deter or punish the regime even after its use of
chemical weapons against civilians. Washington’s insistence on getting signed
commitments from the small number of Syrian fighters it trainedthat they will
engage ISIS in battle and spare the regime’s forces was the last straw.
Syrians, who have been struggling against the Assad tyranny for five years, are
also willing to struggle simultaneously against ISIS and other Islamists who
would like to take Syria into the dark side. The enemy in Syria is a two-headed
monster. One head is in Damascus, the other is in Raqqa.
sword will finish the regime in Damascus, or will force it to seek a negotiated
outcome that will lead to its political demise. No serious Syrian or outside
observer believes that the Obama administration will end its timidity regarding
Russian-Iranian-Assad machinations in Syria.
continue his limited war against ISIS hoping to degrade it and prevented from
attacking the homeland during the remaining months of his tenure, and wishing
his successor good luck in destroying the Caliphate. President Obama and his
peripatetic secretary of state seem hapless and impotent when dealing with
Putin. Syrians will remember Obama’s pout for a long time to come.
stormed Syria, and like the ancient invaders from the East he scorched the
earth, and bled everything standing; men, women, trees and stones. And after
the seventh month, he rested while observing with admiration his desolation
then claimed withdrawal. Putin’s trail of blood and tears in Syria will be
remembered like those of Tamerlane and Hulagu.
22 Apr 2016
have converged at the United Nations in New York to sign the world's action
plan to curb global warming and avert climate change's worst consequences.
of the Paris Agreement is a testament to the world's ability to act
collectively to address an existential problem. It is also a chance to recognise
nations and peoples with unique struggles against extreme climate conditions.
of Palestine is one among many countries around the world facing such
challenges. Now as a State Party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC), the UN treaty body in charge of climate action, the State of
Palestine has a unique role.
Change Threatens Svalbard's 3,000 Polar Bears
It can, in
particular, share expertise about conservation in harsh environments and serve
as the voice for those without full control over their natural resources in the
context of international climate action.
has long been a dedicated partner in the international negotiations on climate
change. Since the Rio Conference in 1992, I have represented Palestine at six
international climate meetings. At each of these meetings, I highlighted the
specific vulnerabilities faced by occupied peoples, who must, for example, cope
with limited control over, and constant deprivation of, their natural
living under occupation face distinct challenges, I also know that everyone,
everywhere shares similar concerns. We all face rising temperatures, water
scarcity, drought and rising sea levels. That is why learning from each other
and sharing our determination is universally beneficial - and absolutely vital
to saving our planet for future generations, an urgent objective set out by the
UN in its Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
are experts in survival on minimal resources, having developed their resilience
and refined practices for sustaining life in a cruel environment. This is
especially true in agriculture, where Palestinians have for decades applied
innovative farming techniques with proven results.
Palestinian farmers use recycled waste water, water harvesting and drip
irrigation to overcome Israel's usurpation of our water and to conserve our
limited resources, as well as maintaining local seedbanks to preserve
agrobiodiversity. Communities cut off from the Israeli-controlled energy grid
look to alternative energy sources, such as solar panels.
State Party to the UNFCCC affords us the opportunity to build upon these
techniques through climate finance, technology and capacity-building, and to
better share our practices with others in the Mediterranean and beyond.
pursuit of such opportunities is impaired by the fact that Palestine continues
to be illegally denied control over its natural resources by Israel, the
occupying Power, particularly as a result of its ever-expanding settlement
enterprise in the West Bank, its blockade of Gaza, and its attacks on
infrastructure, which have devastated the quality of our natural resources and
our access to them.
underscores the fact that truly addressing the challenges we face as a people
in all realms, whether political, social, economic, humanitarian, environmental
or otherwise, requires first and foremost ending the Israeli occupation that
began in 1967 and securing the freedom and rights that the Palestinian people
have been for too long unjustly denied.
continue to exert all efforts to that end, we are simultaneously seeking to
responsibly carry out our duties to improve the lives of our people in
accordance with international law and with a view to their resilience and
sustainable development as a part of the global community.
2010, the Palestinian Authority developed a "Climate Change Adaptation
Strategy" that set out a national action plan to address some of our
we are preparing to submit to the UN an INDC, our national contribution to
reducing greenhouse gas emissions, confirming our commitment to shouldering our
responsibilities to achieve a carbon-neutral future, in spite of the fact that
the Israeli occupation prevents us from fully executing our climate policy.
It is in
part because of these circumstances that the State of Palestine decided to
become a State Party to the UNFCCC.
first time the State of Palestine will sit as an equal among fellow countries
in the global fight against climate change, which stands among the top
priorities on the international agenda.
strengthened position we can ensure that people without complete control over
their natural resources have an equal platform to voice their needs and be part
of the global conversation and effort.
Agreement was a tremendous diplomatic achievement. We are proud that the State
of Palestine is a partner in pursuing ambitious climate action. Yet, to bring
about the substantive change we all seek, we each must do more at home and
of Palestine is a respected party in the UN and will work with our diplomatic
partners to ensure effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and further
enhancement of climate commitments. We want a world with a sustainable future
that we can all share, as equals, in stability and peace. As a new State Party
to the world's action plan on climate change, we are eager to work towards that
for All, And All for One
summit in Riyadh has a lot more to offer than mere rhetoric and could, under
the stewardship of Saudi Arabia as the host country and Custodian of the Two
Holy Mosques King Salman’s initiatives, become a watershed in today’s
geographical and political equations.
the presence of the US president in what is a bid to mend fences indicates how
seriously the big powers must take the GCC and its priorities. These visits are
no longer icing on the cake but of strategic import. The solidarity of the GCC
enclave to speak with one voice and ask of the US to clarify where it stands on
the issue of Iran vis-à-vis the region is a strong platform and carries with a
message of hope and concern but, above all, one of a reformed and collective
will that sends out an eloquent message: The US cannot and must not play two
ends against the middle.
there is any mistaking the intent of the Council to speak with one voice
nothing puts it across with more fervor than the togetherness shown by all
members in supporting Morocco on the matter of western Sahara and responding to
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s statement that it is “occupied” territory.
President Barack Obama wishes to end his eight-year stint on a high note he
knows he has to go beyond reassurances and mere gestures of diplomatic
niceties. The region has been scarred by what is happening in Egypt, Yemen,
Syria and Iraq and the spreading stain of terrorism in its many hues is a
menace that has to be controlled. If there are legitimate fears of it being
often “state-sponsored” then the GCC is well within its rights to expect every
nation in the world to back it and use its good offices to control and end it
rather than give these merchants of death and destruction tacit or material
support. Any influence should be used to sponsor peace not conflict.
very token if there is any more prevarication or delay or obfuscation on this
issue then the members of the GCC have the full right to seek alternative
courses of action and defend one another against a common threat.
world has always wanted peace. King Salman has made that very clear on several
occasions. That desire to live in harmony has never changed. But when the agony
of its people stays unabated and there is a suspicion of aid and encouragement
being given to hostile and armed faction to contribute to instability in the
region and place in peril a whole generation of young Arabs then the only
recourse is to stand up as one and say, enough.
right to have a relationship with Iran cannot be at the expense of the Arab
world. Terrorism is an absolute and does not come in varying colours. This is
what the GCC is asking: Acknowledge state-sponsored militancy and help us stop
it. There is no argument that the US has strong and binding ties with the
region and that this relationship is integral to the peace and prosperity of
the world. Both sides hold it in great esteem and over the years much good has
the acid test is now. US foreign policy in the Middle East must become more
realistic and work toward solutions and not exacerbate problems. If this meeting
between President Obama and King Salman and his participation in the GCC
conference can hasten a coming together on the same page and there can be
time-bound commitments from Washington that there is no such thing as “good”
extremism this is the right moment to change the paradigm.
must be shorn of doubt and expediency and the US has to move in tandem with the
GCC members to bring about cease-fires, lasting and durable peace and a sense
of security to the region. This process must start today and must follow a
timeline. Anything less would be not just a disappointment but also leave a
very uphill climb for President Obama’s successor. More importantly, it could
lead to unilateral moves by the region, which would make the US role marginal and
bruise Washington’s credibility.
conference unfolds the GCC has shown pragmatism, commitment to peace and a
great restraint, allowing all options to be tabled sans prejudice. This display
of mature political acumen is an opportunity that should not be overlooked. The
bus of good sense doesn’t come around all that often.