New Age Islam Edit Bureau
08 February 2016
Principles of Geneva ONE or the
Concessions of Geneva TWO
By Eyad Abu Shakra
Peace Only on Assad’s Terms
By Andrew Bowen
What Corruption Indexes Don't Tell Us
By Helena Malikyar
As Syria Talks Fail, Should We
Prepare For The Worst?
By Brooklyn Middleton
Iran Chasing a Mirage
By Amir Taheri
Racism against The Lebanese
By Qaiser Mutawea
Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
I reckon there is no political observer who
expected much from the Geneva 3 talks on Syria. In fact, a senior western
diplomat was frank when he expressed his doubts about chances of success as the
High Negotiations Committee (HNC) took its difficult decision to send its
delegation for talks with the U.N.’s Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, along
with calls to implement international pledges regarding humanitarian issues.
The HNC, which was formed by the Riyadh conference and brought together the
broadest representation of Syrian opposition groups, was under immense pressure
to attend Geneva 3.
This pressure was international as de
Mistura threatened the HNC with a fait accompli conference, Washington
threatened it would cut off aid if HNC did not attend. Russia’s case was even
more curious as it is now at war with the Syrian people. The astonishing thing
is that while Russia acts as a full political and military “partner” of the
Assad regime, it still insists on being an authority eligible of picking and
choosing delegates of Assad’s “opposition”.
If we review the overall efforts made to
stop the war in Syria since the summer of 2011, when Bashar Assad decided to
crush the popular uprising by force, we find two movements moving
simultaneously in opposite directions:
There has been a gradual decline in the
cohesion of the group of countries that stood by the Syrian uprising as the
U.S. and Iran were finalizing the JCPOA (i.e. the Iran nuclear deal).
it became clear to Assad regime that it would not survive if left to its own
devices, all the hidden links kept in reserve for a rainy day, its implicit
alliances and subsequently its strategic role in the Middle East were all
The countries that initially sided with the
Syrian uprising joined hands under what was called the “Friends of Syria” and
met in February 2012 in the absence of Russia, China and Iran. The aid provided
by the Western powers claiming the “friendship” of the Syrian people, however,
fell short of what the Syrian opposition was asking for, namely, safe havens,
no-fly zones, and advanced and effective defensive weapons capable of
neutralizing and deterring Assad’s air force.
In June 2012 a meeting was held in Geneva,
this time attended by Russia and China. This meeting set in motion a
“transitional” process leading to a “Syria without Assad”. However, Russia
supported by China adopted the regime’s demands that the priority should be
“fighting terrorism”, meaning the opposition. At this point there was a clear
difference of interpretation of the Geneva (now known as Geneva 1) principles.
Letting down the Syrian uprising by 2015
led to the proliferation of extremist groups against a marked erosion of
frustrated and desperate moderates
The Western “Friends of Syria” continued to
refuse providing any qualitative military aid to the opposition, especially,
the “Free Syrian Army” as ISIS was gaining ground in many parts of Syria,
virtually, unopposed and unhindered by the regime’s army. Indeed, the regime
intentionally exploited the advances of ISIS against the FSA, making common cause
with it as spelt out candidly by a Syrian intelligence Lebanese functionary.
By 2013 the U.S.–Iran rapprochement was
rapidly becoming a reality, more so after reports of secret negotiations in
Muscat surfaced, and Hassan Rowhani won Iran’s presidential elections in June
2013. Almost immediately thereafter, Washington described his win as a victory
for “moderation” and “rationalism” that deserved a positive response.
Within few months, as soon as Assad
realized that White House’s threatening “red lines” were non-existent, it used
chemical weapons in Greater Damascus while doing nothing about ISIS taking over
the city of Raqqah, which became Syria’s first provincial capital to fall to
the extremist terrorist organization. Washington, in turn, did nothing about
the chemical attack and expressed its satisfaction over Assad handing over his
In January 2014 Geneva 2 ended without any
positive results. Moscow stood firm while Washington, not only retreated from
its initial stance, but moved even closer to the Russian interpretation of what
was going on in Syria. Then, in early March 2014, President Barack Obama sent a
clear message “to whom it may concern” in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg.
He insinuated that he regarded Iran as a trustworthy ally in the Middle East
along with Israel.
Subsequently, Washington rhetoric against
Assad was getting fainter, concentrating its argument on the fact that “he has
lost his legitimacy” as Raqqah became the declared “capital” of ISIS in the
heart of Syria. Both in and outside Syria, letting down the Syrian uprising by
2015 led to the proliferation of extremist groups against a marked erosion of
frustrated and desperate moderates, some of whom began bit by bit to leave the
political and military scene.
Yet, despite this, and the active backing
of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and its militias, the regime failed to gain the
upper hand on the ground. Given the above stalemate, against the background of
massacres, human suffering, threats to a number of the regime’s heartlands, and
the West’s move to consider fighting ISIS as the priority in Syria, Russia
joined the war in October 2015 under the pretext of attacking ISIS.
One month after the Russian intervention,
which concentrated its bombardment on FSA positions and “moderate” opposition
groups, representatives of 17 countries, including Iran, met in Vienna.
Representatives of the regime and the opposition were, however, not present.
The meeting ended with agreement on a
ceasefire and a “framework for political transition”, but not the future of
Assad. Consequently, last December, the U.N. Security Council unanimously
agreed to a “road map” that begins with negotiations between the Syrian regime
and the opposition to broker a ceasefire, forming a “transitional government”
within six months and conducting elections within 18 months, again saying
nothing about Assad’s role.
But in the light of developing agreements
between Washington and Moscow, and the changes on the ground brought about by
the Russian military campaign, some recent reports have suggested that
Washington and Tehran have agreed that Assad remains in office until 2022!
What should we expect now? It is obvious
that the Syrian opposition has no option but to continue its steadfastness,
regardless of how huge the disappointment is. Steadfastness without illusions!
The Syrian opposition is aware that its “adversary” is also the “referee”, and
thus must not give it new excuses to continue betraying it.
Eyad Abu Shakra (also written as Ayad Abou-Chakra) began his media career
in 1973 with Annahar newspaper in Lebanon. He joined Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper
in the UK in 1979, occupying several positions including: Senior Editor,
Managing Editor, and Head of Research Unit, as well as being a regular
columnist. He has several published works, including books, chapters in edited
books, and specialized articles, in addition to frequent regular TV and radio
7 February 2016
With the suspension of the Geneva talks,
the Vienna roadmap forward looks both uncertain and unrealistic. U.N. special
envoy Stefan de Mistura’s job has never been enviable or easy with the number
of competing internal and external actors at play. However, the suspension of
talks in Geneva underscores that no one came to these talks ready to engage in
a substantive dialog, in particular, President Assad and his allies, Russia and
As the parties settled into Geneva without
yet starting the formal indirect U.N.-mediated talks, Moscow and Tehran-backed
ground and air campaign surged onwards. In a sign of bad faith, the Syrian
military, with Russian and Iranian assistance, escalated their efforts to
advance on Aleppo and cut off the opposition’s main supply line from Turkey.
They have rejected the High Negotiating
Committee (HNC)’s conditions for the talks, which is implementation of two
articles in December’s U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254. These two
articles call on all parties to stop bombarding civilians and medical
facilities, to release detainees, and to allow humanitarian access to besieged
It’s not surprising then that Russia and
Iran have shown no deep interest in sticking to the Vienna road map
Assad has only paid lip service to this
demand so far, allowing the Red Crescent to provide aid to the city of Al-Tal,
north of Damascus. Under the watchful gaze of its international backers,
Damascus has consciously pursued medieval-era tactics to go so far as to
literally try to starve his opponents to surrender.
Equally, Russia, Iran, and Damascus are
continuing to contest the composition of the Syrian opposition negotiating
teams and the Syrian government team has rejected beginning talks until the
list of opposition participants is provided to them. For example, Jaish
al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, two designated terrorist groups by Russia, arrived
Monday to participate in the peace talks. Moscow noted they can participate in
the talks but this does not legitimize them.
Chaos at Geneva
The time now for a settlement on any terms
other than President Assad and his patrons isn’t right. Assad, with clear
backing from President Putin and Ayatollah Khomeini, is doggedly drawing out
these negotiations as long as possible to ensure that his and his allies forces
can consolidate control over the critical regime-held areas of the state and
suitably create a sizeable buffer between regime areas and opposition-held
It’s not surprising then that Russia and
Iran have shown no deep interest in sticking to the Vienna road map. For
Moscow, it buys more time for President Putin to both advance his regional and
global interests and at the same time, give the appearance that Moscow is
actually interested in playing a constructive role. For Tehran, with the
advances in Syria, the only concessions to be made in these talks are the ones
that advance their interests not limit them. While President Rowhani wants a
settlement, peace in Syria will not be at the expense of Tehran’s strategic
As the regime further gains on the
battlefield, the HNC and the broader opposition arrived in Geneva in a
disadvantaged position. Deeply fractured by differences, these groups have
never effectively coalesced around a common negotiating position, beyond Assad
must leave office. Equally, concerning, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has
indicated no deep commitment to a territorially integrated Syrian state. Beyond
these groups, ISIS continues to seek to carve out a hold over Syrian and Iraqi
territory, despite recent setbacks.
The HNC’s refusal to begin talks until the
regime makes the humanitarian concessions is a substantial roadblock to
overcome. Understandably, as the opposition loses further ground, the HNC has
very little to show to its constituents on the ground that such negotiations
It was irresponsible for De Mistura to try
to hold these talks with those conditions not credibly met. U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry, in an effort to push forward on these talks, misjudged that
the opposition could be pushed to the table to talk with no conditions. Moscow
and Tehran’s latest offensive on Aleppo underscores that despite Kerry’s close
rapport with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister
Zarif, they don’t negotiate with him in good faith.
The road to peace through Vienna and Geneva
looks long and dim. A national ceasefire, which was supposed to occur as these
talks began, is a fantasy. With the opposition reasonably never likely to agree
on the terms that Iran, Russia, and President Assad would like, these talks, if
they don’t collapse, will outlast President Obama. They also will likely
outlast the viability of a territorially and politically integrated Syrian
Moscow and Tehran’s ultimate prize is Assad
remaining President of Syria. Their consolation and guarantee is political
influence and control for the foreseeable future in regime held areas with or
without Assad. For the Syrian opposition, a united Syrian polity is gone. The
PYD will unlikely ever cede any of their political gains. More broadly, for the
U.S. and its allies, the fracturing of Syria will be a long-term challenge well
past a political settlement.
Andrew J. Bowen, Ph.D. is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Middle East
Studies at the Center for the National Interest in Washington, DC.
06 Feb 2016
Three global watchdog reports came out last
week highlighting Afghanistan's scornful predicament in 2015. Their findings
reveal a rise in corruption and human rights violations and a consistent
failure in political freedom and civil liberties.
Transparency International's annual
Corruption Perception Index placed Afghanistan at 166th among 168 nations.
World Report 2015, published by Human Rights Watch, criticised the war-ravaged
country for failure to effectively tackle abuses in key areas. Freedom House’s
annual Freedom in the World 2016 Report ranked Afghanistan among countries that
are "Not Free".
While it is true that the Afghan government
and its international supporters must be alarmed by these findings, rankings
and scores in such global annual reports must be contextualised if they are to
In the case of Afghanistan, these
scorecards only describe symptoms of more fundamental problems.
The ongoing conflict that expanded and
became more brutal in 2015 has contributed greatly to the bleak human rights
situation as well as to the shrinking of civil liberties and political freedoms
in restive areas.
Another factor, which is often omitted from
such reports, is the heavy hand of the international community, especially the
United States, in shaping events in Afghanistan from 2001 onwards.
But above all, endemic corruption,
continued rights violations and restricted civil liberties are symptoms of
weakness in the implementation of the rule of law.
From denying information to journalists to
beating of traffic police to the impossibility of winning a contract in a
tender process sans association with influential people, liberties, rights and
transparency are impeded because rule of law has hitherto been ignored.
Afghanistan's political and social culture
was deeply rooted in the concept of justice. In fact, the concept of 'just
ruler' is a cornerstone of Islamic theories of governance...
Rule of law is generally defined as the
system that renders governments, institutions and individuals accountable to
and governed by laws and regulations and prevents arbitrary action. It has to
be applied equally and without favouritism to any individual, group or power
Afghanistan's political and social culture
was deeply rooted in the concept of justice. In fact, the concept of "just
ruler" is a cornerstone of Islamic theories of governance and arguably the
most important legitimising factor of the state.
In the new political culture, living above
the law has become one of the distinguishing privileges of the influential
One must not underestimate the depth and
breadth of the damage that three decades of conflict and lawlessness have
inflicted on Afghanistan.
Added to that was the irresponsible
behaviour of the international community and the Afghan political leadership
since 2001, which squandered the opportunity to establish good governance and
rule of law in the country.
Stability At All Cost
The US and its coalition partners went into
Afghanistan in 2001, hand-picking some of the most unsavoury characters from
the former mujahideen leaders and commanders as their allies.
The international community's Afghan policy
was founded on maintenance of stability at all cost. Good governance, rule of
law and justice were peripheral topics that only decorated official documents
As foreign aid began to pour in, most
contracts for infrastructure construction, military supplies, fuel, logistics
and security were awarded to the same dubious personalities who, thanks to US
patronage, had become the new political elite.
The US largesse to its Afghan allies also
entailed turning a blind eye to illegal trade, monopoly of markets, land
grabbing, million-dollar commissions on large contracts and even percentages
from the lucrative narcotics business.
Political influence, along with millions of
dollars into their bank accounts, empowered the new Afghan elite to command
placement of their kin and cronies in key positions in all state institutions,
including the parliament and the judiciary.
In other words, foreign assistance gave
Afghanistan all the right structures and legal instruments required in a
democratic system, but establishing and monitoring processes were mostly
The absence of political will, both on the
part of former president Hamid Karzai's government and donor countries to curb
corruption, not only prevented the establishment of lawful conduct in the
public sector, but also impaired the flourishing of a genuine domestic economy.
US Taxpayer Money
Lack of oversight and accountability in the
Afghan security sector, intentional or otherwise, has caused an utter waste of
US taxpayer money. The US has been contributing billions of dollars to build
and maintain Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF).
Similar to the lucrative contracts of the
earlier stages of war, allocation of funding for militia forces ... went to the
same influential people...
Yet, the staggering scale of ghost
personnel, fuel cost and disappearing ammunitions have gone entirely unchecked.
Along with the decision to end the US war
in Afghanistan, Washington opted to create local militia forces to fill the
gaps in the developing ANSDF.
Similar to the lucrative contracts of the
earlier stages of war, allocation of funding for militia forces (under the
sobriquet of Afghan Local Police) went to the same influential people, giving
them further impetus to behave above the law.
President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah
Abdullah took the reins of power over a year ago, assuring Afghans and
international donors that they had the will to establish rule of law and good
governance. Ghani further asserted that he has specific plans for accomplishing
these colossal goals.
Among Ghani's first efforts are the
creation of the National Procurements Commission to review big government
contracts, the reopening of the messy Kabul Bank case, the firing of a number
of central as well as provincial high officials suspected of corruption or
incompetence, and improved communications with provincial officials.
Recently, the Afghan president elevated the
role of governors in decision-making and monitoring of provincial affairs and
started a process of budgetary devolution. In turn, he has placed more
responsibility on his governors to curb local corruption.
In the past year, some progress has been
made towards establishing effective processes, but earnest action against major
instigators of corruption remains to be taken. To establish rule of law
requires tackling the political elite and their well-entrenched patronage
networks. This task, in turn, requires a full, honest and sustained partnership
between the Afghan government and its international supporters.
Helena Malikyar is an Afghan political analyst and historian.
As Syria Talks Fail, Should We Prepare
For The Worst?
The latest round of peace talks on Syria
fell apart after only two days with the opposition High Negotiations Committee
(HNC) rightly refusing to meet with representatives of Bashar al-Assad’s
disgraced regime without any prior guarantee of basic humanitarian relief on
the ground. Meanwhile, Assad regime forces – backed by Russian airstrikes –
staged a major offensive to retake Aleppo, forcing tens of thousands to flee to
Any hope that the most recent opportunity
for progress would be made in Geneva – if only just on the humanitarian front –
has been shattered. In the immediate term, the international community needs to
recommit to financially supporting U.N. efforts, as they continue to deal with
influx of fleeing Syrians. In the longer term, the reality that the war cannot
end without confronting Assad’s crimes must be accepted.
Assad regime’s failure to respond to a
single one of these demands underscores its total lack of interest in
alleviating the suffering
In the lead up to talks in Geneva, the HNC
had made several basic demands, with humanitarian needs being prioritized over
all other issues. Yet, talks remained on the brink of failure even before they
began, with Russia attempting to dictate which parties were even allowed to be
present. Meanwhile, brutal attacks targeting civilians continued unabated on
the ground. The Assad regime’s failure to respond to a single one of these
demands underscores its total lack of interest in alleviating the suffering in
any serious manner.
In an interview with Reuters, HNC chief
coordinator Riad Hijab said that the whole world sees who is responsible for
the failure of negotiations. “Who is bombing civilians and starving people to
death.” The world does see this, yet, Assad’s killing of civilians with
impunity for years has only emboldened his regime. With Russia’s full backing
allowing for gains on the ground, Assad may now be less inclined than ever
before to make even the most modest of concessions.
That said, with as many as 70,000 Syrians
fleeing an imminent siege of opposition-held areas in Aleppo, the inconvenient
truth that the Assad regime and its backers remain the number one threat to the
majority of Syrians has once again been made evident. Continually failing to
address this fact will ensure indefinite bloodshed. In a potentially
significant development, Saudi Arabia reportedly vowed it would deploy ground
troops to Syria if requested to do so by the U.S.-led coalition.
While ground troops may ultimately be
needed to deal a definitive blow to ISIS, without comprehensive plans in place
for urgent medical evacuations and safe zones, Riyadh’s involvement will also
not alleviate Syria’s suffering. The HNC’s approach to talks with the regime –
with immediate focus on dire humanitarian concerns – should be emulated by all
While Aleppo braces for what will be yet
another brutal chapter in Syria’s all too long war, the international community
must escalate efforts to financially support the U.N.’s operations in Syria and
neighbouring countries. The BBC reported that only 43 percent of the $2.9
billion pledged to the U.N. for Syria was actually funded. The report also
indicated that the U.S. was the number one donor while one of the eight largest
contributors was Kuwait.
In the most recent donor meeting, parties
have vowed to contribute $10 billion in aid. They must deliver and states that
have thus far failed to directly fund U.N. efforts must finally contribute. The
bloodshed in Syria is likely to significantly worsen in the coming weeks and
the international community must prepare for this eventuality.
Brooklyn Middleton is an American Political and Security Risk Analyst
currently based in New York City. She has previously written about U.S.
President Obama's policy in Syria as well as Bashar al-Assad's continued crimes
against his own people. She recently finished her MA thesis on Ayatollah
Khomeini’s influence on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group,
completing her Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies.
Iran Chasing A Mirage
8 February 2016
Foreign officials dealing with Iran since
the mullahs seized power have often wondered who is really in charge in Tehran.
Chris Patten, a British politician who served as the European Union’s foreign
policy point man, once observed that Iranian officials he dealt with always
turned out to be “actors playing the role of ministers.”
The impression is that Iran has two
governments: One that is presented to the outside world, and another that
wields the real power. Last week that impression was reinforced when Ali Akbar
Velayati, whose title is special foreign policy adviser to the “supreme guide,”
flew to Moscow on what he said was a “mission to start the Islamic Republic’s
new strategy,” which was labelled as “Looking to the East.”
Velayati’s trip to Moscow was interesting
for a number of reasons. To start with, it was timed to immediately follow
President Hassan Rouhani’s visits to Rome and Paris with the message that
Tehran was seeking close ties with western democracies. Rouhani is also
scheduled to visit Austria and Belgium later this month. In addition to this,
Rouhani has missed no opportunity to send friendly signals to the Obama
administration in Washington. He has praised the US president as “intelligent
and perceptive” and claims to be in an epistolary relationship with him.
Rouhani has noted that the world today is like a village in which America is
the “headman.” Thus it is important for Iran to foster good relations with the
In fact, political circles in Tehran have
nicknamed Rouhani and his entourage as the “New York Boys,” a faction of the
Khomeinist regime that hopes to imitate Communist China under Deng Xiaoping by
forging close ties with the US while maintaining the repressive one-party
system at home. Their godfather has been and remains former President Ali Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani, a wheeler-dealer who first established secret contacts with
Washington in 1984, triggering the “Irangate” scandal under President Reagan.
Since then, successive US administrations
have pursued what has so far turned out to be a chimera: Helping the
“moderates” led by Rafsanjani to eliminate “hard-liners” led by Khamenei,
closing the chapter of the revolution.
During the past 150 years, how to balance
hostile foreign powers against one another has been a key preoccupation of
Iranian leaders. In the heyday of European Imperialism, Iranian elites were
divided between Anglophiles and Russophiles: A choice between “pest” and
In the 1950s, as Britain faded and Russia
re-emerged as the USSR, Iranian elites were divided between pro-Americans and
pro-Soviets. Muhammad Mussadeq, who briefly served as prime minister, started
as pro-American but ended up dreaming of what he called a “negative balance;”
that is to say keeping both East and the West at an arm’s length. To deceive
the Mussadeqists, with whom he had a tactical alliance against the Shah, the
late Khomeini launched his slogan of “Neither East nor West.”
In practice, however, Khomeini regarded the
US as the most dangerous enemy of his ideology and the Soviet Union as a far
lesser threat. The reason was that, for many Iranians, America was attractive
for cultural, scientific, economic and even political reasons while the USSR
was unable to attract even Iranian Communists most of whom were Maoists,
Trotskyites or Castrists.
Khomeini approved the attack on the US
Embassy and the seizing of American hostages but vetoed similar moves against
Khamenei is aware of all that. This is why
he decided to clip the wings of the “New York Boys” before it was too late.
Last November, as the “New York Boys” were making a song and dance about their
“nuke deal” with Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin flew to Tehran, went
straight to Khamenei’s palace and pointedly ignored Rouhani and Rafsanjani. It
was after that meeting, described by Velayati as “epoch making,” that Khamenei
coined the phrase “Looking to the East.”
Will Khamenei be able to contain the “New
York Boys” in the context of a new anti-American axis with Russia? Tehran and
Moscow share a number of objectives.
Both want to capitalize on the American
retreat under Obama and make sure that the US doesn’t return to the regional
scene as the decisive power. In that context they want to keep Bashar Assad in
place in Syria, albeit in a pocket of territory, for as long as possible. They
also want to consolidate the influence that Iran, and to a lesser extent
Russia, have gained in Iraq and Lebanon.
In Moscow on Monday, Velayati spoke of
Russia and Iran as “guarantors of peace and stability” in a vaguely defined
region stretching from Central Asia to North Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. The
trouble is that Russia is deeply unpopular in Iran while there are few Russians
who have lost any love for Tehran.
Finally, mere anti-Americanism is not
enough for building a new global strategy for either Russia or Iran. Khamenei’s
“Looking East” is a failure even before it is translated into concrete
Racism against the Lebanese
Feb 8, 2016
Political tension between countries may
leave its negative impact on their citizens, encouraging some to make
unbecoming or racist statements against the other country and its people.
Intellectuals in every country should know
that people in a country as a whole should not be blamed for the decision of
its government or a group of politicians, especially when they are Arabs.
During the recent extraordinary meeting of
the Arab League foreign ministers, Lebanon abstained from voting while
expressing its solidarity with Saudi Arabia and condemning the Iranian
aggression against the Kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad.
Activists on social media then called for
the deportation of all Lebanese nationals from Saudi Arabia and other GCC
countries. They highlighted the generosity shown by Saudi Arabia toward the
Lebanese by opening its doors for them to work and make money but they did not
reciprocate by expressing solidarity with the Kingdom. It was followed by
several racist statements against the Lebanese people.
Even though the Lebanese government was not
right in taking this unexpected decision, I am sure that many Lebanese would
not support that. So it is not fair to make such racist remarks against the
Lebanese who live and work among us for the wrong decision of their government.
We will not be surprised if such unbecoming
statements had come from ordinary people, even though it should not happen. But
the most shameful thing is that such woeful statements also come from our
intellectuals, who should have set a good example for others.
This is not the first time such statements
come from intellectuals against some foreign nationals who live among us
because of the political stand of their governments. As a result of this
attitude, some people and countries accuse us of racism. It is a fact that when
racist statements are made in the West against Saudis and other Muslims we will
be the first to condemn them and we accuse the individuals behind them as
racists and rightist extremists who hate Islam and Muslims. But when our own
people make such racist comments against other nationals nobody seems to be
When American presidential hopeful Donald
Trump called for barring Muslims from the US, everyone of us including our
intellectuals made a big hue and cry about it and we described it as one of the
worst racist statements.
Those who condemned Donald Trump for his
remarks branding all Muslims as terrorists do not see any problem with those
calling for the deportation of all Lebanese from the Kingdom for the wrong
stand of their government.
Saudi people are well known for their
generosity and hospitality. Saudi Arabia has been playing a leading role to
strengthen Arab unity and solidarity. But these strange statements and demands
would definitely weaken Arab unity and cause cracks in their ranks. This is
what our enemies want.