New Age Islam Edit Bureau
27 February 2018
There’s Only One Way to Confront Iran’s Domination
By Sawsan Al Shaer
Yemen Must Save Itself from Ruinous Gun Culture
By Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg
Khamenei Dodges Responsibility By Blaming ‘Officials’
By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Could Afrin Lead To A Breakthrough In Turkey-Syria Relations?
By Yasar Yakis
Oil Fields Are the New Battleground for Lebanon and Israel
By Diana Moukalled
Yemeni Crisis Gradually Moving Towards A Definitive Resolution
By Abdullah Bin Bijad Al-Otaibi
On The Question of Naturalizing the Children of Saudi Women Married To Foreigners
By Mohammed Al Shaikh
Kuwait Celebrates, Between Yesterday and Today
By Mashari Althaydi
Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
There’s Only One Way To Confront Iran’s Domination
26 February 2018
The US and Europe are well-aware that Iran reached the Mediterranean Sea and that the governments of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon paved way for Iran to get this far. However, do they realize that this threatens their national security, economic and political interests?
Hanin Ghaddar, a Friedmann Visiting Fellow at the Washington Institute, wrote in a recent report: “Following its successes in the Syrian war, Iran’s next step is to infiltrate state institutions in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Without serious action by the US government to counter Iran’s regional activities, any international support to Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq - and their financial and military institutions - might result in support for Iran’s Shia militias.”
Researcher Jackson Doering reached the same conclusion. Both Ghaddar and Doering think that any support granted to Lebanon or Syria or Iraq is in fact being granted to Iran considering that these countries’ governments are under Iran’s influence.
Both researchers address the phase which followed the end of war against ISIS and discuss what will happen in these countries after ISIS is eliminated. They both agree that Iran benefits the most from this phase as it is under the pretext of fighting ISIS that Iran’s troops reached the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea and controlled areas via its militias or decision-making processes via parties in support of it. This is what happened in Lebanon and what may happen in Iraq during the upcoming elections as militias armed by Iran aim to clone the experience of the Lebanese Hezbollah Party and establish political parties and use them to become part of the legislative authority while keeping their arms to threaten the state and other parties.
Renowned American writer Thomas L. Friedman said in an article published earlier this month that Syria is likely to become the most dangerous area in the world because US policy towards it is not clear and because other major players (Russia and Iran) care about securing their interests there.
Do the US and Europe realize that this Iranian presence threatens their interests?
Yes, they agree that Iran’s presence in this manner happened because of the former American administration’s “foolishness.” The latter administration thought the Iranian nuclear deal will make Iran establish ordinary relations with its neighbors and respect international vows and agreements and that peace will reign in the Middle East thanks to the Iranian “moderate wing!”
Neither the US nor Europe took action although they sensed this danger and neither has a comprehensive strategy to address this expansion. We can rather see how the Iraqi government is being dealt with in a different way than the Lebanese or Syrian governments.
Now after it’s been proven that this policy is not realistic, Ghaddar called on everyone not to provide aid to any of these governments because this means aiding Iran. She added that there must be one strategy when dealing with Iranian-backed militias in all three countries, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, as well as in Yemen considering they form one army led by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Her call to the American administration is based on the notion that the latter’s threats against Iran did not yield results because they lacked practical measures. It does not look like the current American administration or that European countries, that have been neutralized after Iran tempted them with trade deals after being released from its shackles, have a comprehensive strategy. Haidar al-Abadi seems incapable of stopping Qassem Soleimani from moving between the Iraqi and Syrian borders to unify Iraqi militias with militias in Syria.
According to an article published by Leon Hadar at the American National Interest on Feb. 21, the Congress will not approve of any proposal that leads to a war with Iran as the Vietnam and Iraq syndromes remain alive and well and it’s difficult to convince the Congress of deploying American troops in the Middle East to resolve any conflict in the region.
In his article “I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again” in the New York Times, retired army colonel Lawrence Wilkerson said Trump’s recent campaign against Iran resembles that of George W. Bush before he invaded Iraq, adding that it’s unlikely for the Americans to forget the strategic mistake committed by Bush and to repeat it again in terms of the Iranian case.
Hence the only way we have is to rely on ourselves to confront the traitors who sold their countries and to make any help the governments of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon receive dependent on their actions to end their links to Iran. Relying on the Americans or Europeans only wastes time while Iran further expands in our countries.
The United States and Yemen top the list of gun ownership worldwide. There are about 113 guns for every 100 Americans, according to a Congressional Research Service report. There are no reliable comparable statistics for Yemen, but estimates vary at between 55 and 300 guns for every 100 people. In both nations, there is a deeply ingrained culture of pride in owning weapons and great reluctance to regulate that ownership, let alone ban it altogether.
In many parts of the US, purchasing a pistol or an assault rifle is not much more complicated than buying a fridge or a TV set. This laissez-faire gun culture was made plain in the recent massacre of 14 teenagers and three staff members at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The assailant, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, appeared to have purchased his weapons legally, despite the fact questions had been raised about his mental stability.
The horrific incident has reenergized debate in the US over the permissive approach many American states take toward gun ownership. Many hope that this time around the anti-gun campaign will be more effective than before.
The frequency of these killing sprees is staggering. In 2017, the US experienced a total of 346 mass killings — or almost one every day on average — resulting in the deaths and injuries of thousands of innocent people. When you add these mass killings to individual cases, you will find that at least 15,549 people were killed by guns in the US last year (excluding most suicides), a 3 percent increase on 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The 2017 total includes the Las Vegas massacre in October, which was the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the country’s history. The shooter used a variety of high-powered guns to murder 58 people and injure more than 850.
Like the Florida school incident, the horrific Las Vegas massacre also ignited fresh debate about gun laws in the US, but that discussion soon faded away.
Yemen is even more lax about gun ownership and use. The country’s gun culture goes back decades at least and predates the current crisis, which started with the Houthis’ September 2014 coup d’etat against the internationally-recognized government. Yemeni tribes and individuals take pride in owning personal weapons, as well as automatic rifles, missiles, armored personnel carriers, tanks, and anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns. The Yemeni government tried repeatedly, before the crisis, to regulate gun ownership but failed. Even in peacetime, it was not unusual to see men in Sanaa and elsewhere slinging their assault rifles over their shoulders, or placing them casually on the floor or tables of restaurants and cafes.
Gun ownership in Yemen became an end in itself, a social status symbol taken for granted and not explicitly linked to political goals.
Houthi rebels have taken this gun culture to its extreme: They graduated from personal weapons, assault rifles and tanks to become the only militia that employs strategic weapons such as ballistic long-range missiles and guided anti-shipping missiles. This culture explains in part the Houthis’ refusal so far to surrender their weapons. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216 of 2015 made it clear that they have to do so and their representatives agreed in principle to hand over heavy and medium weaponry, but they have used creative pretexts to delay that eventuality.
Another example is the Houthis’ ability to recruit so many children, who make up about one-third of their fighting force, according to one UN report. The gun culture made it easy to persuade children and their families to use weapons, which is considered a rite of passage and a badge of honor.
While Yemeni tribes have codes of honor and chivalry that acted as something of a check on using weapons, the Houthis have distorted those rules.
This distorted gun culture also explains in part how Al-Qaeda — and more recently Daesh and Southern separatists — have been able to plant deep roots in Yemen. The availability of weapons and the permissive gun culture made it easy for these groups to arm themselves.
On an almost daily basis since 2014, the Houthis and these other terrorist groups have engaged in unspeakable atrocities against civilians, taking advantage of lax gun laws and a warped culture of guns and violence.
Any long-term solution for the crisis in Yemen has to develop a consensus on demilitarizing Yemeni society and politics. Yemenis have to fulfill their previous agreement to use the ballot box instead of bullets to achieve their political goals.
Very soon, the new UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths will start his mission to bring Yemen’s warring parties to the negotiating table. The genesis for the solution will be found in the GCC initiative and its implementation mechanisms, which include parliamentary and presidential elections. By agreeing on a set of outcomes that aim to regulate political life in Yemen away from the culture of violence, Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference, which lasted for 10 months and concluded in January 2014, represented the clearest position yet against Yemen’s gun culture and use of force.
UN Security Council Resolution 2216 called on the various Yemeni parties to implement the GCC initiative and national dialogue outcomes as the basis for a political solution. As such, the path is clear for Yemen to gradually disavow its gun culture and save itself from national suicide.
Khamenei Dodges Responsibility by Blaming ‘Officials’
Iran’s state-owned Persian newspapers have put significant emphasis on recent statements made by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei regarding the nation’s injustices.
Etemad newspaper, whose editor-in-chief is a former military officer, carried a headline stating: “The leader of the revolution: I am fully aware of (people’s) criticisms.” Khamenei’s speech that the newspaper reported on was part of his good cop, bad cop strategy. This shrewd policy is one of the reasons that Khamenei has been capable of ruling for nearly three decades (he is the second longest-serving dictator in the region). Unlike other authoritarian leaders who have been toppled — such as Muammar Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak — Khamenei often does not totally reject the idea that people have grievances. In his tactical and crafted speech, he acknowledged that people are suffering because of the economy, unemployment and injustice.
On the one hand, Khamenei is projecting to the ordinary people that he totally sympathizes with them, that he stands with them, and that he is on their side. He is distinguishing and separating himself from the dominant religious and political establishments, which the majority of the people have become dissatisfied with and complain about.
On the other hand, Khamenei is also placing the blame for injustices on anonymous “officials.” By throwing the ball into other people’s court, Khamenei is evading accountability and responsibility. He stated that the “officials” ought to listen to people’s concerns and apologize to the people and to God. The headline of Iran’s major intelligence newspaper (Ettela’at) read: “The Great Supreme Leader of the Revolution: Aristocracy not paying attention to the oppressed and depending on foreigners is a disease for (our) revolution.”
But, more importantly, who are the “officials” that Khamenei has been referring to for decades? The term “officials” is ambiguous. Not only it does not solve the underlying problem, it actually complicates it. By pointing fingers at “officials,” does Khamenei mean it is Iranian President Hassan Rouhani or a low-level clerk who works at the Ministry of the Economy who is responsible for the injustices? Does he mean it is a soldier of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force — a branch of the IRGC that conducts covert and extra-territorial military operations — who is responsible?
For decades, the regime’s leader has failed to precisely name who is culpable. The term “officials” is intentionally broad and ambiguous in order to avoid charging, indicting, bringing to justice and putting in prison any of the regime’s staff. In spite of Khamenei’s many speeches blaming these officials, Iran’s judiciary, which has its top official directly appointed by Khamenei, has not followed up to hold anybody accountable.
However, there is one phenomenon clear about the term “officials” and that is the fact Khamenei does not see himself as such. From the perspective of the regime’s supreme leader, he is appointed by God, not the people, to lead Iran. He views himself as the earthly representative of the Hidden Imam Al-Mahdi. In fact, his official Persian website describes him as the supreme leader of the entire Islamic world.
If Khamenei was truly trying to find out which officials were responsible for the people’s poverty and economic injustices, one approach would be to look at the regime’s organizations and the affiliated individuals who control and receive a large portion of the nation’s resources, revenues and budget. Another method would be to observe who makes the final decisions when it comes to the economy and domestic and foreign policies.
Given his position and control, it appears that the final decision-maker in matters related to Iran’s economy, the regime’s fundamental issues and foreign policies is Khamenei himself. Furthermore, there are two major institutions that have significant control over the nation’s economy and politics and are recipients of large portions of the budget: The IRGC and its affiliates and the Office of the Supreme Leader.
Although the IRGC is known as a military organization, it has been involved in monopolizing Iran’s economy by engaging in illegal trading. The IRGC buys and controls various economic sectors, such as telecommunications, gas and oil, and commercial airlines. In addition, when it comes to Khamenei, just one of the organizations he owns — Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam — is worth at least $95 billion.
In a nutshell, Khamenei’s good cop, bad cop strategy is aimed at dodging responsibility, accountability and strengthening his grip on power. To detect who is responsible for the people’s poverty and the injustices that many endure, Khamenei should look no further than those who make the top decisions: Meaning himself, his loyal forces and the gilded circle of his cronies.
Turkey’s military operation in the northern Syrian province of Afrin is unfolding almost entirely as predicted. Resistance and difficulties were expected, as they are in any military confrontation.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a visit to Jordan last week: “There is no problem if the Syrian regime enters Afrin to clear the area of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a terror organization Turkey has been fighting for more than three decades) and YPG (People’s Protection Units, the military branch of the strongest Kurdish political party in Syria) but if it enters to protect the YPG, nobody will be able to stop the Turkish army.”
Despite its negative connotations, there is a constructive ambiguity in this statement. It may give Turkey some flexibility if it decides, at a later stage of the operation, to negotiate an arrangement with Damascus.
Another constructive element in the statement is that Turkey is aware that the regime’s forces are not entering Afrin to protect the YPG. They enter the province first to counter the Turkish army and regain control of its territory; and second to prevent the YPG from transforming the region into an autonomous canton. In reality, the local authorities of Afrin invited the regime’s forces “to assume their duty to protect the Syrian territory from the Turkish invasion.”
So, if the constructive ambiguity in Cavusoglu’s statement was a considered opinion of the Turkish government, and especially of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it may give up the operation because the task of checking the YPG will be carried out by the Syrian government. Despite a common interest between the Syrian government and the YPG in countering the Turkish military operation, there is a difference between the expectations of the regime and those of the Kurds.
What is important for Turkey is the attitude of the other major players in Syria, as there are both differences and overlapping interests in their positions. The US would prefer to see the YPG maintain its presence in Afrin one way or another, rather than being eliminated entirely. Russia would like the regime to regain control of the province without necessarily ousting the Kurds. Iran, meanwhile, is opposed to the Turkish military operation but it may prefer a crippled Kurdish presence that it would be able to control in the future.
YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud said the group “called on the Syrian government to assume its responsibility and the government sent its troops to be deployed on the border with Turkey.” This statement implies that the Kurds expect the regime’s forces to protect the international border between Turkey and Syria, but not interfere with the internal affairs of the self-declared Afrin canton.
Turkey is not happy with the arrival of the regime’s forces, but it may prefer that pro-Syrian government forces, rather than its own army, deal with the YPG fighters.
The deal negotiated between Damascus and the YPG, with the mediation of Russia, included the transfer of power by the YPG to the central authorities in Damascus. The major sticking point was whether weapons in the hands of non-fighter individuals would also be handed over to the Syrian authorities. In a crisis-stricken area, individuals need weapons to protect themselves, so there was a reaction from the people to this precondition of Damascus. But the deal was eventually struck and so far three pro-regime military units have arrived in Afrin.
Afrin had a population of around 200,000 according to the 2004 census. After the Syrian crisis broke out in 2011, the province reportedly received more than 110,000 internally displaced persons. The present breakdown of the population is very much disputed. The Kurds claim the province’s population is composed mainly of Kurds, Arabized Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Arabized Turkmen. Other ethnicities present include Armenians, Chechens, Circassians and Yazidis. In case of a clash that involves the civilian population, Turkey can count only on the Turkmen and some Arabs; the allegiances of the others are uncertain to say the least.
Apart from the YPG fighters already in Afrin, media reports indicate that some of its soldiers from Raqqa are also finding their way there to fight the Turkish army. Others joining the fight against Turkey include individuals, mercenaries or volunteers from Europe and all over the world, but their contribution to the Kurdish fighting force will remain symbolic because of their lack of military training, language skills and dedication to the cause.
In view of this complicated landscape, Turkey may choose to strike a deal with Damascus. This will ease its relations not only with Russia and Iran, but also with the US. How Damascus will react to Turkey’s potential overtures after so many mutual recriminations is another matter.
By Diana Moukalled
Israel is threatening Lebanon. There is nothing new about this statement, as conflict between the two countries has existed for decades, but the big change in the nature of the hostilities in the past few months calls for reflection. It seems as if Lebanon has entered a new phase of the conflict: Over oil and gas, not Jerusalem.
Historically, Lebanon has never been labelled as an oil-producing country, but 2017 was a remarkable year, as the Lebanese government called for bidding on five prospective maritime oil blocks, out of 10 it has earmarked, which prompted a swift Israeli reaction of threats and intimidation.
A few weeks ago, Israel openly threatened Lebanon and even advised international companies to refrain from drilling for fuel from block 9, which is opposite the Lebanese coastal town of Al-Naqoura, claiming that part of the block is in an area of which it claims ownership. The surface of the disputed area is about 860 square kilometers and came about because the historical conflict between the two countries didn’t allow the international community an opportunity to carry out official border demarcation. Each of the two countries has their own version of the maritime territories, but no borders have been officially recognized.
The Israeli threats were followed by an American intervention with the visit to Beirut of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He was preceded by his envoy David Satterfield, who also repeated his visit to Lebanon after Tillerson’s trip.
It is clear that the US is willing to revitalize an old proposal, known as the Hof line, in reference to the American mediator Frederic Hof, who worked on resolving the border conflict in 2012. His suggestion was to give Lebanon 60 percent of the disputed waters and Israel 40 percent — this was rejected by Beirut.
The main issue remains the possibility of increased tensions, especially now that the conflict over oil interferes with other dangerous military and political concerns, including those related to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah hinted recently that this issue doesn’t need to be resolved in a rushed manner, declaring that the region is engaged in a battle for oil and gas and that Lebanon is inseparable from the region. Of course Nasrallah did not miss the opportunity to confirm that Hezbollah will negotiate, and maybe even fight for the oil.
So Nasrallah defined the rules of the game and nobody in Lebanon will be able to violate these rules. One sure thing is that Lebanon cannot take any decision that contradicts what was defined by Hezbollah. If this was to happen, it would only be in coordination with Hezbollah and would be for the purpose of triggering a new set of negotiations — potentially linking any stepping back with other concessions, such as putting decisions related to the oil and borders in the hands of Hezbollah and Iran. This would put this issue on the negotiating table and there is no real guarantee for safeguarding the rights of Lebanon in the marketplace of international politics.
With the Americans whispering that Lebanon has to abide by the Hof line if it is to preserve its southern-most oil fields — or it should forget about them if it refuses the plan — Lebanon may be forced to opt for international arbitration. This means that the issue would take a long time, delaying Lebanon’s admittance to the club of oil-producing countries.
It seems so far that the Americans aren’t able to give Lebanon what it wants, but they are seeking to avoid any escalation as they don’t want any more chaos in the region. The US administration doesn’t want any escalation in light of the ongoing war in Syria and its related conflict with Moscow.
Some consider Tillerson’s warnings against Hezbollah last week to be a response to Lebanon’s unwillingness to concede or negotiate. The message was sent to Hezbollah in particular, and through it to the Lebanese government.
In the absence of a green light for open war at this stage, Hezbollah and Iran are focusing on the outcome of the conflict in Syria in light of the clashes between international powers there. Hezbollah, with Iran behind it, is preoccupied with clearing a path from Tehran to Beirut via Damascus, and from Tehran to Southern Lebanon via the Syrian part of the occupied Golan Heights. In this context, Nasrallah included the Golan as an element in the war over oil and in saving this wealth.
Therefore, the resolution of the issue surrounding oil block 9 will be part of the agreement on Iran’s role and its area of influence in Syria. This is where the future mutual concessions will happen, without any guarantee that they will be in Lebanon’s favor.
By Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi
I find the English proverb “slow and steady” the best way to describe the decisive course the war in Yemen is taking, with the crisis coming to an end along with the restoration of hope.
A continuous collapse of the Iran-backed Houthi militia is obvious from the outcome of battles, with the advance of the national armies supported by the coalition forces that uphold legitimacy.
One of the most recent important trends is the growing dissent within Houthi ranks over the decision to assassinate former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the assassination of important people in the General People's Congress after the death of Saleh.
The selection of many leaders and members in the congress of politicians and militiamen that seek to delegitimize Houthi militia has led to the collapse of Houthis on almost all fronts. This points to the direction of the war and its final outcome against the Houthis.
The major problem facing Yemen is that many leaders and movements in the country want to settle their scores and secure their petty interests before the war lays down its burden. Each party has set its agenda in accordance with its current needs and priorities on the basis of their own parochial interests, not according to the interests of Yemen. Only Yemenis are capable of resolving their issues.
To achieve very narrow objectives, Houthis took control of Yemen. Their petty calculations could not resolve the issues, but it seems cleansing Yemen of this militia might take time. Does this mean that the Yemen issue is the result of an internal problem?
Of course not! Yemeni crisis has led to several wars between various militia and the Yemeni state, but over the years it has evolved regionally with Iran making long term investment in the Houthi militia. This happened in the wake of the Obama administration’s retreat and withdrawal from action, causing the eventual coup in Yemen that supported the Iranian agenda with Qatar’s unstinted support.
There is one condition for ending the conflict in Yemen — restoration of the full legitimacy of the state and the reconstruction of Yemen. There is the need to eliminate the militias that have taken control of the state, its political factions and its citizenry.
As Houthi leaders face increasing threat because of the millions of dollars worth of bounty placed on their heads, their rank and file are left with the choice to be either loyal, retreat or die. This was expressed by the Houthi leader Saleh Al-Samaad in his statements last Thursday in his attempt to reconcile with the Congress leaders, whom Houthis have placed under house arrest.
The Houthis only think from the mindset of a militia that is supported by foreigners, not the mentality of popular political movements backed by the people. They deal with all the parties and national forces with the rationale of brute power. Like Khomeini’s Iran, they like to intimidate, threaten and enforce control with excessive power; which is the way a brutal adversary thinks. This is not the way patriots think, even if they are rebellious or overzealous.
Iran’ Support For Terror
There have been several international obstacles that have prevented the end of the war earlier, but change appears afoot with the Yemeni crisis clearly indicating that the end of war is nigh. What happened to ISIS in Iraq and Syria will also happen to the Houthi militia in Yemen.
The policy to overlook terrorism has now been rejected. It had became scandalous for the most powerful force in US, after Obama's departure and the advent of Trump. Once a unified international policy emerged to confront ISIS in Iraq and Syria the militia vaporized.
It had earlier grown enormously not because of its inherent strength, but because of the international weakness in confronting it. When the time came for serious confrontation, ISIS vanished like any pack of small-time criminals. Houthi militia will have to be ready to face a similar fate.
The Iranian regime is the biggest supporter of terrorism, chaos, drug trafficking and radicalization in the region and the world. It faces major challenges, important and troubling international pressure led by US and regionally led by Saudi Arabia and its allies, topped by the UAE and Bahrain.
Iranian decision-makers are under pressure, no matter how hard they may try to take refuge in the alliance with Turkey and Qatar. They are experiencing internal crises, protests and uprisings, which will continue to rise and ebb. The strength of the regime and of its institutions are being obviously destroyed because of their disputes.
The continued pressure on the Iranian regime means pressure on all its terrorist proxies in the region, from the Shiite militias in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon (including the Houthi militia in Yemen) to al-Qaeda, Taliban and the remnants of ISIS and Hamas. When its supporter Iran becomes weaker, Houthis shall weaken as well, especially as Qatar faces the boycott of four countries.
As its financial activities in supporting and financing terrorism are scrutinized, it makes it difficult for it to support the Houthi militia in an unprecedented manner. Finally, only Yemenis can rescue Yemen. With all the great support of the Arab coalition to help Yemen regain its state, security and stability, along with the complete elimination of the Houthi militia and its destruction in a slow but steady process.
On The Question Of Naturalizing The Children Of Saudi Women Married To Foreigners
Statistics show that about 700,000 Saudi women are married to non-Saudi men. Most of these couples have children. However, the system of Saudi nationality only grants Saudi citizenship to the children of Saudi men, even if they are married to non-Saudi women.
In fact, Saudi citizenship treat the children of Saudi women having a foreign father with equality. They are not granted nationality, even if they have been born, schooled, raised and lived in the Saudi Kingdom with their mothers.
An Antiquated Law
The Saudi nationality system is antiquated. It came into existence almost six decades ago. Over this period, Saudi society has witnessed many changes and in various walks of life. Most notably, Saudi women are now enjoying their human rights.
Despite this, the children of Saudi women with foreign husbands are still denied their right to Saudi nationality. I really don't understand why, despite the fact that this falls within their human rights, along with the fact that this category of people accounts for a large proportion of the population.
With an outstanding educational background; being born and raised in the Kingdom and speaking in different accents, they should grant them Saudi nationality as their legitimate right, that ought to have been taken into account by the Saudi nationality system. But nothing has changed to this day.
I am a firm believer in societal diversity; having new blood and new cultures can only enrich the society, open it up to new ideas, break its scale and eradicate this racist tendency which is the plague of societies. In fact, it is one of the most fundamental of all human rights, which are adopted by contemporary civilized societies.
Furthermore, the New World countries, such as The United States of America and Canada, are melting pot societies, consisting of citizens coming from all around the globe.
This diversity reflected in their societies which enabled them to lead the modern world both civilly and culturally; making nationalism and racism some of the worst societal defects that modern countries seek to eradicate. This means that we need to take lessons from these cultures so we can enrich our own society and distance it from the unjustified racism in the world of human rights.
Plea To The Beloved King
I am going to go even further than that and say that we need to reject racism in all its forms, especially since we are living in a new era in which we need to look back at our past mistakes.
One of our most important assessments is that we need to normalize with the rest of the world, so we can become a coexistent nation that can live with different cultures.
That distortion, called privacy, became ancient history, that we threw behind our backs and began building a new modern, contemporary and lawful state, with all the meanings of the word. In this Salman’s era that will mark history.
I take my case to our beloved King, especially since it is a pressing issue that has affected many in the past and does to this day. I am certain that he, may Allah bless him, will take it into consideration.
Kuwait Celebrates, Between Yesterday And Today
I recently attended an event organized by the Saudi Information Ministry through the King Fahad Cultural Center to mark Kuwait’s 57th national day.
The celebration also marked the 27th anniversary of liberation. These two events represent the link between independence and liberation. Kuwait gained its independence in 1961. It then drafted a constitution and the first parliamentary elections were held on Independence Day.
Kuwait then witnessed several developments. Some of them were marked with calmness while others with distress, and some fell somewhere in between. The country thus witnessed domestic and foreign political, economic, security and social challenges. It has not been spared of existential crises ever since its modern establishment as few days after its independence, its Iraqi neighbor who at the time was led by “the leader” Abd al-Karim Qasim, threatened it; thus Saudi Arabia came to its aid during the days of late King Saud bin Abdulaziz.
I said modern establishment in reference to the country after declaring independence in 1961 because the old or intermediary establishment was that by Kuwait’s founder and reference of the current state, the grandfather of the current ruling family Mubarak Al-Sabah or Great Mubarak as dubbed by resources.
The most dangerous “existential” crisis which Kuwait confronted was annexing the state to become Iraq’s 19th governorate after the foolish or rather huge political crime committed by Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait in 1990 in a manner similar to Hitler’s and Stalin’s.
Back then, a great and brave historical leader, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz rose to the rescue and led efforts to form an international alliance to liberate Kuwait. He made the famous statement: “Either Kuwait is liberated or Saudi Arabia goes with it!”
He’s not only brave because he fought the enemy but because he also confronted Arab populist propaganda and Islamists who assaulted the kingdom. The book “In the eye of the storm” by late politician Ghazi Al Gosaibi, and which is a collection of his articles in Asharq al-Awsat daily, is informative of that miserable Arab media and political scene.
This was in the near and far past. Kuwait now faces new challenges such as to how to stay safe from the fire of regional politics and confrontations – I won’t delve into domestic affairs here. What’s more important is the answer to these questions. Can Kuwait be neutral or can it engage in major confrontations? In what form will this neutrality or engagement be?
Kuwait is a unique state within the Gulf. It has a glorious cultural history and different political potential. However, today’s challenges are different than yesterday’s in terms of politics and development. Therefore, today’s solutions must be different than yesterday’s.