US troop withdrawal from Syria counterproductive

Author26/12/2018 (Arab News – KSA by Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg*) On Sunday, the Pentagon confirmed that the order to withdraw US troops from Syria had been signed. Last week’s announcement of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces, which have been deployed to help the global coalition fight Daesh, came as a shock to US officials, as well as to allies and partners worldwide.
Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned in protest. Apparently angry at his letter of resignation, Trump asked him to leave at the end of December and appointed his deputy as acting defense secretary. Brett McGurk, who served as the special presidential envoy to the coalition, also resigned. Trump later said he had never heard of McGurk, despite the fact that he had been in that post for years.

*Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiation, and a columnist for Arab News. 


A disastrous scenario stares Tehran in the face

11/11/2018 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Nadim Koteich*): The 4th of November will be remembered as a glorious day of confrontation with the Iranian regime. The re-imposition of US sanctions is the last thing Tehran would have wanted to face at the moment when it is going through its largest “revolutionary” expansion in the region and one of the most critical of its domestic situations since 1979. Iran’s problem with US President Donald Trump issues from the clarity of the man. He had stated in his presidential campaign that the nuclear agreement is the worst deal in history, and that he would revoke it if he won the presidency. He has done exactly as he had promised. Trump is also honest when he says he wants good relations with Iran. His only demand is actually quite simple: Iran should stop being the way Iran is. Trump does not know how to use Kissinger’s equations like the phrase “it is necessary for Iran to transform from being a revolution into becoming a state.”…

*Nadim Koteich is a leading Arab satirist.

Rebellion of a rich country’s poor

21/07/2018 (Al Arabiya – UAE by Hazem al-Amin*): The war on terror has ended in Iraq and levers of power now rest in the hands of Shiite parties with varying degrees of links with Iran. Who is responsible for this failure? Who is the corrupt? Which party is depriving Iraqi people of their national wealth? The country of Tigris and Euphrates is thirsty! The country with the third largest oil reserves in the world is staggering without electricity. The country claiming “victory over ISIS” is controlled by militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces which are no less sectarian than ISIS! The country of free elections is experiencing the biggest electoral fraud! Today, the deteriorating situation has been worsened by a new element. The protests have revealed a bitter truth. The Najaf Airport which protesters stormed and closed is managed by the militias of five parties including the ruling Dawa party. In this sense, the news from Iraq is more surprising than news emanating from some of the “banana republics” in Central America…

*Hazem al-Amin is a Lebanese writer and journalist at al-Hayat.


Iran and the beginning of retreat from four Arab capitals

10/06/2018 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Ali Al-Amin*): The messages Iran has been receiving from various directions are no longer oblivious to anyone. Even Iran’s decision makers now realize that the four Arab capitals, which they celebrated seizing a few years ago, have changed and are no longer the same cities that’s policies Iran had dominated. The so-called ‘Resistance Crescent’ or the ‘Shiite Crescent,’ as some like to call it, is no longer a bright crescent lit with Soleimani lights, in reference to Qassem Soleimani. The disastrous scene reveals how the four destroyed or weakened Arab cities from Sanaa to Baghdad to Damascus and Beirut are now trying to avoid death, which is trying to kill whatever is left of them…

*Ali Al-Amin is a journalist based in Lebanon and is the Editor of news site


Secularism: Differences among academics, radicals and Orientalists

20/05/2018 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Fahad Shoqiran*): No concept has been distorted by Arabs and Muslims as much as secularism. It all began with the poor translation of the term and which did not end with explaining what it means. The explanation “the principle of separation of the state from religious institutions” remained common even among academics and intellectuals. However, secularism is more than that and carries several interpretations, dimensions, and multiple implementations. Thus, we cannot confine ourselves to just one political model as a basis to judge the difference between true and false secularism. The aim of the concept is to establish a more earthly atmosphere, to keep religion impartial and spare it from the conflicts between the masses or between different individuals in the one state.

*Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. 


Iraq: Not a functioning state, but we think it is!

29/04/2018 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Adnan Hussein*): “Do we have a state in the first place?” I concluded a column earlier this week with this question that has been asked for 15 years, and it seems it is going to be asked for perhaps another 15 years. Political Islam groups have governed Iraq for all this time and despite their failure, they’ve been clinging on to authority. Yes, we do not have a state in Iraq but it just looks like a state to us. There is no country in the world, even an underdeveloped one, which does not, for example, have a traffic law. It is in our “state” that you do not see any sign of traffic laws on the streets, squares and highways. Car drivers, motorcycle riders and pedestrians do not abide by the traffic law. The traffic police also does not abide by it or work to impose it. Even the traffic lights lack a functional system!…

*Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists.


Conflicts of the region are led by Iran’s maneuverings

07/04/2018 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi*): The Cold War dynamic in the Middle East, which is now also playing out in other theatres internationally, is finally being accepted by many analysts in the region after being rejected for years. History has again become a living reality for the entire world. Historically, Iran has sought to achieve its hegemony over the region by exporting its revolution, and has succeeded in four Arab capitals. Many observers during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ had believed that Iran and its axis in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Qatar and within the Brotherhood in Egypt and its branches in the Arab Gulf and the world, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and extremist groups in Libya and in the triangle of south of Algeria, northern Mali and eastern Mauritania, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and others can dominate the region and the Arab world…

*Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher.


We’re still paying the price for the mayhem of 2011

23/03/2018 (Arab News – KSA by Hafed Al-Ghwell*): An Egyptian friend of mine from college was doing exceptionally well in 2010 with his property investments and developments in Egypt and Libya. Things were also looking better the following year — and then revolts took place in both countries within a month of each other. Suddenly, through no fault of his own, he was faced with ruin and failing businesses in both countries. He decided to close his shops, take all his savings and move to the US to start over. His story is not as tragic as those of the estimated 87 million other Arabs whose lives have been deeply affected by what was ironically called the Arab Spring. Nevertheless, it represents the many types of lawlessness of the period stretching from December 2010 to the end of spring 2011, when many countries in the Arab world were shaken to their core by revolts, violence and bloodshed…

*Hafed Al-Ghwell is a former adviser to the board of directors at the World Bank Group. 


Another Trump surprise, and it’s bad news for Iran

17/03/2018 (Arab News – KSA by Camelia Entekhabifard*): Since the beginning of his presidency, Donald Trump has surprised the world — and the American people — on many occasions. His executive orders restricting travel to the US, changing key aides and officials in his administration, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, none of this was expected by politicians and ordinary people.  Only last year, Trump was threatening “fire and fury” against North Korea if its nuclear program endangered the US, terrifying the world with the prospect of a nuclear war. Now he has agreed to direct negotiations with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. And no sooner had the political establishment recovered from that shock than Trump fired his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.  The president has nominated Mike Pompeo, the head of the CIA, as Tillerson’s replacement. For both hard-line Republicans in the US Congress and the so-called “moderate” government of Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, the nomination was quickly interpreted as a death sentence for the 2015 deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program…

*Camelia Entekhabifard is an Iranian-American journalist, political commentator