Children carry the weight of war in Yemen

21/10/2017 (Al Arabiya – UAE by Azeem Ibrahim*): Yemen is still one of the worst humanitarian disasters currently ongoing in the world. The conflict, which began when Houthi militias refusal to accept the political transition of power, is not ‘sexy’ enough to hold the attention of the international press for sustained periods of time, but it rages on, causing ever mounting human suffering on a mass scale. So far, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed, three million have been displaced from their home, and due to the destruction of infrastructure, as many as 17 million are at risk of famine: in a country with a population of around 28 million. But the worst affected, as often is the case in these kinds of conflicts, are the most vulnerable. In particular, the children. As many as 80 percent of children in the country are affected by the famine and in desperate need of aid…

*Azeem Ibrahim is Senior Fellow at the Centre for Global Policy and Adj Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College.



Corruption nears religious symbols in Iraq

14/10/2017 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Adnan Hussain*): Corruption, it is always corruption, because the consequences of corruption are far more destructive than terrorism and war. What we suffered from unbridled terrorism and catastrophic war over the past three years in Iraq has been the legitimate spawn of the corruption of previous governments. Here is a new story of corruption, which is one of thousands; a pervasive form of corruption, in which the ruling (Islamic) parties that practiced, nurtured and protected it did not consider the sanctity of the father of imams, Ali bin Abi Talib. The corrupt persons in this story practiced their corruption and protected not far from the tomb of Al-Imam, who they claim to defend the doctrine of..

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


What comes after the Saudi-Russian summit?

07/10/2017 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Ghassan Charbel*): Several factors push journalists who headed to Moscow to cover theSaudi-Russian Summit to describe it as an exceptional event. It is the first time a Saudi monarch walks into the Kremlin Palace. The keenness of Russian President Vladimir Putin to receive the king with hospitality reflected Moscow’s wish to make this visit a green light for solid and deep relations to serve interests of both countries. It is not restricted to the symbolic value of King Salman’s entrance to Kremlin, but the date has its significance based on political and economic facts. We are talking about two major petroleum-producing countries that are also among the G20…

*Ghassan Charbel is the Editor-in-Chief of London-based Al Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.


Kurdish unilateral independence and a deadly impasse

30/09/2017 (Al Arabiya news – UAE by Amir Taheri*): Despite many efforts to stop or postpone it, the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum has become a fait accompli and must be taken into account in shaping future developments, and Masoud Barzani, the man who orchestrated the exercise, must be as pleased as Punch. In contemplating the future, it is important to know exactly what we are talking about. Supporters of the referendum have pinned their flag to two concepts: independence and self-determination. They say Iraqi Kurds want independence. However, like all other Iraqis, Iraqi Kurds already live in a country that is recognized as independent and a full-member of the United Nations. The concept of the quest for independence applies to lands that are part of a foreign empire or turned into “possession” of a colonial power. Legally speaking, at least since 1932, that has not been the case in Iraq…

*Amir Taheri was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979.


Why Arabs’ relationship with the US is complicated

23/09/2017 (Arab News – KSA by Mohammed Nosseir*)“It’s complicated” is probably the best definition of the relationship between the US and the Arab world. Most Arab governments have a solid and evolving relationship with America, yet the country is often extremely unpopular among Arabs. Ironically, there are always long queues at US consulates all over the Arab world, and millions of Arabs dream of obtaining a green card or entry visa to America. As a global superpower, the US defines and shapes its relationship with Arab nations. Arab leaders could play a more constructive role in influencing the relationship by using their limited leverage. But they prefer to adopt a passive stance that serves our short-term needs rather than our long-term interests. During their visits to the US, Arab leaders try to meet with as many decision-makers and influencers as possible, hoping to serve immediate national interests rather than promoting Arab regional needs…

*Mohammed Nosseir, a liberal politician from Egypt, is a strong advocate of political participation and economic freedom.


Qatar’s tactical Turkey policy

16/09/2017 (Arab News – KSA by Majid Rafizadeh *): Qatar’s deepening ties with Turkey could have significant consequences for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the US and US-Gulf relations. Doha is trying to drive a wedge between Turkey on the one hand, and GCC states and the US on the other. Doha has eased the rules on Turkey’s exports to Qatar, which are up roughly 84 percent. It has also allowing Ankara to set up a military base in Qatar, Turkey’s first in the Arab world. Qatar is a major hub for the US-led air campaign against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, but Doha’s policies could endanger the American air base there. They could also significantly undermine Turkey’s national interests and damage its ties with other Arab states, which would further inflame regional tensions…

*Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated, Iranian-American political scientist.


Donald Trump on the Qatari crisis mediation line

09/09/2017 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Abdulrahman al-Rashed *): The Qatari crisis is back to square one after Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah’s visit to Washington, during which he met with the US president and held a tempestuous press conference. President Donald Trump accepted Sheikh Sabah’s invitation to be part of mediating the Qatar crisis. This would initiate phase two in attempts of resolving the dispute. Assuming his role, Trump, in his distinctive style, publicly announced that Qatar should stop supporting terrorism. The emir’s decision to involve Trump is admirable. In this case, whatever concessions the Qatari government had refused to hand over to Sheikh Sabah, now they will have to deal with President Trump…

* Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel


Does Kissinger want ISIS to stay?

28/08/2017 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Mashari Althaydi*): In a recently published column in the same daily, Iranian writer Amir Taheri commented on Henry Kissinger’s views regarding the West’s confrontation of ISIS and similar groups in Syria and Iraq. Kissinger’s advice is not to rush into eliminating ISIS and similar groups because this means paving way for the Iranian Khomeini republic to dominate in Syria and Iraq. This theory surprised Taheri and he voiced his opposition of Kissinger’s opinion by stating that the latter hails from an old political culture that’s based on the principle of “balance of powers” which is a remnant of the European Westphalian eras. To Taheri, eliminating ISIS does not mean not eliminating the Khomeini regime later as Khomeinism, ISIS, al-Qaeda and Taliban are all faces of one ugly truth. Taheri added that during World War II, eliminating the Nazi threat was not postponed out of fear of the USSR’s expansion, noting that the USSR was later eliminated. He thus concludes that the same must happen to confront the threat of ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq…

*Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.


The Gulf crisis: Why is India still neutral?

29/07/2017 (Arab News – KSA by Naser Al Tamimi*): The decision by four Arab states — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt — to cut ties with Qatar may have ramifications on India. For now, these will be mostly concentrated in the diplomatic sphere; however, pressure on New Delhi to pick sides is likely to grow as the Gulf crisis deepens. So far, India has been working hard to maintain a neutral stance over the Gulf crisis to avoid any political and economic risks and ensure the well-being of Indian citizens working or living in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. Certainly, India is watching the situation very closely as it has even more reason to be concerned about the developments in the Gulf region. The Gulf states are among the most vital economic zones for India. Indeed, the GCC bloc was India’s largest trading partner in 2016. At the country level, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were among New Delhi’s Top 5 trading partners…

*Naser Al-Tamimi is a UK-based Middle East researcher, political analyst and commentator with interests in energy politics and Gulf-Asia relations.


It’s goodbye, Qatar!

Salman al-Dossary09/07/2017 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Salman al-Dossary*): The only surprise that didn’t happen on Wednesday was a positive Qatari response to Kuwaiti emir’s mediation that could have ended the current crisis. The negative response was nothing new; it was expected just like all other reactions that came from Qatar after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed ties with it a month ago. All that is needed from Qatar is to stop its aggressive policies and attitudes and become a rational state. What is requested from it is already applied by other states, this is the best response to Qatar’s repeated statements that the demands violate its sovereignty. This is the truth said, a truth that is being manipulated by Doha to serve vanity. It is important to mention that when the four countries decided to take this decisive and bold step, they were fully aware that the road to ending Qatar’s rashness and aggressive attitude will be long and bumpy…

*Salman Aldosary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.