x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Accounts of “sex jihad” in Syria have been making ripples throughout the Arab world in recent months. In commenting on them, the Saudi journalist Abdel Rahman Al Rashed told the following story in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.

In the course of the war between American troops and Al Qaeda in Iraq, a Saudi divorcee and her children disappeared from their house in Saudi Arabia. A while later, it was revealed that the woman had joined Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the writer added.

It was hard to believe that a woman from a conservative community would go to a battlefield, but in reality, it turned out that she volunteered to join the organisation and was aided by Al Qaeda affiliates in Saudi and Yemen to marry the organisation’s chief Abu Musaab Al Zarqawi. However, their marriage lasted only a few days. She then married another man, and another, and was ultimately killed along with thousands of others who died during the violence in Iraq.

This is a true story that shows the ability of fanatic clerics and terrorist leaders to brainwash men and women, the writer said. The young men go on to kill themselves and the women offer themselves as maids and slaves in the service of some fanatic ideology, the writer said.

Tunisia’s Interior Minister Lotfi bin Jiddo wasn’t wrong when he warned that Tunisian women were going to Syria to work as sex slaves for the fighters and that some of them have returned home pregnant.

The idea itself doesn’t seem too far-fetched when one thinks about all the men that rush to death in the name of jihad. Why shouldn’t women, in this case, also offer themselves as sex maids as long as it all happens in the name of jihad?

In many aspects, advocates of terrorism are traders. They promote whatever beliefs prove helpful to marketing their products, the writer added.

Sex was among the means Al Qaeda used to recruit young men and women. They promise them martyrdom, gardens of delight and 72 virgins in heaven and they seduce them with female slaves while alive.

In the past, Algerian people endured those savage groups for more than two decades as they hid in mountains and attacked towns to loot, kill and kidnap women who were used as sex slaves and maids.

Let’s remember that intellectual rape is a far bigger threat. Conditioned people can be directed to commit all sorts of crimes. In Syria, extremists have deceived many people into joining them in the name of defeating the Syrian regime.

But soon enough, the people discovered that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is no less evil than the Assad regime that they revolted against, the writer concluded.

Does the Israeli state really want peace?

It is indeed hard for a reasonable mind to fathom the objectives and the motives that drive Israeli policies as they systematically destroy all efforts to achieve peace, said the Ramallah-based daily Al Quds in its editorial on Thursday.

“We have relinquished 78 per cent of Palestinian territories and agreed to a state on the 1967 lines,” the paper added.

Initiatives were proposed and accords were signed for the purpose of ending confrontations and instating durable and equitable peace. But it was all in vain. Israel continues to build illegal settlements, confiscate lands, displace citizens and attack holy Islamic grounds.

Even now with renewed negotiations, Israeli offensive practices haven’t stop. In fact, in some cases, they have gained in brutality.

“What does Israel really want? Why does it prefer to build sporadic settlements to peace and cooperation with 57 Islamic and Arab countries?” the paper asked.

Israeli authorities must realise that pressure leads only to explosion. The hatred they are instilling in the minds of generations of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims will drag the region into a state of ongoing war and suffering.

“Israel must build peace rather than settlements,” said Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas recently in New York, but it is unlikely that his call will resonate with the power-drunk government in Tel Aviv.

No change in Syria in the foreseeable future

The waning hopes of Syrians hang on a decisive resolution by the UN Security Council against the Assad regime that would put an end to massacres that have been going on unbridled under the haze of the world, observed the Dubai-based daily Al Bayan in its editorial yesterday.

On Tuesday, US president Barack Obama stood before the UN General Assembly in New York and renewed his threats to address a limited strike against Syria. He added that such a decision is never easy to make. He left the ball in the international community’s field, ensuring that his statements won’t materialise, at least not in the foreseeable future.

For its part, Russia renewed its rejection of any forceful international resolution against its Syrian ally.

Its foreign minister has been working closely with his US counterpart to formulate a draft resolution to propose at the Security Council to end the Syrian crisis in a political deal, the paper added.

Amid all the statements and the calls for “decisive” and “coercive” measures, there has been nothing to signal that such a deal will soon be announced to stop the bloodshed and allow the millions of refugees to return to their homes.

Digest compiled by The Translation Desk