x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

A solid Shiite alliance is gathering momentum in the region

An ARab writer argues that in the ongoing war between Shias and Sunnis in the region, the former has emerged stronger and better organised. Other Digest topics: Turkey, Israel

Let’s face it, a Sunni-Shiite war is raging on in the region, in which Shiites are more powerful and organised, Faisal Al Qassem argued in an opinion article in the Doha-based newspaper Al Sharq.

Arabs and Muslims have a tendency to sweep their issues under the carpet instead of bringing them into the open to be tackled. Whenever someone addresses the issue of sectarianism in the region, he is accused of inciting sectarian strife, albeit this is alive and kicking right under our noses, the writer said.

We can talk about Sunni-Shiite rapprochement for years, hold conferences featuring both parties and tell media outlets that “all is well”, but the facts on the ground point to an entirely different picture.

The “Shia Crescent” that was introduced by King Abdullah of Jordan is already a fully-fledged coalition. Iran’s of influence now extends across Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Gulf.

Let’s not beat around the bush here – a solid alliance under Iran’s leadership is remarkably gathering momentum. This sectarian union must be the real cause for concern, not the people highlighting it.

There is a US blessing, let’s admit it, for what has come to be known as the Shiite Alliance, which started to take shape after the US handed Iraq to Iran on a silver platter, with Iran now blatantly meddling in the Syrian conflict as the West turns a blind eye to Iran’s proxies on the Syrian ground, the writer noted.

The US has recently to Iran being an integral part of the “Geneva 2” conference that will form the new Syrian map. Iran’s role in Syria is now globally recognised, with signs that it will have the lion’s share of the Syrian cake in the light of the US-Iran presidential phone call, Al Qassem suggested.

The unified Shiite alliance has achieved a dream to rule the region cherished for hundreds of years. The Iranians, therefore, are going to fight tooth and nail to keep up their tremendous achievements. The way the Iranians, the Iraqis, Hizbollah and the Houthis fight alongside the Syrian regime against Sunni groups is a clear testimony to that.

A Sunni-Shiite war is raging on in Syria, with Shiite militias saying they are defending Shiite shrines. The difference between Shiite and Sunni fighters in Syria, however, is that the former are unified, while the latter are split and sometimes fighting each other.

While Sunni groups and parties in the region fiercely conspire against and kill each other, the Shiite coalition is rubbing its hands in glee and gaining more clout.

Sunnis are shooting themselves in the foot and complaining about others plotting against them, the writer concluded.

Arabs discover myth of secular Turkish

The Egyptian government has recently warned the Turkish authorities against hosting a Muslim Brotherhood convention in Istanbul, saying that if it takes place it would be part of a long Turkish campaign against the unseating of the Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, in July, Dr Sayed Ould Bah, A Mauritanian scholar, wrote in yesterday’s edition of the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper Al Ittihad.

Arabs are starting to realise that the Turkish model, which has been promoted by the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) as entirely secular, has turned out to be deeply rooted in the ideology of political Islam, the writer said.

“Turkey’s hardline stance against the revolution that undermined the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood [in Egypt] has generated astonishment, given that the AKP is not classified among ‘political Islam’ parties, as it always carried itself as ‘conservative liberals’ in tune with the country’s constitutional and political structure, which hinges on secularism,” he wrote.

In fact, the AKP has always been motivated by its Islamist ideology, but the Arabs are only recently coming to this realisation, the writer suggested.

“The wide-ranging rapprochement in Arab-Turkish relations over the past decade, which saw Turkey’s extraordinary rise to prominence, was not supplemented by a research effort to understand the real background of the current Turkish experience.”

Israel rejoices at war in its neighbourhood

A rational person does not like to see his neighbour’s house go up in flames. Likewise, a rational state would not be eager to see armed conflict in its neighbourhood. That is because nations know that troubles nearby will eventually affect them, wrote Mohamed Al Azzar, a Palestinian academic, in the Dubai-based newspaper Al Bayan yesterday.

Israel, however, is an exception, he argued. We have become used to Israel “rubbing its hands” in anticipation of an imminent conflict. “For the past two months and until this hour, it has not become tired of pestering the United States, in public and in secret, to expedite war on Syria … reminding whoever is willing to remember the role it has played in stoking the war in Iraq 10 years ago.”

Add that to its ongoing mission to drag the entire West to war against Iran, he added.

“In essence, Israel has been created to play the role of disturber in the Arab world, whether in its own name or by proxy for its western creators and sponsors,” Al Azzar wrote.

No wonder that Israel has been showing signs of depression lately over the prospect of thawing ice between Washington and Tehran, he said.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk

translation@thenational.ae