x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Arab nations must unite against Muslim Brotherhood

All Arab nations need to unite against the Muslim Brotherhood, says Al Ittihad. Other views: Isil is a gift to Syria, Iraq and Iran (Al Hayat) and groups must deal with Isil before Assad (Rai Al Youm)

Though belated, the historic decision behind the officially blacklisting of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist entity was an important move in the right direction, the columnist Abdullah Al Otaibi wrote in the Abu Dhabi-based Arabic daily Al Ittihad.

Upon completion of the amendments to the Constitution, all eyes will be on Egypt’s upcoming referendum slated for January 14, after which the date of the next presidential and parliamentary elections will be set, defining this year as a turning point in Egypt’s modern history, he added.

The Egyptian government will join hands with the Ministry of Interior and the Egyptian Army to provide tight security around polling stations because the turnout is expected to be massive.

As the conflict continues between the Egyptian state and the people on the one hand and the Muslim Brotherhood on the other, Egypt strives to go forward with the road map that was proposed following the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi from power.

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood strives to disrupt this process by spreading chaos throughout the country, the writer said.

The Muslim Brotherhood has blocked all attempts to achieve consensus and holds on to an ideology based on war against Egypt and its people, disseminating terror through bombs and assassinations, and targeting security forces by way of bullets and Molotov cocktails.

“The court’s decision to dissolve the Brotherhood and classify it as a terrorist group must be echoed by all Arab countries for the group and its members to be legally tagged as criminal. Such decision should also be taken internationally,” wrote Al Otaibi.

The UAE has already taken the lead with its deep appreciation of the impending danger the Muslim Brotherhood represents for nations and people. It won its own internal battle against the group, leading to the prosecution of its members in UAE courts last year.

The UAE has also prevailed in the external battle against the Brotherhood.

“All Arab and Islamic countries should follow suit, even before ultimate confrontation of Egypt with the Brotherhood next week,” wrote Al Otaibi.

“Dealing with them as a peaceful political counterpart would be a mistake.”

The remnants of the Brotherhood in Arab countries, and specifically in the Gulf, should not be lightly considered as they represent a danger as great as the mother organisation itself. As such, “the need for laws and regulations arises for the sake of future generations”.

Eventually, no matter what degree of terror the group practices in Egypt, the Egyptian government and people have the capacity to move forward: terror does not defeat countries, nor does it defeat people.

A gift to the Syrian regime, Iran and Iraq

Known for begetting theories, promises, dreamers and revolutionaries, the Fertile Crescent is now begetting what threatens to erase all those bright examples of the region’s history and take it back to darkness, wrote Ghassan Charbel in the London-based newspaper Al Hayat.

Seeing the region falling into the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) is not a simple matter. Nor is seeing its gunmen slaying people in Al Anbar, Syria and Beirut, the writer said.

The Isil has caused a real mess. It has aroused panic among many groups and offered excuses for those who need them. It would not be a surprise if the Iraqi government sees the Isil as a timely lifeline, having been at loggerheads with Sunnis in Al Anbar province and elsewhere.

The Isil also has given Baghdad an opportunity to ask the US for weapons to fight terrorism, and offered prime minister Nouri Al Maliki a chance to repair the damage to his reputation, he added.

The damage the Isil has done to the Syrian revolution has been more devastating than the regime’s barrel bombs. The Isil has tarnished its image and brought embarrassment to those willing to provide support.

The Syrian and Iranian regimes are the most likely to see the Isil as a precious gift that allows them to get the US to choose between Syria’s current regime and an Isil-controlled Syria.

Get rid of Isil first, and then target Al Assad

A miracle has occurred at a time when miracles were believed to be impossible. Everything is possible in Syria nowadays while the bloody conflict continues to reap more victims, said Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of the online news website Rai Al Youm.

Prominent factions fighting in Syria have joined forces, but not against the regime – at least not just yet – but against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), also known in Arabic as Daesh.

It was expected that the US and its Arab allies would eventually form Syrian “awakening” forces to fight Al Qaeda and its affiliates in war-torn Syria.

The Islamic Front, the Free Syrian Army, the Mujahideen army and the Syrian Revolutionary Front have formed an alliance under the banner of the war on Isil. Hundreds have been killed or captured in the alliance’s offensive on the extremist group’s bases in Aleppo and Idlib provinces earlier this week.

“The priorities of the quest for liberation have suddenly changed. Whereas the aim was once to liberate towns and villages from the grip of the Assad regime, it has shifted to focus on purging any and all Daesh-controlled locations. In the meantime, the original quest is placed on the back burner,” the writer noted.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk