x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Attempts to bring regional chaos to the Gulf shows need for GCC unity

Attempts to foment chaos in the Gulf, as has already occurred in the wider region, must be resisted, writes Abdulaziz Al Tueijri in Al Hayat. Other views: Syria's revolution (Michel Kilo, Asharq Al Awsat) and moderate Islam (Mohammed Khalfan Al Sawafi, Al Ittihad)

The sharp conflicts and political tensions that have emerged recently in the Arab Gulf region are, by any measure, highly alarming and must be dealt with wisely and responsibly, suggested the Saudi academic Abdulaziz Al Tueijri in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

It isn’t in the interest of any of the member states of the Gulf ­Cooperation Council to divert from the powerful bloc’s politics and strategies.

All the member states are partners in good times and bad times. Disarray would be most harmful to their joint interests, the writer opined.

Masterminds of destructive chaos have succeeded in their long-term goal to cause turmoil in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Egypt and elsewhere in trouble-prone areas.

The only phase remaining is to engage the Arab Gulf region in the same chaos. If they achieve that, the circle of devastation and division would be complete. Amid the mess that would follow, Israel and Iran would get the opportunity to rise as regional powers in which they would share power and safeguard the interests of greater powers in the area.

“It is clear from Russia’s aggressive position as it persists in supporting the criminal sectarian regime in Syrian and from the US’s unjustified laxity towards the ongoing massacres in Syria and the suspicious way the Iranian nuclear programme is being handled, in addition to the obvious maliciousness in dealing with the Palestinian issue, that something of a malevolent nature is being plotted,” the writer maintained.

“Is it wise, as matters stand, for GCC states to show political discord?”

This is the time for Gulf states to come together, stronger than ever, both as governments and as people with common interests. This is especially so because Iran is continuing to cause tension and Israel is pressing ahead with its blatant defiance of international laws.

Promoting harmony and integration between GCC states at this delicate stage is of the utmost importance. It requires that all member states rise above differences in opinion and regional political interests, and it necessitates joint efforts to advance joint objectives.

Seeing the crises in the Arab region and in the world ought to motivate Gulf nations to seek more coherence and solidarity.

Awareness and foresight are essential at this phase because international crises are spiralling out of control, making it difficult to decide the near future in this region and also in the rest of the world.

This is another reason for the GCC states to adhere to wisdom in their positions and policies.

Individual interests, however understandable, must never outweigh the strategic interests of the bloc of Arab Gulf states, the writer concluded.

The Syrian Revolution needs real leadership

Syrians are in dire need of visionary, resolute and realistic leadership to guide them out of the problems they face and towards success over the Assad regime, wrote Michel Kilo in the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat.

Such leadership should know how to benefit from international and Arab support to better serve the people and no other purpose.

The absence of a unified opposition force, with fighting between different factions, is despite the obvious need for leadership. Factors standing in the way of it happening include organisational dispersion and internal disputes and the fact that the generation that led the revolution has been largely put down by the Syrian regime. International intervention also had the effect of destabilising the opposition.

Leading an opposition is not a random task and does not befit just any leader. A leader excludes no one and co-operates with all in a context of diversity and differences. He respects the rules of consultation, the importance of collective decision-making, knows how to read the facts, understand trends and pushes in the direction of victories that are consistent with the people’s freedom and goals.

The Syrian opposition lacks a leader with such attributes.

“Most of its consecutive leaders unsurprisingly fell like a butterfly burning its wings by flying too close to the fire,” concluded Kilo. “They actually failed to be part of the revolution.”

The UAE highlights the role of moderate Islam

The Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies conference in Abu Dhabi gathered intellectuals and scholars from around the world to discuss peaceful coexistence, dignity, equality and freedom in Muslim societies and ways of dealing with cultural differences.

Mohammed Khalfan Al Sawafi, columnist at The National’s sister newspaper Al Ittihad, said the conference was welcomed by many in the Muslim and Arab world, proving the desire to improve the tarnished image of Islam and reinstate its spiritual and humane values by dissociating it from politics. Before politicians abused it as an ideology, Islam was a factor of strength in many societies.

“Extremists have exploited the media in the Arab countries, misleading the whole world into associating Islam with terrorism and extremism, both direct results of political Islam,” he wrote. “Anywhere in the world, anyone who thinks of embracing Islam fears others’ apprehension.”

Regionally, the “Arab Spring” revealed the danger of extremism that led to the destruction of communities, particularly in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.

The UAE organised the conference to show to the international community the truth about ­Islam, with peaceful coexistence and tolerance being pillars of Emirati society.

* Digest compiled by Translation Desk