x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Roving mayhem is the main instrument of political interaction in Iraq

Both the government and the opposition – and foreign players – are benefiting from the violence in Iraq, an Arabic-language columnist says. Other Digest topics: Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia

Figures show that more than 1,000 Iraqis were killed last week due to an average of 15 explosive attacks per day.

Attacks are arbitrary and scattered throughout the country. Many of these assaults don’t have specific targets.

Their main objective is to kill anyone and anywhere as far as the killers’ hands can reach, observed Abdullah Iskandar the managing editor of the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

“Deficit and loss of political will at the level of government and political players combine in a way that turns the roving massacres into some sort of inevitable fate,” the writer said.

Condemnations, security plans and attempts to resolve the political crisis have not done much in the way of limiting the number of bloody incidents.

It is as if prime minister Nouri Al Maliki’s government has a vested interest in keeping the security situation unchanged, the writer said.

For the government, it is a convenient excuse to continue to accuse the nation’s opposition groups of promoting chaos and providing a host environment for terrorism.

Opposition forces also seem to be deriving some gain from the persisting havoc.

It allows them to focus their campaign against Mr Al Maliki, accusing him of failure and incapacity in the face of terrorism.

In both cases, all parties to the continuing conflicts in Iraq are aware of the severe sectarian aspect that governs the country’s political life.

Mr Al Maliki and his allies are convinced that the turmoil was exported from the surrounding Sunni regions with the aim of destroying the country’s Shiite component as it continues to advance throughout the various levels of government.

The opposition parties, for their part, promote the counter-theory that claims that terrorism in Iraq is fuelled by Iran, the primary sponsor of Iraqi Shiites, in the aim of wiping out the country’s Sunni population.

“Both theories have become the backbone of political action in Iraq, which brings national dialogue to a standstill,” the writer added.

Iraq is surely affected by events surrounding it, in Syria from the west and Iran from the east. The country isn’t immune to the flames of sectarian radicalism that developments in both neighbouring countries incite.

Since its invasion by the United States, Iraq has been transformed into a battlefield for regional conflicts.

Iran, Turkey and the Gulf states use it as a theatre for exchanging messages, the writer suggested.

However, all these reasons and factors wouldn’t be as efficient as they are without a political climate conducive to confrontation and a fertile soil for dissent internally, he concluded.

Egypt’s Brotherhood reject peace efforts

The Egyptian leadership has expressed a genuine desire to achieve national reconciliation with the various political components of the Egyptian social fabric, including former Brotherhood members, as long as they acknowledge the June 30 revolution as a starting point for agreement, read an editorial on Thursday in the Dubai-based daily Al Bayan.

But the banned Brotherhood responded with intransigence that only proves its long-harboured intentions to control Egypt to serve the interests of their international organisation.

The Brotherhood’s general secretary, Mahmoud Hussein, referred to the presidential establishment’s call to former group members for talks as “suspicious”.

Meanwhile, security forces were able to uncover early plots by the ousted group to invade Tahrir Square in Cairo and disrupt the national celebrations planned for October 6.

Observers believe that the organisation is trying to recreate chaos in the country in defiance of the ruling military establishment to send a message to the world that the situation in Egypt is volatile.

For his part, Abdel Fattah El Sissi, the minister of defence, called for a speedy transition to guarantee a return to stability. He has shown great responsibility in warning the armed forces against any attempts to transform political differences into religious conflicts, theeditorial said.

Saudi silence at the UN speaks volumes

The United Nations doesn’t live up to its name anymore. It is feeble as it has turned a blind eye to the continuing massacre in Syria under the obstinate sponsorship of major powers, wrote the columnist Rajeh Al Khoury in the Lebanese daily Annahar.

“It was the foolishness of the Russian and Chinese that added to the blatant American apathy, which gave rise to an attractive climate for the extremists that the ‘massacre keeper’ Sergei Lavrov refers to as mentally unstable,” the writer said.

In response, Saudi Arabia opted to remain silent and surprised the world by cancelling its scheduled address at the UN General Assembly, which reflected of its disappointment at the international community’s failure to deal with one of the world’s most pressing issues.

Saudi Arabia was clearly unsatisfied with the investigation committee’s report on the chemical-weapons massacres in Syria which, under pressure from Russia, didn’t assign responsibility for the use of the banned weapons.

“Failing to hold the Syrian regime accountable for its crime shamelessly defies the objectives and the values upon which the UN was founded,” Al Khoury added.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk