Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

From Taha Yassin to Jabr Solagh | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Iraqi interior minister, Jabr Solagh”s statement may have justifications for the insults of the Saudi foreign minister, described as a &#34bedouin on a camel.&#34 What is clear is that his comments had revealed an aspect of the Iraqi minister”s character whose tranquil manner in critical situations has distinguished him in the past. Furthermore, what is amazing is the comparison between Solagh”s statement and that of Taha Yasin Al-Jazrawi, Saddam Hussein”s deputy, who had criticized Saud Al-Faisal three years ago in the same way. Both statements, however, resemble the words of one Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

We are shocked to hear such disgraceful words from a man who once claimed to be the representative of a respectable regime unlike the former Iraqi one. Perhaps the minister”s comments were a slip of the tongue caused by the stress of Iraq”s instability or his new experiences in government. One of the minister”s acquaintances sought to justify Solagh”s comments saying that he is enduring difficult circumstances, the last of which was the capturing of his brother. This is in addition to the escalation of violent attacks and the constant criticism to which he is subjected from his rivals.

On top of these pressures is the fact that many regard Solagh as a supporter of factionalism, which casts doubts upon his position in government, as the deadline for the referendum on Iraqi constitution and the elections approach.

Despite these reasons, a minister should not use such words. His comments were disrespectful to himself as well as to his government as he could have expressed such criticism in a way that respects himself as a minister, his government and his great country, Iraq. So why did he do this? Some believe that there were some Iranian insinuations involved but Iran, which is strong enough to defend itself, has never been involved in delivering such curses.

The Saudi minister”s statement was not an attack on the government of Jaafari but rather reflected a rising fear of Iranian expansion. It remains the right of Iraq”s neighboring countries to express their concern just as Iraq protests against the Syrian lenience concerning terrorism. Saudi Arabia too is entitled to share the same fear of Iranian infiltration into Iraq.

I do not comprehend what the Iraqi interior minister considers to be in his country”s interests; however, what I am sure of is that Iraq”s opportunity for peace and stability is through balance. Solagh, though he is only one member of the government, plays a crucial role in Iraq”s future, as he is minister of interior and not merely minister of transportation. Solagh is a prominent figure who needs to consolidate the relationships between Iraq and its neighbors, push them to cooperate with his government and not to work against it.

Solagh in his outburst paradoxically offended the very countries that stood by him in his fight against terrorists and the countries that would have assisted in the stabilizing of Iraq”s angry Sunnis. Solagh”s comments did nothing but please the enemies of Iraq who had long been seeking to convince Saudi Arabia to work against Iraq. Furthermore, we should point out to the Iraqi minister that to be described as a Bedouin in the Arab peninsula is something to be proud of rather than an insult.

Saud Al-Faisal, who graduated from Princeton University, is the son of someone who rode in cars long before Solagh”s father ever did. Solagh”s &#34criticism&#34 of riding on a camel would not offend the Saudi foreign minister, but what may agitate him is Solagh”s attempt to provoke conflict at a time when he needs to be supported by allies and not surrounded by enemies. Whatever is said or done, we wish the Iraqi interior minister the best in such severe circumstances of terrorism and conflict with which he is faced.