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The direction of the political compass in the Arab world has changed completely. This is the clear reality that is experienced on a daily basis by the people of the region and for which they pay a price. If that is not the case, how does one explain that the “enemy” in Palestine is now “another” Palestinian, one who holds a different political opinion? How can one explain the fact that the Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora has become the number one enemy for the Islamic resistance, represented by Hezbollah and its followers? How else does one explain Saudi’s new position at the center of all negative implications for Qatar and its satellite channel whilst it openly welcomes, with a smile, the Israeli leader Shimon Peres (the godfather of the first Qana massacre) to Doha? How has Libya’s satisfaction and favorable regard of Chad, Congo and Burkina Faso become more important than the rest of the Arabs? How did the capital of the “Arabs”, namely Damascus become Iran’s prime ally? Is this a state of confused priorities or new and changing convictions? This question is yet to be answered; however, this region with all its chaotic events will not wait much longer for an answer.

The Sunnis and the Arabs need to make a painful but crucial decision vis-à-vis strategic and dangerous “movement” on the Iraqi scene. The decision is between “movement” based on sectarianism or ethnicity. If it is based upon the former, and upon attempting to create a balance with the Shia activity that is backed by the Iranian infatuation, there will be no other choice but to open the door to cooperation with Turkey and to benefit from its Sunni magnitude and sound relations with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt as well as its expansion in the Central Asian countries, a large part of which are of Turkish ethnicity, yet it shares its borders with Iran. Such “movement” requires overlooking the issue of “Arabism” and introducing the Kurds into the equation and this will be no easy challenge owing to mistrust between Kurds and Turks. If the issue remains in perspective of a conflict between Arabs and Persians, then the game must be based on including rational Shia Arabs, specifically Iraqis, who do not follow the Iranian “wave”. There are rising Shia voices in Lebanon and Iraq that demonstrate that there is a widening gap between the Shia of Iran and the rest of the Shia, a factor that should be used positively.

The accounts of the Iranian revolution in the region until today have been disgraceful. Iran contributed to enflaming riots and attempts of terrorism in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as well as fueling dissension in Palestine, Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. Furthermore, it occupies territory belonging to the UAE and has caused disorder during the holy month of the pilgrimage. Therefore, Arabs have the right to feel the minimal amount of concern and suspicion regarding the shameful Iranian record and those in charge of it.

However, the question that surfaces once again is who changed the direction of the compass? Who reshuffled the cards? Who mixed religious matters with political ones and who swapped enemies for friends? The answers to these questions are shameful and painful but these questions must be answered. The Arabs invented the compass and today, the political directions of the compass point towards their destruction and dispersion.

2007 is still at its initial stages. As we watch these events take place, one can do nothing but pray that God shows us the right path and allows us to follow it.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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