Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

When the Lieutenant General speaks | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In his customary clear and direct style, which has made his statements popular with the media, the Chief of the Dubai Police Force, Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, revealed the hidden concerns within the Gulf political mindset, regarding the current events in the region. In a speech at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) National and Regional Security Conference held in the Bahraini capital of Manama, Khalfan claimed that Iraq’s subordination to Iran threatens the security of the Gulf and that Iran’s nuclear program, even if peacefully orientated, is also a threat.

Khalfan also mounted a scathing attack on the Muslim Brotherhood, considering the organization to be another danger for the Gulf to confront. He said that “The US is endorsing the Muslim Brotherhood and here I will say openly that the (Brotherhood) does not wish to see our Sheikhs as rulers in the Gulf.”

Lieutenant General Khalfan also touched upon more general threats to political security, relating to a weak sense of national identity, the existence of a gap between the ruler and ruled, a bloated administrative system, the absence of transparency, and the danger of corruption.

Khalfan criticized vague US policies towards the Gulf, and the lack of clarity in the US agenda, a move which reportedly angered the US ambassador to Bahrain and prompted him to walk out of the conference. The Lieutenant General spoke about the GCC’s declining confidence in America’s role in the region, and doubts about whether this serves the GCC’s interests and security.

Khalfan was right to remark upon the inconsistent US policies in our region. We saw that with our own eyes when Iraq was handed over on a silver platter to the adherents of Iran, specifically radical Shiite parties and leaders, and first and foremost Nuri al-Maliki. We also saw inconsistencies in America’s stance with its early support for the plan to overthrow monarchical rule in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and establish an “Islamic Republic” – as [Hasan] Mushaima stated and others implied. But after the Gulf states imposed a de facto reality by intervening through the Gulf Peninsula Shield Force, in order to save Bahrain and foil Iran’s scheme, the US swallowed its pride and changed its tone. Indeed, we never heard the words “now means now”, which were issued to Mubarak in Egypt.

Yet it is important to note that others, including the US, will never appreciate our own interests unless we first appreciate and realize them, and show that we are capable of defending them.

Let us move to the Lieutenant General’s opinions of the Muslim Brotherhood, the future danger it poses to the political security of the Gulf, and how its political views vary in light of the nature of regimes and policies governing the region. Was the Lieutenant General right in his analysis or was he exaggerating? And more importantly, do the rest of the decision-makers in the Gulf agree with this classification of the Brotherhood as a danger?

Of course not. For example, Qatar is the oasis of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab World. It shelters the Brotherhood’s spiritual father, financial provider and media promoter in the Gulf, namely Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi. The Al-Jazeera satellite channel and all its subsidiaries are placed at the Brotherhood’s service, not to mention other forms of support.