Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

More wolves | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Many observers today have neglected to become preoccupied with the details, with regards to the affected areas in our region. This is normal in such circumstances, but the reality necessitates that we do not underestimate the importance of looking at the bigger picture.

The scene today is as follows: post-Saddam Iraq has yet to recover, and is yet to be the master of its own decisions. The winds of revolution are still rocking Egypt, and it is becoming increasingly immersed in its internal affairs. Tunisia has also begun to feel its way through a new era, whilst Libya is embroiled in a genuine war with its people. Bahrain continues to exercise patience, whilst members of its population are demanding everything, or seeking to lead the country into the unknown. Meanwhile, Sudan is divided, and as for Yemen, this country is a candidate for an unprecedented explosion in the near future. And here the story begins…

Whoever has been following the movements of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) recently would have noticed that a new spirit has emerged. The GCC has collectively sensed a danger that is becoming clear, and this matter is not only reflected in the moves of Saudi Arabia or the UAE, but the entire GCC has now begun to speak in one voice. It is clear that the Council’s member states now see the big picture. Today, no one stands as tall as the skyscraper of Saudi Arabia in our region, and the countries surrounding it comprising the GCC. The counterpart “skyscraper” is Iran, on the shores of the Gulf. However, it seems there are more snipers in that tower, looking down upon our region. This is what the current picture looks like like for those who would like to imagine it.

As I said, Iraq is still out of the equation, and Egypt has become self-immersed. Libya is busy torturing its own people, and there are those who are seeking to preoccupy or distract Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, as is the case in Bahrain. Whatever has been said about the legitimacy of some protestors’ demands, here we see the Sultanate of Oman for example, overcoming its difficulties without fueling unrest or destabilizing civil peace. When the demonstrators demanded a reformative step, the Sultan responded with further steps, in a manner opposite to the situation with the Bahraini opposition! As for those following and contemplating what is happening in Yemen, they can only be concerned. If matters escalate, God forbid, it will be Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States in the middle of this alarming rubble.

This vision is a bleak one, but it is also realistic. It doesn’t require panic in as much as it requires immediate action, and a re-arranging of our affairs at all levels.

Egypt is concerned that it is unable to count on Syria, for example, in light of its stances and alliances, and limited positive role in the region. Thus, what is required today is a comprehensive review of all political, security, media, and economic issues, and a reordering of priorities to deal with this new Arab situation, which will be longstanding, having resulted from so many issues. The first steps to take are as follows: order must be restored to the internal situations in all GCC countries without exception, including Saudi Arabia, and there is an urgent need to diffuse the crisis in Yemen, and to convince all parties of the need for early elections there. No one seems wary of an outbreak of violence in Yemen, but the danger of such violence would apply to all of us. It is suffice it to recall the confrontations that took place last year with the Huthis on the Saudi border. There is a fear that terrorism could return with the increase of sectarian tensions, or the outbreak of violence in Yemen, God forbid.

To summarize: caution is required, for there are many wolves circling around us, but they are wearing sheep’s clothing!