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Political Headbutting! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In his latest interview, the Qatari Foreign Minister exhibited his political headbutting skills, reminiscent of Zinnedine Zidane.

The minister advised Arab countries, which have clearly stated their position on the ongoing war in Lebanon, and described them as traitors, without naming them, even if the interviewer didn’t fail to do so.

I will not discuss Saudi Arabia or Jordan this time around, but I will tackle Egypt. When I say head butting, I do not intend this as a personal attack. However, how are we to believe the minister’s words, especially when we take into account the history of the Egyptian-Israeli conflict, episodes that some of us have criticized and one where Egypt waged wars for the sake of the Arab world.

Egypt lost what it did and returned to peace through the doors of the October war, which was not carried out by a militia or small states, but was the result of a common Arab endeavor, spearheaded by Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Egypt has experience war and peace! Am I defending President Hosni Mubarak? I can make out a list of criticisms of Mubarak, but history will show that he never gambled with his country’s interests and its strategic security. He protected it from many potential misadventures; it appears this does not please his Excellency!

As for the minister’s discussion of the need to examine the roots of terrorism and who has ideologically nurtured terrorists and released them, I totally agree with him.

We have to know who in the media embraced them and who protected Khaled Sheikh Mohammed in a farmhouse, which minister currently under house arrest used to give forged identity cards, and who gave the Moroccan terrorist Youssef al Hayari a passport?

The minister’s admission that an Israeli trade office is open in Qatar, his emphasis on the necessity of Arab- Israeli relations and his claim that Qatar’s relationship with Israel benefits the Arab world, all this is the language of someone who has been caught in flagrante delicto; he transformed the shock of being exposed into a “courageous” admission!

The truth is, no one is capable of punishing Qatar, but it is important these stances are recorded, because the minister’s channel has never reported Qatar’s views or the covered the pilots leaving Doha and transporting smart bombs.

The minister’s admission is important because the day will come when the victims of Qana will find out who is trading with their blood and who truly feels their plight, as the people of Iraq have discovered today. Qana, whose cries will linger in our conscience, will be repeated, unfortunately, as long as politics in the Arab world is scoring points instead of working to protect civilians.

Dear minister, if we showed any sympathy to Zidane’s head butting incident, it was because heated exchanges are part of the sport, but we reject political head-butting, because politics is rational. We have to always remember that in politics and popular frenzy not everyone who headbutts wins and not every one who advises succeeds!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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