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“The planes were flying in the dark with no lights on”! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A clip of a television interview with the Sudanese Defense Minister is currently being circulated, in which he comments on the Israeli bombing of the Yarmouk weapons factory. During the interview, when asked why his radar systems did not deal with the Israeli assault, Major General Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein said “what can we do…the planes were flying in the dark with no lights on”!

Here I would like to pause for a moment. I am not singling out the Sudanese Defense Minister, nor am I seeking to respond to those who criticized my article last week, entitled “Sudan: Absurdity or confrontation!”, this is merely an attempt to confirm a solitary fact, namely that the bulk of our regions ills come down to adventurism. For example, after the 2006 war in Lebanon, did Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah party, not say that if he knew the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers would lead to the war then he would not have done it?

This is the same logic that the Sudanese Defense Minister is speaking of now, who contends that the reason for his defense forces’ failure to respond to an Israeli attack is that the Israeli aircraft were “flying in the dark with no lights on”! If Sudanese defense systems cannot deal with planes with their lights out, then it is in their best interests to abandon weapons factories altogether, along with any links with Iran on their territory. This is not all, for here we must recall the statement of another Sudanese official who said that his country had become a frontline state after the Israeli assault. Yet I do not know how Sudan could live up to such a title if it cannot handle a plane turning off its lights!

It is wrong to laugh at misfortune, but the Defense Minister’s statement is a continuation of the policies that have wasted the region, its resources, and above all that the most precious thing, the lives of its people.

The story does not stop with the statements of the Sudanese Defense Minister or Hassan Nasrallah. We could also cite [Muhammad Saeed] al-Sahhaf on that famous day when American troops were attacking Baghdad by land, sea and air, and as an American tank was parked close by him, when he told reporters: “Look, we have surrounded the infidels”. We could even mention the Bashar al-Assad regime, which has never tired of repeating the mantra of resistance and opposition, even though its forces have ended up fighting the Syrian people instead of the Israelis. Finally, we would have to mention [Mohamed Hassanein] Heikal’s headlines, which, during in the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser, used to read that Israeli planes were dropping like flies… There are many examples and you would need a book to list them all. We are not dealing with an unusual story, or an anomaly, rather it this a systematic defect at all levels. Even today when you talk about the Arab Spring, democracy and reform, the story of the Muslim Brotherhood immediately comes to mind.

Thus, the intention here is not to advocate peace with Israel, but to say that war has certain requirements, as does peace, and both are difficult. Those who want a war should build states capable of fighting it even if Israeli planes turn their lights out, and those who want peace must also prepare because Israel, unfortunately, surpasses us in economic, educational and technological terms. Here we must remember the words of Hassan Nasrallah in an interview with Al Mayadeen television channel, when he said that Israel had open targets, such as factories and power plants, whilst electricity was sporadic in Lebanon anyway therefore it had nothing to lose! Is there anything more shameful than Nasrallah’s words here?

Please wake up and look at yourselves, even if the lights are turned off!

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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