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When will they Understand? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The moment Tehran and Damascus felt that they might benefit from the decline of US-Russian relations (due to the conflict in Georgia), we saw Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rush to Moscow to cut off any possible arms deal involving Syria and Iran.

And in an example of Israel pulling out all the stops to serve its own interests, Olmert got almost all that he wished for, when Moscow stated that it would not ‘sell arms to any conflict-ridden country’ which of course is diplomatic jargon for Syria and Iran.

The question then; what about us in the Arab world? When will we stop arming ourselves more than necessary, arming ourselves with weapons that sometimes find their way into the hands of organizations which use them solely for murder, and the destruction of our countries and our rights?

In Yemen there is a black market where one can purchase a military tank, and Sudan, thanks to the growing number of Pirate operations, has become a port for every possible weapon coming and going, heavy and light, which only increases our misery, and ours is a history already filled with its fair share of misery, bloodshed and destruction.

As a result of the bloody wars in Sudan, and a death-toll of more than two million, we find this increasing arms-trade coming into the Sudan, by way of the Somali Pirates.

An increasing arms trade to fund an expanding war that brings no solution to the crises, battles, and losses that the Sudanese face whatsoever. And this is what we have learned about the arms-trade today, however the things we have yet to learn are far more numerous and dangerous, and if that weren’t the case why would the Iranian Minister of Defense be visiting Khartoum?

leaving aside the situation in the Sudan and looking closer at the historic Arab/Israeli conflict, some would say that arming ourselves against Israel is a duty, an unavoidable obligation, yet regrettably every weapon bought to fight against Israel has rebounded against the Arab world, like when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait with weaponry bought to fight Israel, not to mention Iran’s current rhetoric against Israel while at the same time it threatens the Gulf.

There are many examples of this nature, we have seen Hezbollah weapons used against the Lebanese during the May 7th coup d’état in Beirut, an event that did not occur in Tel Aviv, but in the heart of the Lebanese capital.

This same with Hamas, who still use their weapons against their own people and not the Israelis who enjoy a truce with Hamas that ordinary Palestinians can only dream of, while we’ve also seen arms used against our nations by those living in the refugee camps.

Here we must talk about the legitimacy of bearing of arms, which should be under the supervision of the state and not in the hands of any kind of organization or group, and not in the hands of the black market traders.

To conclude, there is a huge market for arms in the Middle East, as a terrifying number of weapons reside in the hands of terrorists in the Arab world who use them solely for murder and destruction; otherwise how can anyone explain the sheer number and types of arms that they can get a hold of.

Israel did everything that it could to prevent Syria and Iran from further arming themselves, when will we ourselves prevent this dangerous arms-trade in our region, which is a threat to us and not our enemies?

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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