MIDEAST MIRROR 02.07.15, SECTION B (THE ARAB WORLD)
1- Into the vortex
2-Treating the ISIS headache
1- Into the vortex
Egypt today, and until further notice, is paying the price of giving priority to the policies of exclusion and mutual violence pursued by the regime and the Brotherhood, and of the absence of channels of communication, dialogue, accord, and containment. The regime has also failed to pave the way for an inclusive process of political accord that brings the country out of its difficulties; and the Brotherhood has not carried out the required review after the collapse of its experiment in ruling the country. Instead, it has continued to live in a state of denial in dealing with all the developments that followed upon Mursi's removal from the presidency. And it did not refrain from extending a hand of cooperation to self-proclaimed terrorist jihadi groups, until it began to apparently slide into the vortex of killing and violence itself--'Urayb ar-Rintawi in Jordanian ad-Dustour
The first and definite precondition for reopening the doors to dialogue is for everyone – the regime, the parties, and the various currents – to promise to listen and debate, instead of repeating the same old mantras that accuse others of treason, apostasy, deception, and violence. For as long as there are those who claim sole access to absolute truths, or the right to accuse others of apostasy or exclude them, more mines will be sown in the state's body, and more crossing points will be opened for ISIS's infiltration into the country. The biggest such crossing point is the conflict between the state and the Brotherhood. Everyone's neck is on the line under the sword of violence. But in order to overcome the shock of Sinai and the project to commit collective Arab suicide, is it enough to curse the conspiracy then simply sit back and watch it unfold?--Zuhair Qussaibati in pan-Arab al-Hayat
Egypt now is like a huge and heavy truck that is rushing towards a deep abyss of bloody violence, and whose driver is slowly but surely losing control over its brakes and can only scream for help; but no one is answering. What Egypt needs to emerge from its crises are not the Gulf's monies, or Russian and U.S. weapons, or war on the Brotherhood and terrorism. What it needs is the 'third option' that may offer sole remedy that mends the national fabric and achieves national reconciliation, ending the current and future bloodshed, renewing the Egyptian national project, and reviving the country's correct fighting doctrine. For the Egyptians are good people known for their forgiving character in the interest of their country, its security, and its stability. Only one side can produce this 'third option,' namely, the Egyptian army--'Abdelbari 'Atwan in pan-Arab www.raialyoum.com
Coming in the wake of the assassination of the Egyptian public prosecutor, yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) attacks on Egyptian army posts in Sinai have placed the country and the region at a critical crossroads, maintains a leading Jordanian commentator. Egypt’s only hope is for reconciliation between the regime and the Brotherhood; but there are no signs that either party is willing to tone down its belligerence towards the other. Yesterday's attacks are a result of the major conflict between the state and the Muslim Brotherhood, even if the Brotherhood is not implicated in the violent attacks, warns an Arab commentator. The only way of preventing the situation from deteriorating further is to seek national reconciliation and refrain from claiming the right to exclude others from the public sphere. Yesterday’s Sinai attacks are reminiscent of ISIS's attacks in Iraq and Syria last year, maintains the editor-in-chief of an online pan-Arab daily. But it would be a mistake for the Egyptian state to react by speeding up the execution of Muslim Brotherhood leaders since that would only push the country into a bloody abyss. The solution lies with the Egyptian army.
END OF THE THREAD: "The applause and shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' from prisoners belonging to the [jihadist] ‘Peninsula Lions’ organization in a Kuwaiti prisons were sufficient to reveal the end of the thread that led to the dismantlement of the terrorist cell responsible for bombing the [Shiite] Imam as-Sadiq Mosque in the Kuwaiti capital," writes 'Urayb ar-Rintawi in Thursday's Jordanian daily ad-Dustour.
The manifestations of gloating, satisfaction, and delight that distinguished the reactions of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt in response to the 'qualitative' terrorist attack that killed public prosecutor Hisham Barakat were sufficient to create a general impression that the Brotherhood was connected to this crime in one way or another. They fortified the suspicion in many minds that the Brotherhood is implicated in the violence and terrorism that is striking at Egypt, from its desert to its Nile Valley.
In his speech at the funeral of the assassinated public prosecutor, President Sissi pointed the finger directly at 'those [Muslim Brotherhood leaders] who issued the orders to kill from their prisons.' He threatened and promised to give the security forces a free hand in seeking revenge and achieving deterrence.
Egypt seems to have entered a phase of an open war, one in which torrents of blood will be spilt. Egypt after that crime is not what it was before, as many analysts and observers agree. Egypt is on the verge of a harsh decade that may resemble that decade that struck Algeria [after 1991]. Egypt is already preparing to cross the threshold of the 'Algerian scenario'; it may have crossed it already in fact. For while eyes were turned to the 'professional' crime that took away the life of the Egyptian prosecutor, Sinai was the arena for a bloody battle that killed and wounded tens of soldiers, civilians, and terrorists – terrorists who, every time we think they have been weakened, surprise us by their ability to commit more crimes.
We still do not know how the Egyptian state agencies will implement President Sissi's statements and his hints regarding 'shackled hands,' 'fettered laws,' and 'the infliction of just and deterrent punishment,' or his reference to 'those who issued the orders from their prisons.' Will the authorities carry out the death sentences against the Brotherhood leaders? Former Muslim Brotherhood general guide Mohammad Habib was clearly extremely pessimistic in his assessment of the consequences of the terrorist attack on the public prosecutor for the Brotherhood. Will Cairo erect the gallows from which tens of death sentences will be carried out, from the president to the General Guide, to other senior Brotherhood officials? Will the regime declare a state of emergency and freeze the remaining phases of 'the roadmap to the future,' specifically the parliamentary elections that have been promised before the end of this year?
These questions dominate the minds of those who observe the development of the Egyptian domestic scene with concern. This is a scene characterized by the faltering political process, the diminishing chances for national reconciliation, the spread of terrorism and its proliferation across the entire country, the growing currents of extremism and fanaticism inside the Brotherhood which is now under the control of its most extreme main figures, and by the regime's failure to restore security and stability and to place the country on track towards national accord, reform, and modernization two years after the [2013 anti-Mursi] June Revolution.
Egypt today, and until further notice, is paying the price of giving priority to the policies of exclusion and mutual violence pursued by the regime and the Brotherhood, and of the absence of channels of communication, dialogue, accord, and containment. The regime has also failed to pave the way for an inclusive process of political accord that brings the country out of its difficulties; and the Brotherhood has not carried out the required review after the collapse of its experiment in ruling the country. Instead, it has continued to live in a state of denial in dealing with all the developments that followed upon Mursi's removal from the presidency. And it did not refrain from extending a hand of cooperation to self-proclaimed terrorist jihadi groups, until it began to apparently slide into the vortex of killing and violence itself.
The developments that Egypt is witnessing will be disastrous for all parties. The regime will not achieve calm and development without an all-inclusive political process that proceeds hand-in-hand with anti-terrorism measures. And the Brotherhood will suffer backbreaking blows in comparison to which the events of Rabi'a Square [police repression] and the  'coup against their legitimacy' will seem like a short picnic. Most likely, having suffered a real haemorrhage via imprisonment, killing, forced displacement, resignations, and splits, the Brotherhood will witness more of the same, but at a greater pace and a further extent than expected. This is inevitable especially if the investigations reveal some direct or indirect link to connect the Brotherhood to Barakat’s assassination.
And the pressing and explosive domestic situation in Egypt will have a direct impact on the country's regional role and foreign policies. We are likely to witness a shrinkage in this role and an erosion of these policies. Experience has taught us that states that are not stable at home cannot play any significant foreign role, even if they are of Egypt's size and stature.
Just look at the erosion of what used to be an active Algerian diplomacy after its black decade and at the shrinkage in what used to be an active Kuwaiti diplomacy after the  Iraqi invasion. Some Arab arenas riddled with crises will lose an Egyptian role that could have saved them after the management of these crises has been monopolized by small and marginal states armed to the teeth with the desire for revenge and confessional agendas.
"Egypt is at a critical crossroads, and so is the region," concludes Rintawi.
VARIATIONS ON A THEME: "The massacre committed by ISIS in Sinai yesterday recalls what had happened in Iraq’s Anbar Province," writes Zuhair Qussaibati in Thursday's Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily al-Hayat.
But all the massacres that this organization has been perpetrating seem more like variations on a theme whose main aim is one and the same: Undermining the Arab states, destroying their social fabric, and leading them towards endless massacres and total destruction.
There is no point repeating the old/new questions here: Who is ISIS? Who planted it? Who trained it and armed it to pounce on the Arab armies and states they choose according to their timetable? While it is likely that the source of the bombs and rockets used by ISIS in Sinai is Libya, where anarchy and chaos rule supreme, it would be terrifying if the massacre were to repeated – one that Egypt, its army, and its people are paying the price for, darkening the country's horizon and rendering the task of restoring stability to that country a difficult mission.
Egypt is not Iraq, where sectarian share-distribution has booby-trapped the project to rebuild the state. And Egypt is not Yemen, where the infiltration of Iranian fingers enticed the Houthis into risky adventures that were then exploited by a deposed president [Saleh] who continues to deceive everyone in revenge for being forced to step down from his throne.
But a question must be raised concerning ISIS's ability to infiltrate into Egypt. This is manifest in the bombings and assassinations the most recent of which targeted public prosecutor Hisham Barakat. And there is also the worsening conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood; a conflict that the regime insists on addressing via security solutions alone, while the Brotherhood does not publicly denounce violence, even though what the terrorist organizations have done may have nothing to do with it all.
It is well known that there is a Brotherhood current that insists on fanning the flames of the conflict on the street and on confronting the state and all its symbols in response to its resort to a security solution and the severe judicial sentences passed against Brotherhood leaders. On the other hand, it is also clear that President 'Abdelfattah as-Sissi's call for speeding up the implementation of these sentences (which include death sentences) is unlikely to calm down the conflict. In fact, from that call's gateway and windows, the winds of violence will sweep into Egypt to inflict even greater harm on the state and its ability to stand its ground in the face of trans-border terrorism.
Once again, on Sinai's sands, in al-Giza, and in the October 6th neighborhood, the black lines of a conspiracy are taking shape, one that we can speculate about but whose chapters we cannot predict. One year has passed since ISIS established its state in Mosul. During that time, it has expanded, reshuffled all the cards, and struck left and right, from Iraq to the Gulf to Tunisia. And on a black Wednesday, it shook Egypt.
There are no sectarian or confessional fanaticisms in Egypt. For this reason, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi's organization [ISIS] accuses the largest Arab army of 'apostasy,' an army that was supposed to be the vanguard of the 'joint Arab force' to confront the terrorism of the failed states in the region.
Tens of people fell victim on Black Wednesday, mown down by ISIS's bullets and shells. But while it was not strange to see some parties or currents in Egypt holding the regime and the failure of its security solution responsible for ISIS's infiltration and its defiance of the Egyptian army, it is also true that all political parties and forces are responsible for failing to formulate a project for national reconciliation.
Only such a project, which will not push any party to wager on bringing the state to its knees by means of violence – even if it does not engage in such violence itself – can correct the path of the security solution, ensuring that it does not turn into a war of attrition that will haemorrhage Egypt and its army, and into a daily bloody confrontation meant to bring the country down to its knees via al-Baghdadi's shells and rockets.
But the first and definite precondition for reopening the doors to dialogue is for everyone – the regime, the parties, and the various currents – to promise to listen and debate, instead of repeating the same old mantras that accuse others of treason, apostasy, deception, and violence. For as long as there are those who claim sole access to absolute truths, or the right to accuse others of apostasy or exclude them, more mines will be sown in the state's body, and more crossing points will be opened for ISIS's infiltration into the country.
"The biggest such crossing point is the conflict between the state and the Brotherhood. Everyone's neck is on the line under the sword of violence. But in order to overcome the shock of Sinai and the project to commit collective Arab suicide, is it enough to curse the conspiracy then simply sit back and watch it unfold?" asks Qussaibati in conclusion.
ANOTHER ANBAR: "When bombings reach the heart of Cairo; when car bombs target the public prosecutor Hisham Barakat and his convoy even though he is supposed to be the best protected man in the country; and when advanced American F-16's are used to bomb armed cells of the ISIS 'Sinai province' after attacks in which over seventy Egyptian solders, policemen and civilians as well as over 38 Islamist armed elements were killed – when all this happens, this means that Cairo is gradually turning into another 'Aleppo', and Sinai where the battles are raging is turning into another 'Ain al-Arab (Kobani) or even a Fallujah, if not another Anbar," writes Editor-in-Chief 'Abdelbari 'Atwan in Thursday's pan-Arab www.raialyoum.com.
It is not unlikely that we may soon, perhaps before the [end of Ramadan Muslim feast] 'Id al-Fitr, wake up at dawn to the news that the death sentences passed against [former Egyptian] president Mohammad Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood's General Guide Mohammad Badi'e, and a number of other leaders have been carried out. For the decision that has already been taken to accelerate the judicial procedures regarding the implementation of the death sentences points in this direction.
Egypt is speeding down the same path that Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya have taken before – namely, towards destruction, bloody anarchy, and perhaps partition and fragmentation. This is what the Turkish deputy-president predicted in an interview two weeks ago when he said that a new 'Sykes/Picot' was marching on the region.
On Wednesday evening, the official Egyptian Middle East News Agency confirmed that a new anti-terrorism law has been enacted. In particular, the law calls for the speeding up the appeals procedures, and President 'Abdelfattah as-Sissi is expected to sign the law in the coming few hours.
The execution of former president Mohammad Mursi would light the fuse of violence and terrorism in Egypt and lead the country into a dark and bloody tunnel. It could dispel all hopes of security and stability, both of which are necessary for bringing the Egyptian economy out of its suffocating crises.
The late Egyptian president Jamal 'Abdel Nasser fought the Muslim Brotherhood and executed some of their leaders (Sayyid Qutb, for example). But he did so within the context of a solid political and economic program and total bias in favor of the poor and destitute, and via an agricultural reform law and by destroying the feudal system. But the new Egyptian regime does not appear to have a similar and comprehensive project; all we see are wars and security solutions in every direction.
President Anwar as-Sadat did the exact opposite. He allied himself with the Muslim Brotherhood in order to strike at the left and the Arab nationalist current, as well as the jihadi political Islam groups in the 1970s and 1980's. He fought the October  War against the Israelis with the aim of liberating Sinai after a war [the 1969-1970 War of Attrition] that had exhausted the Israeli enemy. But we do not know who the allies of the ruling regime in Egypt are, even though we know who are its enemies. Sadly, Israel is not among them; or so it seems at this point at least. In short, it is difficult for us to determine the current regime's project or identity.
The greatest threat to the Egyptian regime is not the Muslim Brotherhood, whose president was toppled and is still being subjected to all forms of marginalization, exclusion, and death and life sentences. The greatest threat to the regime comes from ISIS, which now has the upper hand in the Sinai Peninsula and is expanding in all directions. It is ironic that ISIS hates the Muslim Brotherhood more than it hates the Egyptian state and deems them to be an apostate group.
On Wednesday (yesterday), ISIS stormed six Egyptian army checkpoints, killing 70 people, most of whom were soldiers. It captured a pocket in the city of Sheikh Zuweid, close to the borders with the Gaza Strip. This was an unprecedented step that reminds us of the capture of eight Iraqi and Syrian cities a year ago. At the same time, it is threatening to topple the Hamas Movement from the Gaza Strip because it 'is not implementing the shari'a and is not upholding God's law.'
The assassination of the Egyptian public prosecutor by means of a car bomb is a crime whose perpetrators deserve punishment, just as those who did not prevent it also deserve severe punishment. But passing legislation that speeds up the death sentences is an ill-considered emotional reaction that may lead to a catastrophe for Egypt because of its serious consequences. Most prominent is the possibility that the Muslim Brotherhood may openly abandon the 'peaceful' character of its protests and go underground, resorting to arms. For these executions will promote the hard-line wing in the Brotherhood at the expense of the moderate wing or what remains of it.
We cannot deny that killing the public prosecutor, who passed these 'fabricated' death sentences, represents an assassination of the state's authority and its security and political institutions – assuming that authority was in fact in place and has not been assassinated months or even years ago due to hasty emotional decisions and policies.
Egypt now is like a huge and heavy truck that is rushing towards a deep abyss of bloody violence, and whose driver is slowly but surely losing control over its brakes and can only scream for help; but no one is answering.
What Egypt needs to emerge from its crises are not the Gulf's monies, or Russian and U.S. weapons, or war on the Brotherhood and terrorism. What it needs is the 'third option' that may offer sole remedy that mends the national fabric and achieves national reconciliation, ending the current and future bloodshed, renewing the Egyptian national project, and reviving the country's correct fighting doctrine. For the Egyptians are good people known for their forgiving character in the interest of their country, its security, and its stability.
"Only one side can produce this 'third option,' namely, the Egyptian army. It was and will remain, the backbone and sole guarantor of Egypt's security, stability, and collective identity, just as it continues to have the ability bring about change," concludes 'Atwan.
2-Treating the ISIS headache
Now there are international and regional powers, acting in cooperation with local forces that are working hard to implement this project of fragmentation. They are sending our youth to their death. They are establishing death squads in a number of Arab states, financing, training, arming them, and providing them with logistical facilities. Solutions cannot be sought in vacuum. The parties that back terrorism are known to anyone with a mind to think and eyes to see. What is required is to dry up the sources of terrorism and hold those parties – states or institutions – accountable, since they are directly charged with committing war crimes against humanity--Yusif Makki in Saudi al-Watan
The near future will witness a reduction in the level of confrontation with nuclear Iran on the one hand, and a retreat in the plans of aggression against Syria, making room for a political solution, on the other. For the extremist organizations, with the vast resources at their disposal, are expanding the ambit of their attacks and marching on to new arenas... The ISIS headache will be painful to all and will push everyone to treat it in accordance with the Russian prescription [to the Gulf states]: ‘Pray that Assad remains in power.' This will be necessary if they are not to be the next target of an extremist organization that is good at only one thing – killing and being creative in doing so-- Basimah Hamad in Syrian al-Watan
Some have focused on the cultural dimensions of the global terrorism whose center of gravity is the Arab region while others have concentrated on social factors. But one important factor has not been addressed, argues a veteran Saudi commentator. This is that the international and regional states that have been fostering, financing, training, arming, and generally backing this terrorism must be stopped and held accountable, if it is to be addressed. The spread of ISIS's terrorism to new arenas including the countries that were supporting it is likely to change the nature of the conflict in the region and push for new alliances that focus on fighting the terrorist groups, argues a commentator in a pro-regime Syrian daily. It is becoming clear to everyone that President Assad is the main guarantor of their safety from the ISIS threat.
TRYING TO SOLVE THE PUZZLE: "Every time a bombing occurs, carried out by terrorist elements from ISIS and its sister organizations, commentators review and analyze," writes Yusif Makki in the Saudi daily al-Watan.
They search for means of solving the puzzle, sometimes by holding society's culture responsible, and at other times by holding social conditions, unemployment, and illiteracy as causes for the bombings and takfir.
It is not this article’s intention to belittle the importance of culture or the education curricula in shaping minds, or to deny the influence of social factors and unemployment in proliferating the signs of frustration resulting from the failure to secure basic human needs. The incident in which [street vendor] Bou 'Azizi committed suicide [in 2011] ignited the Tunisian Revolution and the general course of history prove that the most violent of revolutions are those staged by the poor.
But our concern here is with something else – namely, the terrorism that has spread across the globe and whose center of gravity has become our Arab world. For this terrorism, in its current form, is no longer a matter of car bombs or explosive belts. It now has armies and institutions, as well as areas that it occupies and in which it manages everything. Its actions have caused the collapse of national entities. And it is no secret that it is backed by certain international and regional powers.
Terrorism works in different climates and conditions, which renders the reasons behind its proliferation complex, and difficult to be reduced to a single cause. In Tunisia for example, a secular regime dominated the country for more than half-a-century. That regime began with Tunisia's independence and continued until the so-called Arab Spring broke out in late 2010. In fact, Tunisia is the only country in which the process of peaceful political transition towards a democratic regime has succeeded. Despite this, Tunisian youth have been the most widely implicated in terrorist activities in the region!
Tunisian extremists now fight in Syria, Libya, and Iraq, and are threatening Tunisia's own security and stability. Moreover, Tunisia is not one of the poorest African countries. Its educational curricula and its media policies have never encouraged extremist ideas. Its people were not extreme in their struggle against French colonialism. Yet this has not prevented a large number of its youths from taking part in extremist actions and terrorism.
Differing social environments are also clear if we consider Syria, Iraq, and Libya – all of which lived in the shadow of revolutionary regimes for more than five decades in the case of Syria and Iraq and four decades in Libya's case – and compare them to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states that have enjoyed enviable political stability. Still, that did not prevent terrorist activities; nor did it prevent their youth from taking part in extremist acts and terrorism on a large scale. In fact, it is difficult to find any difference between the Gulf states and Syria, Iraq, or Libya as far as the participation of their youths in such activities is concerned.
The terrorist attacks this week corroborate this reading of the situation. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS committed the second largest massacre in Syria during an attack it waged on the town of Kobani ['Ain al-Arab] at the Turkish borders, and in the nearby village of Barkh Botan, killing 146 civilians in the process. At the same time, the UN has noted a separate ISIS attack on the areas under the Syrian government's control in al-Hasaka in northeastern Syria, forcing around 60-thousand people to flee their homes. The UN has warned that this number may reach 200-thousand people in the coming days.
In Tunisia, where peaceful democratic transition occurred, the attack was in Sousse Province on the Mediterranean coast. It was carried out by a terrorist carrying a Kalashnikov rifle who killed 39 people, including foreign tourists.
And there is no need to mention Yemen – and God knows what Yemen is like – where the bloody conflict there has changed from its characteristic tribal form into a detestable sectarian [Sunni/Shiite] form, adding a new, harsher, and more bitter chapter to the Yemenis' suffering.
Here, in the Arab Gulf, Kuwait witnessed a terrorist crime for the first time in its modern history. The Imam as-Sadiq Mosque was targeted in the same manner in that the Imam Ali Mosque was targeted in the [Saudi] town of al-Qadih in al-Qutaif, and in which Imam Hussein in al-'Anoud neighborhood in ad-Dammas was targeted. More than 30 people fell victim to the attack, all of whom we hope have risen to heaven.
What we are claiming here is that all attempts that have been made to solve the puzzle of terrorism have ignored one important factor. This is that all these organizations were formed and prepared to pursue the aim of dismantling national entities and divide the region in accordance with plans that began to be publicly debated in the mid-1970s. They were reaffirmed at the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference in 1991, and intelligence reports began to openly speak of a new shape for the Middle East in which the Zionist entity would be the centerpiece.
When some tried to raise this issue and talk of these schemes, a form of intellectual terrorism was exercised against them. For the charge of believing in conspiracy theories is leveled against anyone who speaks of projects for partitioning the region. Even the open declaration of the intention to break down the region's states, and the coincidence of the publication of the Rand Corporation's report concerning the major strategy for reshaping the Middle East's via what was referred to as the 'global war on terrorism' at the time, was not sufficient to sound the alarm bells. We continued to live in the illusion that the region was being 'democratized,' which Uncle Sam was going to achieve by force of arms and direct occupation.
Now there are international and regional powers, acting in cooperation with local forces that are working hard to implement this project of fragmentation. They are sending our youth to their death. They are establishing death squads in a number of Arab states, financing, training, arming them, and providing them with logistical facilities.
Solutions cannot be sought in vacuum. The parties that back terrorism are known to anyone with a mind to think and eyes to see. What is required is to dry up the sources of terrorism and hold those parties – states or institutions – accountable, since they are directly charged with committing war crimes against humanity.
And at the Arab level, we should return to the conventions that used to govern Arab action for many long decades. Foremost among them are non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other Arab countries, the resolution of conflicts by peaceful means, and confrontation of terrorism.
"But that is a painful subject that calls for more analysis and discussion in future articles, God willing," concludes Makki.
THE MOST DANGEROUS CHALLENGE: "The latest terrorist attacks in Paris, Tunisia, and Kuwait have increased the world's worries and intensified the questions concerning the practical steps necessary to confront ISIS as the most dangerous current challenge," writes Basimah Hamad in the semi-official Syrian daily al-Watan.
In one single day, the terrorist organization succeeded in waging bloody attacks on three continents (Europe, Africa, and Asia), thereby confirming its presence and its 'trans-border global' message. But this time round, it may be that the ‘international community will not accept this ‘three-dimensional’ blow passively.
Together with many regional and Western governments, Washington has long continued to 'spin around itself' in response to this proliferating jihadi phenomenon, confining itself to counting and documenting, without offering any radical and serious solutions to destroy it. But after the suicide bombing in the Imam as-Sadiq Mosque in Kuwait, and the Sousse hotel scene and the flight of foreign tourists from Tunisia, it may have become more convinced of the need to put an end to the political exploitation of a dangerous affliction that has spun out of control of those who created it.
The confrontation with terrorism may enter a new practical phase that goes beyond statements of denunciation, condemnation and criticism, in the shadow of a new global reality in which takfiri thought has become a destructive force that attracts more supporters around the world. For as the French president said in commenting on the attack on the gas factory [in Lyon], 'expressions of sympathy' are really 'inadequate to fend off the threats of terrorism.'
In this regard, it is not unlikely that developments and changes may emerge that could change the scene in the following manner:
- First, there will be serious efforts to limit the influence of the extremist ideologies and the discourse of hatred and sectarian and confessional incitement. As an example of such efforts, it was worth noting that the Tunisian authorities have shut down eighty mosques that operate outside the state's authority, and that the Kuwaiti authorities shut down the Wissal television station known for its sectarian [anti-Shiite] leanings.
- Second, the Washington-led coalition may now move away from the track it has been pursuing in its war on ISIS where most of its operations are for mere show, and take on a more effective course. This is because ISIS has violated the American instructions that it should confine itself to acting in the area between Syria and Iraq. It has emerged in unexpected areas such as Kuwait, one of the oil-rich countries that is an important base for U.S. interests in the Arab Gulf. (ISIS was planning to capture the oil wells in Kuwait, demolish its regime, and turn it into a launching pad for its operations against the other Arab Gulf states).
- Third, new regional alliances will emerge that will necessarily require well-studied and genuine coordination with Syria and Iraq, the two states that are the qualitative center of 'Baghdadi's Caliphate's' power. These are also the two states that have the genuine will to fight and have an exceptional experience in combating terrorism.
- Fourth, many of the regimes involved in backing terrorism are now reconsidering their foreign policies. Here, two important indications are worth noting: First, the Turkish army's refusal to go along with the government's plans to intervene in Syria militarily because of the uncertainty regarding President Assad and his allies' reaction; and, second, Saudi Arabia's readiness to accept Russia’s position that backs President Assad. For according to the famous Saudi 'tweeter' Mujtahid [Saudi Deputy Crown-Prince] Mohammad bin Salman told President Putin during his recent visit to Moscow that his country 'does not want to topple the Syrian president because he helps to prevent the empowerment of what he described as the jihadi groups.'
What is important is that all the above indicates that the near future will witness a reduction in the level of confrontation with nuclear Iran on the one hand, and a retreat in the plans of aggression against Syria, making room for a political solution, on the other. For the extremist organizations, with the vast resources at their disposal, are expanding the ambit of their attacks and marching on to new arenas. Meanwhile, they continue their recruitment and illegal smuggling into Europe, as well as stirring sectarian sedition inside the countries backing them.
"The ISIS headache will be painful to all and will push everyone to treat it in accordance with the Russian prescription [to the Gulf states]: ‘Pray that Assad remains in power.' This will be necessary if they are not to be the next target of an extremist organization that is good at only one thing – killing and being creative in doing so," concludes Hamad.
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