Opinion Articles on Al Sharq Newspaper
مقالات الرأي في صحيفة الشرق
What is the approach of major big powers toward the recent conflict in Gaza and Israel’s continuing onslaughts against the Palestinian people. It is understandable that the West did not want to change the status quo they designed in the Middle East. However, other big powers do not see a major change there, either. For example, Russia’s president Putin said that Israel has been victim of terrific attack and has a right to self-defense against the unprecedented brutality of Hamas attack and stressed the need for a ceasefire and a two-state solution.
What is called the Middle East is the heart of the world because it connects 3 continents and 7 seas. Western ambitions in the Middle East comes from the Roman time as it re-emerged during the Crusades and amplified with the Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and the World War I. When the West left the Middle East, they planted Israel as their proxy there to keep the region divided. Therefore, the Palestine issue (al qadiya alfilistinia) continues as the main problem of peace and stability in the Middle East.
Libya as a major and critical country in the Arab Maghrib is feeling the pain because of a chronic mismanagement, internal controversies, and foreign interventions. The country is important for the peace, stability and wellbeing in the Mediterranean, the Arab world and Africa. The country lived under the one-men show of Muammer Qaddafi for about 40 years and it did not fare well during the last decade following the fall of his dictatorship in 2011. Continuous infightings, coup attempts and lack of leadership keep haunting the country today following a recent huge flooding that killed more than 10 thousand people in Darna on the east shore of the Mediterranean on September 12.
It is evident that we are currently under a period of global and regional transformations. Just as we witnessed shifts in the Arab region over the past decade, it is now observed in the strategically significant region; The Caucasus. Hence the axis is pivotal for the East, West, South, and North. Whereas the Caucasus played a decisive role in both World Wars, the First and the Second. The Turkic world, known as ancient Turkestan in Central Asia, is also significant due to its historical legacy. It stood as a gem in the Islamic world and rivaled Andalusia with its scientific, intellectual, and commercial centers. After the Mongols devastated Central Asia in the Middle Ages, this region experienced its military zenith during the Timurid state, which extended its influence on Anatolia and the Levant in the fifteenth century.
The Ottoman Empire lost Egypt and Suez Canal to Great Britain and want to build an alternative trade route connecting the East and the West. The Berlin-Baghdad railroad was planned to connect the Arabian Gulf (and Indian Ocean) to the North Sea and the Hejaz railroad would be a railway parallel to the Suez Canal leading to Yemen. However, it was interrupted by the WWI and today we have a different Middle East designed by the West. As the global geopolitics began to change with the recent rise of China, we see the renewal of trade wars and war of trade corridors. At the focus of these global competition is China’s global project called the Road and Belt Initiative that aims to spread the Chinese products all over the world fast and securely.
The Armenians were one of the most loyal communities in the Ottoman empire. They peacefully lived in Istanbul and in Eastern Anatolia with Turkish and Kurdish communities until the western powers provoke them to weaken it from inside at the end of the 19th century. During the First World War they waged an existential war in eastern Anatolia and were exiled to south (Arab region) and expelled to north (old Azerbaijan territories under Russian occupation).
The Obama administration adopted the PKK as a parter in 2016 to fight against ISIS by ignoring Turkish opposition and demands to do it together with the USA. After the persistent opposition of Turkey against the PKK, they named the PKK in Syria as PYD and claimed that they are different the PKK and later added some Arab fighters by naming it Syrian Democratic Forces (SDG) to show its difference from the PYD. Among others, the Deirezzor Military Council was among these non-Kurdish militias around the Deirezzor area.
Even though Iraq as a name and a political body is new but its territory is a craddle of civilizations. It was the home of Mesopotamia with a great mix of Arabs, Kurds and Turks. In fact the arrival of Turks also marks more than 1000 years during the Abbasid era. Then the Turks rose to the ruling positions with the Seljukis until being destroyed by the Mongol invasions. Later during the Ottoman period, Iraq prospered with agriculture and trade so much so that the Ottomans said "There is no beloved like a mother, nor a city like Baghdad" is a proof of the Turks’ fascination with Iraq
Islam is religion of peace but Muslims do not live in peace today. This is especially true for the Middle East where conflicts almost never end, including the ones from Syria to Sudan. Most of the Middle East conflicts are between Muslim groups with its sectarian, tribal and ethnic motives. The main reasons for the conflicts of our region are related to foreign interventions and big power competition but we cannot blame only other for the emergence of these conflicts. What about the Quranic principle of reforming between brothers?
After some Arab countries normalized with the Assad regime and was also re-admitted Syria to the Arab League, the hopes for a solution to the Syrian crisis have risen. However, the recent interview by Bashar al Asad on an Arab TV raised the question whether the Assad regime is ready for a comprehensive solution and especially whether he wants the Syrian refugees back to Syria. The return of Syrian refugees is the main reason why countries such as Jordan and Turkey have softened their stance toward the Assad regime. Does Assad and hi allies want the Syrians back to their home?
The Great Roman Empire was split into East and West in the year 395. The Eastern Empire called the Byzantine adhered to Orthodox Christianity while the West was committed to Roman Catholicism. Their differences grew in time while the Western Rome collapsed in 476 but Byzantine lasted until 1453 to be ended by the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul. While sides were inspired by the Roman history as the Russian Tsar adopted this title in reference to the Roman Ceasar. In the meantime, the Western world witnessed the arrival of Protestantism and fierce struggle between the Catholicism and Protestantism and later a similar class between the Catholic Church and Secular movements.
The whole world is going through major and critical transformations because of the retreat of the West and the rise of the East (e.g. China, Russia and India), the Coronavirus and the war between Ukraine and Russia. Nobody can predict whether this war will lead to a nuclear war or the World War III. Of course, superpower struggles impact the economies and policies of other countries in this age of globalization, the Middle East region is also impacted by these changes but also influence global process such as oil and gas production.