It has always been considered inappropriate to ‘politicize’ the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, which every Muslim of whatever persuasion or denomination is meant to perform once in their lifetime if they can afford it. Neither the host-state Saudi Arabia nor the countries that send it their pilgrims — in accordance with a quota system operated by the Saudis — are supposed to allow political considerations to influence their
All of a sudden and with no preliminaries, the world was informed that there exists an ‘Arab Quartet’ on Palestine, and that it has a plan.
This group – consisting of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and the UAE — proposes reviving and taking forward the Palestinian cause by brokering two reconciliations. The first would be within the Fateh movement, based on the readmission of former Gaza Strip security chief Muhammad Dahlan who was expelled along
When the American talk-show host and libertarian candidate for the US presidency, Gary Johnson, was asked what he would do about Aleppo if he made it to the White House, he replied: “What is Aleppo?”
Johnson was widely panned for his response. Yet it is doubtful that many Obama administration officials – Secretary of State John Kerry and his aides included – could give a more coherent or clearer answer.
The fate of President Bashar al-Asad is no longer the central issue in the Syrian crisis, at least not for the foreseeable future. Turkey’s direct military intervention in north-eastern Syria and its occupation of the border town of Jarablush as taken centre-stage. It has changed the rules of the game and creatednew political and military conditions that could prolong the crisis and put proposalsfor apolitical solution on hold for months if not years.
There can be no doubt that the Islamic State (IS) group was dealt a major blow by the assassination of Abu-Mohammad al-Adnani, its official spokesman who proclaimed the establishment of its ‘Caliphate’ in June 2014. Both as a propagandist and military commander with two decades’ experience of ‘jihad’, he was a key figure in the organization.
Pending resolution of the quarrel over who was responsible for his killing, the fact that the Americans
Syria’s Kurds appear to be in the process of making a mistake of monumental proportions.
Central government offices in the north-eastern provincial capital of al-Hasaka are reported to have been evacuated after being overrun by Kurdish forces – specifically, units of the Asayish militia affiliated to the People’s Protection Force (YPG), the military arm of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) which is in turn the Syrian branch of Turkey’s Kurdistan
The piece of news carried by the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper today (Thursday) was no surprise to us. Through this news, Mr. Ismail Hakki Pekin, a former Turkish diplomat and the vice chairman of the Patriotic Party, confirmed that he carried out five visits to Damascus where he met with prominent Syrian officials including President Bashar al-Assad in the framework of the efforts that he’s making to induce a rapprochement between the two neighboring
The Four-Party ‘Roadmap’ for Yemen will get nowhere unless Riyadh alters its attitude towards Yemen and the Yemenis,
The roadmap for peace in Yemen proposed by the four-party committee that includes the U.S., the UK, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is primarily meant to save Riyadh and its allies from their predicament in Yemen, argues the editorial in an online pan-Arab daily. But this is not possible unless Saudi Arabia abandons its arrogant dealings with Yemen
The goal is to destroy the last ISIS position in the Syrian north and prevent the YPG from filling any local vacuum, thereby turning it into a [Kurdish] self-rule area.
Jarablus’ strategic importance stems from the fact that it is a military logistical supply point for ISIS and the last of its strongholds along the Turkish borders. Expelling it from the town means that ISIS will be totally strangled, especially if the fact that its eastern
Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen is becoming an increasingly costly liability for the kingdom, not only in blood and treasure, but also in terms of its international reputation and standing.
Seventeen months after it launched ‘Operation Decisive Storm’, it now faces the possibility of being prosecuted for war crimes. After Médecins Sans Frontières decided to pull out of Yemen inprotest at the lethal targeting of six hospitals by Saudi