Gulf Arab Press divided on Syria Strike (OSC)

The USG Open Source Center paraphrases items in the Gulf Arab press regarding the US strike on Syria


Gulf Press Carries Mixed Reactions to Potential US Military Attack on Syria
OSC Summary
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Document Type: OSC Summary

On 30 August, websites of Gulf newspapers were observed to carry mixed reactions to a potential US attack on Syria. Some supported a US attack on Syria, saying that it is the sole option left to put an end to the Syrian conflict and punish President Al-Asad for the alleged use of chemical weapons and for the crimes committed against his people. Others condemned such attack, saying that it would lead to “unfavorable” repercussions in the region, and that it would not end the calamities of the Syrian people. Following is a roundup of reports, editorials, and commentaries as posted by newspapers and news websites.

[Qatar] Doha Al-Sharq Online in Arabic — Website of leading, large-circulation independent daily with close ties to the ruling family; focuses on domestic affairs; URL: http://www.al-sharq.com/

– on 30 August carries a commentary by Dawud al-Basri criticizing Nuri al-Maliki’s response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, saying that Al-Maliki and Iran pretend not to know the perpetrators of such “sordid” act in Syria and earlier in Iraq. Al-Basri says that “all signs indicate that the Iranian retaliation against an international strike on the Syrian regime will be in Iraq.” He adds that the escalation of violence in Iraq represents a starting point of the Iranian intelligence plan to conduct even bigger pre-arranged explosions. Al-Basri adds that Al-Maliki and his government’s “dread of the outcome of a potential international attack on the Syrian regime exposes his connections to the Syrian-Iranian alliance.” Al-Basri continues to say that the “regional game” is coming to an end, and that “the Syrian people are the ones to decide the fate of Syria and punish the perpetrators of this crime (the use of chemical weapons).”

[Qatar] Doha Al-Sharq Online in Arabic

on 30 August carries a commentary by Tal’at Rumayh saying that the delayed decision to conduct an international attack on the Syrian regime is not related to the credibility of the regime’s last “criminal act,” as the regime’s “crimes” have already killed far more people than the ones killed by the alleged chemical weapon attack.; the delay is rather related to “the circumstances of taking the decision in light of a complicated regional and international situation that hinders or delays a military attack.” Rumayh adds that Russia’s announcement that it will not participate in a military attack against Al-Asad’s regime comes as a manipulation of the US-European decision to “spare the Syrian regime and limit the strike to a mere punishment, fearing the increase of Al-Qa’ida’s advantages if the regime is toppled.” Rumayh adds that the attack on the Al-Asad regime will generate “a real and long-term change” in Syria and in the entire Middle East.

[UAE] Dubai Al-Bayan Online in Arabic — Website of leading independent, pro-government daily; URL http://www.albayan.ae/

– on 30 August carries a commentary saying that as part of the UN and international community’s effort to protect civilians in Syria, the “duty of intervening is vital and necessary, and should happen as soon as possible as any delay will result in more victims and more refugees.” The commentary questions whether the Syrian civilians’ calamity will come to an end in the midst of “an unacceptable and outrageous international incapability towards such a human, rather than political, disaster.”

[UAE] Dubai Al-Bayan Online in Arabic

on 30 August carries a commentary saying that the regime left the Syrians with the only option of “supporting a foreign attack” after comitting various “criminal acts.” The commentary expresses concern that the West “might find it enough to merely send ‘shy’ messages through a few missiles here and there, which would not help to topple the regime or influence the balance of power,” adding that this would lead to “counter-results” and “encourage Al-Asad to commit similar crimes.” The commentary says that “the foreign aid will eventually help free Syria from its internal occupation, and the people will then punish those who betrayed them and committed crimes against them.”

[UAE] Sharjah Al-Khalij Online in Arabic — Website of conservative, independent, pro-government daily; URL http://www.alkhaleej.ae/

– on 30 August carries a commentary by Amjad Arar condemning a potential US attack on Syria, adding that “had the Arabs been a ‘true national organization,’ they would have been able to put an end to the Syrian crisis before it had escalated to this phase, and before the Syrian borders had become open to thousands of gunmen from all over the world.” Amjad calls on the Arabs to say “no” in the face of Western intervention, and refuse a “Western invasion” under the pretext of “granting people their freedom.”

Kuwait Al-Ra’y Online in Arabic — Website of independent, liberal, pro-government daily; URL: http://www.alraimedia.com/ –

on 30 August carries a report citing sources close to Syrian President Bashar al-Asad as saying that the “West is reconsidering a military attack on Syria” as Israel’s security is in jeopardy due to threats made by Syria and its allies to attack Israel in case “the West decides to topple Al-Asad’s regime and replace it with the rule of takfiris (Muslims deeming others infidel).” According to the report, the sources said that the West is reconsidering its position also due to the stances of Iran and Hizballah on the attack, and to Russia’s readiness to protect its “agents” in Syria. The sources further said that the Syrian Army has realized what is being designed for Syria and has taken measures to prevent any force from invading the capital, adding that it will work on gaining full control of Damascus countryside “regardless of the outcome.”

Kuwait Al-Anba Online in Arabic — Website of large-circulation, independent, pro-government daily; URL: http://www.alanba.com.kw/

– on 30 August carries a commentary by Ahmad Abdallah highlighting the perspectives of prominent Syrian affairs experts saying that the attack on Al-Asad regime “will not change the balance of power,” adding that they do not expect the regime to attack back as “it cannot afford opening new fronts.” The experts rule out the probability of Iranian or Hizballah-led intervention, adding that the conflict in Syria “will go on for a considerable period of time.” The experts add that the “the attack will increase US aid to the Syrian opposition.”

2 Responses

  1. Is Al Basri claiming the frequent blasts in Iraq are by Iran rather than Sunni insurgents and extremists? If so, its absurd conspiracist denialism and bias.

    Overall, interesting commentaries. Hopefully in the future there’ll be more independent Gulf dailies that aren’t pro-govt or have to have ties to ruling parties. It’ll take some time.

  2. Well, Persian Gulf states are absolute monarchies. You cannot expect diverse opinions there. But there are some interesting points. Will Syria retaliate on Israel? That could mean raining missiles on the northern half of Israel for weeks on end. If Hamas could strike Jerusalem, the Syrian gov’t can do a multiple of that. In 2006 Hezbollah forced millions into shelters, their rocket stockpiles are probably bigger now. And Hezbollah fought on their own. Now Russia, Iran and China have drawn a line in the sand. Egypt could have an opportunistic reaction if Russia offers protection… I know a general with a terrible ego and Nasserist ambitions there. Someone in Israel regrets not having inked a peace treaty with Syria when the main difference was a bit of lake shoreline. Start this quagmire at your own risk, it is unlikely the end result will be better than the status quo for the West.

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