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Bedouins and the Code of Hummurabi

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http://www.asharqalawsat.com/english/news....ction=2&id=2013

 

Bedouins and the Code of Hummurabi

 

05/10/2005

 

 

Ahmed Al-Rabei

 

 

The arrogant language, which was used by the Iraqi Minister of Interior, was an unpleasant surprise for all those who love Iraq and want stability and progress for this country. It was especially sad considering that all experts had believed that such aggressive language in Iraq had ended with the collapse of the former regime, whose outspoken leader was the former Minister of Information Mohamed Saeed Al Sahaf.

 

The statement made by the Iraqi Minister includes a plethora of pitfalls and mistakes. He erred in his comments even if they were made in the heat of the moment. It was another big mistake committed against the stability of his own country if such comments were made in the name of other regional forces outside of Iraq.

 

It was immature and ignorant to describe the Saudi Foreign Minister as a "Bedouin riding a camel," as one could present to the Iraqi Interior Minister a number of "Bedouins on camels," who changed the face of history. The first and most important was the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH). It is ironic that a Roman leader had also described the Prophet as "a Bedouin on a camel who is incapable of doing anything." The Prophet was also accompanied by many other great "Bedouins on camels" such as Ali Ibn Abi Taleb and his sons Hassan and Hussein. Perhaps the Iraqi Minister could share with us his opinions of these "Bedouins on camels."

 

As for the interior minister's belief that he is a descendant of Hammurabi simply because he is an Iraqi citizen, we would like to remind him that the same claim was made by Saddam Hussein, Al-Jazrawi, Hassan Al Majid, and Khayrallah Tulfah at every given occasion. However, they were the worst violators of laws and freedoms. Perhaps the Interior Minister could give us a lecture on this. In addition, it would be interesting to know what he thinks about the successful modern nations that have nothing to do with Hammurabi or the Pharaohs such as America, Australia, or Canada. Are they brutal dictatorships?

 

We realize that by making such statements the Iraqi Minister only represents himself. We also know that he was provoked by the criticism of the Saudi Foreign Minister for Iranian interference in Iraq. We realize that he does not speak on behalf of the Iraqi cabinet; this was clearly expressed by the Iraqi Foreign Minister's apology in Jeddah recently. However, it was unfortunate that the Iraqi minister used such words that we considered to be left behind with the advent of a new Iraq. I sincerely hope that the Iraqi minister is brave enough to apologize to the Saudi Minister, to all the nomads and Bedouins of the Arab peninsula, to half of the Iraqis who also ride camels, and most importantly to Hammurabi and his code, which has probably never been read by the Iraqi interior minister.

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From Taha Yassin to Jabr Solagh

 

06/10/2005

 

 

Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed

 

 

The Iraqi interior minister, Jabr Solagh's statement may have justifications for the insults of the Saudi foreign minister, described as a "bedouin on a camel." What is clear is that his comments had revealed an aspect of the Iraqi minister's character whose tranquil manner in critical situations has distinguished him in the past. Furthermore, what is amazing is the comparison between Solagh's statement and that of Taha Yasin Al-Jazrawi, Saddam Hussein's deputy, who had criticized Saud Al-Faisal three years ago in the same way. Both statements, however, resemble the words of one Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

 

We are shocked to hear such disgraceful words from a man who once claimed to be the representative of a respectable regime unlike the former Iraqi one. Perhaps the minister's comments were a slip of the tongue caused by the stress of Iraq's instability or his new experiences in government. One of the minister's acquaintances sought to justify Solagh's comments saying that he is enduring difficult circumstances, the last of which was the capturing of his brother. This is in addition to the escalation of violent attacks and the constant criticism to which he is subjected from his rivals.

 

On top of these pressures is the fact that many regard Solagh as a supporter of factionalism, which casts doubts upon his position in government, as the deadline for the referendum on Iraqi constitution and the elections approach.

 

Despite these reasons, a minister should not use such words. His comments were disrespectful to himself as well as to his government as he could have expressed such criticism in a way that respects himself as a minister, his government and his great country, Iraq. So why did he do this? Some believe that there were some Iranian insinuations involved but Iran, which is strong enough to defend itself, has never been involved in delivering such curses.

 

The Saudi minister's statement was not an attack on the government of Jaafari but rather reflected a rising fear of Iranian expansion. It remains the right of Iraq's neighboring countries to express their concern just as Iraq protests against the Syrian lenience concerning terrorism. Saudi Arabia too is entitled to share the same fear of Iranian infiltration into Iraq.

 

I do not comprehend what the Iraqi interior minister considers to be in his country's interests; however, what I am sure of is that Iraq's opportunity for peace and stability is through balance. Solagh, though he is only one member of the government, plays a crucial role in Iraq's future, as he is minister of interior and not merely minister of transportation. Solagh is a prominent figure who needs to consolidate the relationships between Iraq and its neighbors, push them to cooperate with his government and not to work against it.

 

Solagh in his outburst paradoxically offended the very countries that stood by him in his fight against terrorists and the countries that would have assisted in the stabilizing of Iraq's angry Sunnis. Solagh's comments did nothing but please the enemies of Iraq who had long been seeking to convince Saudi Arabia to work against Iraq. Furthermore, we should point out to the Iraqi minister that to be described as a Bedouin in the Arab peninsula is something to be proud of rather than an insult.

 

Saud Al-Faisal, who graduated from Princeton University, is the son of someone who rode in cars long before Solagh's father ever did. Solagh's "criticism" of riding on a camel would not offend the Saudi foreign minister, but what may agitate him is Solagh's attempt to provoke conflict at a time when he needs to be supported by allies and not surrounded by enemies. Whatever is said or done, we wish the Iraqi interior minister the best in such severe circumstances of terrorism and conflict with which he is faced.

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An insight to Iranian influence in Iraq

 

06/10/2005

 

 

Mshari Al-Zaydi

A Saudi journalist and expert on Islamic movements and Islamic fundamentalism as well as Saudi affairs. Mshari is Asharq Al-Awsat’s opinion page Editor, where he also contributes a weekly column. Has worked for the local Saudi press occupying several posts at Al -Madina newspaper amongst others. He has been a guest on numerous news and current affairs programs as an expert on Islamic extremism.

 

Bayan Jabr Solagh, the Iraqi Interior Minister in the current cabinet headed by Ibrahim al Jaafari, defamed Saudi Arabia and its Foreign Minister, Saud al Faisal, earlier this week. In an unprecedented slander, the fundamentalist politician debased himself and exposed the Saudi for riding camels while insisting he was the son of Hammurabi!

This could not be further from the truth. Everyone is well aware that Baqir Solagh, to use his real name rather than Bayan, his nom de guerre, is a member of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) headed by Abdul Aziz al Hakim and its armed wing, the Badr Brigade, affiliated with the Ittilaat, the Iranian intelligence agency, and Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards. At the helm of all these groups is Grand Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran. Given such connections, Solagh should be the last to preach democracy and invoke the laws of Hammurabi.

 

Saud al Faisal did not preach about democracy or civil society in Iraq. Instead, he merely warned against the dangers of civil war and exposed the deeply entrenched sectarian divisions in the country, with Abu Musab al Zarqawi on one hand, and the Badr militias on another, both ready to kill according to factional identity.

 

Information trickling from Iraq reveals the extent of Iranian meddling. I recently spoke to an Iraqi living in the country and a well-respected Shiaa figure, who pleaded that he remain anonymous. His revelations were simply extraordinary.

 

Iranian interference in Iraq was no longer a secret, despite the protestations of Solagh. As the SCIRI’S representative in Syria, did he not react furiously to a colleague's article on Muhsin al Hakim, father of Abdul Aziz and Baqir al Hakim? My friend the writer told me he was “angrier than the sons of Muhsin al Hakim himself, even though I come from a well-respected Shiaa Iraqi family and did not criticize or attack Muhsin.”

 

To return to my conversation with the Shiaa cleric, he spoke bitterly of the Arab abandonment of Iraq and criticized the US administration's wavering policies and the fact that it did not heed the warnings on Iranian interference and the danger this posed for the Arab national identity of Iraq.

 

He said, “I am an Iraqi Shia cleric from a family renown for its religious and literary past, but I am opposed to Iranian meddling. I have received death threats because of this.” Asked about who might be behind these threats, he said, “Iran’s agents and their supporters. They are the ones likely to carry out the threat. Strangely, I was first alerted to this by an envoy from Bayan Jabr Solagh who told me the Minister wanted me to “take care of myself”! He laughed, adding, “It’s strange. How did the minister think I was going to take care of myself? How am I able to fend off those trained to track and assassinate for years during their time in the Revolutionary Guards and the Badr militias?”

 

He added, “It is incorrect to claim that all Iraqi Shiaas support Iran. Those few that are belong to parties that receive financial, political, and logistical aid from Tehran. These are the SCIRI led by al Hakim, the Prime Minister's Dawa Party, Moqtada al Sadr and his supporters, as well as other minor groups.

 

Rumors have it that General Sulaymani, the chief of intelligence in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, was personally responsible for Iraqi affairs while an individual, known as Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, a former leader of the Badr Brigade, represented Iraq with the Iranian authorities. According to estimates, 6000 Shiaa clerics regularly receive their salaries from Iran.

 

When I asked Iyad Jamal al Din, the Iraqi politician and intellectual, whether all Iraq’s Shiaa were supporters of Iran, he answered unequivocally, “Quite the opposite. One must not forget the long and bloody war that pitted Iran against Iraq, during which millions were injured, killed, or abducted. Many of the casualties were Iraqi Shiaas. How can they easily forget all the bloodshed?”

 

He added, “The Iraqi national character is also very different from that of Iran. No matter how strongly the Iraqis might revere a Sayyed (high ranking religious leader who descends from the Prophet Mohammad) or the Marjaiyah (senior religious clerics), he can quickly turn against either and attack them if a conflict of interest arises. In Iran, the Sayyed and the supreme religious authority are held in high esteem and deemed infallible.”

 

As if to support Jamal al Din’s viewpoint, many in Iraq have been sending each other the following joke, via Bluetooth technology on their mobile phones, “We have elected incompetent individuals because we trusted the choice of the Marjaiyah (the country’s highest Shiaa authority)”, after candidates from the United Iraqi Alliance swept the elections with 48% of the votes and were supported by Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

 

According to one source, the governorate which voted most in favor of Sistani’s list Dhi Qar, the capital of which is al-Nasiriya, has the highest rates of alcohol consumption! This is further evidence that, if Iraq's Shiaa back the supreme authority politically, it does mean that they are willing to unconditionally support another Islamic Republic in the South.

 

Either way, the Shiaa community remains an essential part of Iraqi society; the same can also be said for the Sunni community, both Kurdish and Arab.

 

I do not wish to condemn or criticize the Shiaa for they are a major pillar in Iraq. The community has given the country several Iraqi politicians and intellectuals and statesmen. However, it is important not to misconstrue the current political situation, as the group which was previously sidelined has come to power. It is crucial to warn against the ambitions of the clerics in Iran which will constitute the mistake of a lifetime or to be more precise, the Shiaa who are loyal to Iran and who only represent a faction of Iraq’s Shiaa will be committing a grave error.

 

In a previous article entitled, “The Islamic Republic of Iraq”, I warned against such a scenario, based on the history of the Badr Brigade and its Iranian patronage and the statements of al Hakim where declared his support he Shiaa fundamentalist dream.

 

I have also repeatedly condemned the submissiveness of Iraqi Sunnis to the terrorist al Zarqawi and the remnants of the Baath party.

 

I have shied away from using sectarian language as it is harmful and detestable. I do, however, wish to warn of Sunni extremism, represented by the criminal al Zarqawi. I urge all Sunnis across Iraq to combat this blood thirsty fanatic and his supporters because consenting to his activities, justifying them, or being associated with them will represent political suicide and a crime against morality and humanity.

 

I will continue to repeat my message to the Sunnis of Iraq as long as al Zarqawi continues to act in their name. Yet, at the same time, how can we discard the fanaticism of al Zarqawi only to fall into al Khomeini’s lap!

 

We refuse to condemn al Zarqawi’s crimes only to be rewarded with crimes committed by the Badr Brigade, believed to be responsible for murdering a number of Sunni leaders. Consider Vice President Ghazi al Yawer's allusions to an alliance between the militias and the Sunni extremist groups in stirring civil strife. Or Jalal Talabani’s talk, filled with innuendo, after the honeymoon period between the Kurds and Jaafari ended, on the mysterious killings in Iraq.

 

The Arab Sunni community in Iraq made a mistake when they hesitated to join the political process, it is true, and those who did represent them harmed them even further, especially the Association of Muslim Scholars. They must rectify this and become partners in this political process because the only other alternative is to ally themselves with al Zarqawi or what is left of Saddam’s regime.

 

In conclusion, the Saudi involvement in Iraq is vitally important especially since it does not favor one faction over the other, as Saud al Faisal has indicated. The Kingdom is engaged in Iraq for the sake of Iraq, all of Iraq. A stable Iraq means a stable Saudi Arabia. This involvement is welcomed in most quarters, even if some continue to ask, “Why so late?” to which one can only answer: better late than never.

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A typical radical Iranian comment

 

Sorry, my new PC has no Arabic software yet. I read the article thoroughly. The truth and nothing but the truth is that we are all victims of the west''s policies which as far as it can reach with them will not allow peace for this region , not especially for Islam (as peoples and culture) as whole. Such writings as Dr. Usama''s are beside the point. Those policies of the West are not directed against any rulers of the region but rather against their countries and culture. Almost all these rulers conduct policies for their countries that eventually pour into the wicked ends of the West. The Arabic and Islamic world does more or less represent the entity of the East v. the pagan culture of Rome and Athens that rules the wrold for now. The peoples of Iraq and Iran have been linked in history for thousands of years, and have been living in neighbourly peace for centuries before the West has succeeded to put them face to face in a war which has no national justifications on the part of any party.In that war the agressor was the West, and the victims were Iraq and Iran. Iraq is not an enemy of Iran, nor Iran is an enemy of Iraq. This West is the same agressor now whose policies of aggression are once again trying to make brothers face brothers of the same people with enmity and blood. The good thing is not to enflame secterian hatred but to waken the minds of the people that America & Co. never had or have good intentions for Iraq or for Iran, or for any country of the region. The way is not to kill one another, nor to put our hands in their hands and not to fight them with guns either, but to stand out in unity to tell them to go away and leave us alone to handle our own affairs on our own. Yet, let those who think they can take us back to the rule of tyranny by terrozing people - let them know that what they intend to do is to drown Iraq - and perhaps the whole region - in a sea of blood and destruction. And that is exactly what the real enemies of us all what do want! Sincerely A. M.

gejsorino77@yahoo.co.uk

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Already posted by BahirJ on other arabic thread

 

Transcript of Prince Saud interview with U.S. print journalists

Transcript of the interview given by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to U.S. print journalists at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC, September 22, 2005

 

 

QUESTION: Can I ask you about Syria. Is the Saudi government doing anything to urge the Syrian government to cooperate on Lebanon, on the Hariri assassination, on the issue of Iraq? Is there any effort to get them to do more than they have in the past, anything new?

 

PRINCE SAUD: We have very good relations with Syria. Syria is an Arab country, and we continuously talk on issues of mutual interest and particularly those that affect the national interests of each country and the general interests of the Arab world.

 

For Iraq, as you know, we are also members of the contiguous states to Iraq, and that’s an initiative that we had started, that King Abdullah had started, and the main purpose and the main aim of this grouping is one, to keep the countries of the region out of interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq, and second, to help the government of Iraq to establish unity and to ensure the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq. So we do talk about these issues collectively and bilaterally

 

 

 

QUESTION: But you’re not doing anything new to try to pressure them, on Iraq or on the Syrians.

 

PRINCE SAUD: We talk of course continuously. We cannot put more pressure than talk.

 

QUESTION: Can we get your analysis of the situation in Iraq now, and how it’s affecting your country?

 

PRINCE SAUD: Iraq, it’s a very dangerous situation and a very threatening situation because the impression is that it is gradually going towards disintegration. There seems to be no dynamic now that is pulling the country together. All the dynamics there are pushing the people away from each other.

 

The special position of the Kurds in Iraq is nothing new. This is not the threat to the unity of Iraq, so a special position for a Kurdish area in Iraq would not threaten the territorial integrity of Iraq. But what is dangerous is this effort to separate the Arab population of Iraq into Shiite and Sunni groups that will be at loggerheads. And if that happens, which is something that was never the case in Iraq, there was even at the time of Saddam Hussein no real problems between Shiites and Sunnis, they were living in the same places and the same areas peacefully, intermarrying, normal life between the Shiites and the Sunnis, because they are all Arabs.

 

If you have a tribe like the Shammar tribe, which is half Shiite and half Sunni, they are still Shammar. I remember a line from the book Shogun, where the priest was asking the Japanese lady, But you are a Christian. But I’m also Japanese. These people are Sunni but they are also Arab, and they live together, there are no differences between them. But now they’ve been separated.

 

QUESTION: Why do you think this happened?

 

PRINCE SAUD: This happened because from the word go the Sunnis were put as the enemy.

 

QUESTION: Is there anything the United States or other powers could have done to avert this?

 

PRINCE SAUD: I think by not putting every Sunni as a Baathist criminal would have been the way of dividing the good people from the bad people. But all the military forces were considered a threat, and all the Baathists were considered a threat, and therefore not dealt with and kept away. With the breakdown of the government and people finding nothing to eat, no salaries being paid to the government or the military, they turned into a resistance group, gradually, and started to cooperate with the resistance factions. And the resistance factions there, or the terrorists if you will, found the fish they could hide among.

 

And that is what the situation is now. The way to go about it is to pull the Sunnis who are only looking for a livelihood, who want only guarantees of their security and safety, away from the terrorists. And the only way you can do that is by using the Arab Shiites to get in contact with them, to assure them of their safety and their well-being, to assure them of the territorial integrity of Iraq, to assure them of being equal citizens in the new Iraq. That is the way to do it. Guns don’t speak, they just kill. What you need is somebody to speak and convince people and have the mind work, not just the nerves fear.

 

QUESTION: What is the actual worry Saudi Arabia has as a result of this?

 

PRINCE SAUD: Disintegration. It would bring the countries of the region into conflict. The immediate result is the threat that it would draw the countries of the region into conflict. That is the main worry of all the neighbors of Iraq.

 

QUESTION: Do you have a fear of a US-Iranian conflict?

 

PRINCE SAUD: I don’t see one looming, but I’m not the best crystal ball gazer in the world.

 

QUESTION: Your Highness, on the constitution, would it be better if the voters of Iraq rejected the constitution, start over? Or do you see the constitution as a way of ameliorating these trends?

 

PRINCE SAUD: The constitution, I mean, if even the holy books are misinterpreted and misapplied and used in a dangerous way, a constitution can be used in a dangerous, it depends on how you apply it. It is words on a paper, promises of things to come. They can be honestly applied, achieve peace and stability, and if the intent is otherwise, it can be used otherwise. The important thing is not the constitution per se. The constitution, the elections, these are the methods of trying to keep the country together. It is what the people do with the constitution and the election that is important.

 

Now the constitution had a section in it at one time that considered that Iraq was, if I remember the words correctly, a country of different nationality, the Arab population of which is part of the Arab world. What about the rest of Iraq? Is it part of the Arab world? It is now becoming not part of the Arab world. And what would be the advantage to do that and create another divisive element through the constitution when you are looking for stability in Iraq. That has been changed.

 

QUESTION: You said Iraq could bring the countries of the region into conflict. Do you mean that suddenly going to be problems between Iraq and Syria, between Iran and Saudi Arabia, will the Shiites in eastern Saudi Arabia be affected by this?

 

PRINCE SAUD: The country will be divided into at least, to my mind, three parts: Kurdish part, a Sunni part and a Shiite part if things go the way they are. And naturally there will be a struggle between the three for the natural resources of Iraq. Each side will try to get these natural resources to pay for his country. And in doing that, and turning into conflict, of course the Shiites will be helped by Iran; Turkey is not going to allow a Kurdish state on its border and therefore it will enter. The military have already stated that if there were an independent Kurdish state, it is no secret, they made it very clear, and if I don’t see how the Arab countries are going to be left out of the conflict in one way or another.

 

QUESTION: You see this as the natural course of the way things are going now.

 

PRINCE SAUD: We don’t see any other course that would prevent this from happening. I don’t see this as a purpose for policy, to divide Iraq, but I think this is what is going to happen if things continue as they are.

 

But I was going to continue with the constitution. The constitution also has another part which deals with Iraq, if the copies that we have are the right constitution. They deal with the different governance of Iraq separately. Each governor has the ability to have its own constitution, its own legislature, its own executive branch. If that happens, this is a formula for disintegration for Iraq. And in the United States, you’re still fighting the civil war for states’ rights, but now it is not on the battlefield but in other ways. And it is the most modern country in the world. Just think what that type of pressure would do to a country like Iraq.

 

QUESTION: Do you blame the United States? Do you think the United States should not have gone into Iraq, and what are you urging the United States at this point to prevent the disintegration of Iraq?

 

PRINCE SAUD: I think what I’m trying to do is to say that unless something is done to bring the people of Iraq together, a constitution alone or an election alone won’t do it. And this is what we are suggesting, that the Arabs of Iraq should be urged to unite, that the Shiites of Iraq should open channels and bring their brethren the Sunnis away from the resistance groups and into the political process that is going on.

 

QUESTION: Have you carried this message to people within the American government?

 

PRINCE SAUD: I wouldn’t talk to the newspapers in any way different than I would talk to anybody else.

 

QUESTION: Whom else did you speak to?

PRINCE SAUD: Everybody that would listen to us.

 

QUESTION: Of those people, whom can you mention?

 

PRINCE SAUD: Anybody who would listen to us.

 

QUESTION: Who are you seeing on this visit? You saw the Secretary of State in New York.

 

PRINCE SAUD: We have one duty to perform here with the Secretary of State and that is to set up the strategic committee that was announced in the final communiqué during the meeting between King Abdullah and the President in Texas.

 

QUESTION: Are you seeing anyone else to share these thoughts?

 

PRINCE SAUD: I saw this morning the Majority Whip of the House. I don’t know why they call it the whip, because they had a whip at one time to keep the rank and file of the party in line.

 

QUESTION: Your comments to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York suggested great concern over Iran’s role in Iraq. How profound and pervasive do you think that is, and how can it be reversed? I’d also be interested in your analysis of the president of Iran’s speech to the U.N. Security Council.

 

PRINCE SAUD: First of all, let me say that I wouldn’t say anything about Iran that we don’t say to Iran directly. We have a very frank, open relationship with them in which we speak frankly. Iran is an old nation, a great nation with a lot of history, and a great potential for the future and to be a stabilizing force in our region. Our contacts with them are always aimed at talking about this role that Iran can play in the region as a stabilizing country in the region. And they perceive of themselves as playing a large role that is comparative to their history and their size and their power. We always try to convince them that a leading nation in a region has to take into consideration the interests of the smaller nations of the region, and not only its own. That’s a sign of leadership. You take the interests of the other countries in your strategy.

 

Therefore decisions like going into weapons of mass destruction cannot be handled independently, but must take into consideration the interests of other countries. And the policy that we had agreed with them upon was always to make the Gulf region, along with the Middle East in general, free of weapons of mass destruction. So when we worry it is a worry that emanates from previous discussion that we have and in which there were assurances that we are pursuing the same policy for the region. We will continue to have dialogue with them, we will mention these worries that we have to them, and we are sure that we can reach an accommodation in which all the interests of the countries of the region are taken in a collective manner so that we can make sure this region of ours, which is an important region in the world, is secure and is stable.

 

QUESTION: Do you think Iran playing an increasingly negative role in Iraq? There are reports from the region of weapons shipments, etc.

 

PRINCE SAUD: We are members of the contiguous group of Iraq, and Iran is one of the important members of that group, that group was established basically to keep people from not interfering in Iraq. Now Iraq is a member of that group, and they complain of interference from Iran. This is my comment: If this is true and there is interference, especially in these separate governors that we are talking about, because they are contiguous to Iran and they are relatively calm so they can move easily in it. If there is an effort to do some interference, that would be the place, and that would be very dangerous.

 

QUESTION: What kind of interference are they complaining about?

 

PRINCE SAUD: People coming in, money being brought in, interference in the political life, weapons too.

 

QUESTION: The late Prime Minister Hariri had such a long and close history with your country, and we now have an investigation that has implicated a number of officials in Lebanon who have extremely close ties to the Syrian government and who have interviews going on in Damascus in which the investigator is speaking with senior people in the Syrian government. What is your perspective on that process, and if it should emerge that even more evidence of Syrian relationship with that particular tragedy should emerge, what consequences would flow from that in your view?

 

PRINCE SAUD: Prime Minister Hariri not only had relations with Saudi Arabia, but he had close relations with many Saudis, and I personally have lost a great and close friend in the death of Mr. Hariri. So the personal loss is immeasurable.

 

On the other hand, to speculate on the result of what is being pursued, as to who the responsible official before it comes out, clearly who is to blame and who is not to blame, I think he would be the first to avoid speculating on the guilt or innocence of anybody unless proven by the courts. One of the important decisions that the government of Lebanon has done is to leave the responsible people who are doing the investigation free from interference and to say that the courts also will be free from interference in looking at this issue. This issue, if it is handled legally through the legal institutions and not interfere politically, let the cards fall where they may, and let the guilty come out whoever they are. That can only be a healthy thing for the future of the region and for the future of Lebanon.

 

QUESTION: Karen Hughes is leaving this weekend for her first trip to the region, including a stop in Saudi Arabia. What kind of challenge does she face in convincing the Islamic world of good U.S. intent, and what is your message to her?

 

PRINCE SAUD: America will deal with the region on its principles. America is not unknown to the region. It had no bad history with the region. It wasn’t part of the Crusades, it wasn’t part of the imperial period, it is known as the country that helped the region achieve independence.

 

So the knowledge of the people of the Middle East of the United States is a healthy one all in all. It is only recently and mainly because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that perceptions changed, but I think they changed without losing the basic admiration of the people of the Arab world for America. They still remember that America is the land of self-determination, the land that dealt with the world on principle rather than on the interests of its business community like the continental powers of Europe.

 

This basic healthy background is just below the surface and can emerge if the Palestinian question is justly settled, and people would return to the perceptions that they had on America.

 

We in Saudi Arabia are sure that the intentions of the United States are not imperialistic in the region, and we have direct proof of that. We had 500,000 American troops on our territory during the war for the liberation of Kuwait. When the war finished, these 500,000 troops left. I wonder if the Parliament of England had 500,000 troops in Saudi Arabia they would have left. What do you think, you were ambassador there?

 

PRINCE TURKI AL-FAISAL (Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.): I think now they would leave. A hundred years ago, maybe not.

 

PRINCE SAUD: This is something. It is indicative that America harbors no bad intentions about the region, and people know this instinctively. They cannot understand, they cannot conceive why a country with so many principles has a double standard on the issue of Palestine. This is the frustration of every Saudi. And if you meet any Saudi, you will find this as the only frustration. And they are mad. They are mad because they know the good part of the United States, and they are mad because they see this as inconsistent with the other side.

 

And one of the most interesting developments that I have heard, the American ambassador told me that after this Hurricane Katrina that the telephone lines of the embassy were flooded by calls from ordinary citizens asking what they can do to help. Now that under any circumstances could not be considered an inimical feeling on the part of the Saudis for the American people.

 

QUESTION: It seems the administration does not agree with your analysis of Iraq.

 

PRINCE SAUD: It is not the first time.

 

QUESTION: One might even suggest that the disagreement between yourself, the Saudi leadership on one side and America on the other, seems deeper than it might even be on Israel-Palestinian issues.

 

PRINCE SAUD: We agree on one thing. We agree on the objective, and that is important. We all want a free Iraq, we all want a prosperous Iraq and a united Iraq.

 

QUESTION: It is your neighborhood, you’re living next door. I’m very curious to know, I’m sure this administration values your perspective and views.

 

PRINCE SAUD: America’s neighborhood is much wider than ours.

 

QUESTION: I wonder if you can candidly tell us a little more about your discussions with administration officials about something like this, and whether they are listening, do they tell you they disagree, or that you’re wrong?

 

PRINCE SAUD: I promise not to tell the administration what I tell you and I am not going to tell you what I tell the administration.

 

QUESTION: What’s your perception, some people say they’re living in a world of their own ideology or imagination, or good intentions, whatever it is. What’s your analysis?

 

PRINCE SAUD: No, they have a point to make. They say people doubted there would be an election, and there was an election, and the majority of the Iraq people voted for it, and it is out. They say the same thing about the constitution, you are worrying about the constitution, but once people work on the constitution, you will see that it will come out right and it will unite Iraq and they might prove to be right. They are not going willy-nilly without a policy in this. They have specific objectives, they have specific actions to be taken. Their purpose is clear to them and they are pursuing it.

 

QUESTION: Do you believe Iraq has crossed the threshold into a civil war?

 

PRINCE SAUD: Not yet.

 

QUESTION: Is it close?

 

PRINCE SAUD: I think it can be retrieved, I hope it can be retrieved.

 

QUESTION: Internal security of Saudi Arabia.

 

PRINCE SAUD: Thank God it is good.

 

QUESTION: Do you support sending Iran to the Security Council?

 

PRINCE SAUD: It’s tough. I think for my country, we prefer to talk to them. Even when we have bilateral problems, we prefer to talk to them. They are people who listen, they are people who will talk and give and take. There is always a chance when you talk. But when you confront each other, it is tough.

 

QUESTION: Do you think Iran wants a nuclear weapon?

 

PRINCE SAUD: I hope they don’t.

 

QUESTION: Your government recently pardoned the Libyans who were accused of sponsoring the plot against the then-Crown Prince. Does that indicate that your government no longer sees them as being guilty, as taking part in the plot? Secondly, are you disappointed in the response of the U.S. government in this regard, because this would appear to be an act of terrorism, and the government of the United States has not really addressed the issue very clearly in terms of condemning Libya.

 

PRINCE SAUD: If we wanted to prove their guilt, we would have gone through the trial. But we said we would stop the trial for the benefit of Arab solidarity. In the meantime, we hope that they have learned also that this manner of dealing with issues is counterproductive, even to their own interests. We hope they will desist from further actions of this kind. Remember, there is always a trial in absentia.

 

PRINCE TURKI: And also, the attorney general was willing to take the case, which means he had evidence.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

All contents on this web site is copyrighted ©2005 Information Office of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington DC. To contact the embassy by phone please call (202) 342-3800. For the VISA Section please call (202) 944-3126 or send a fax to (202) 337-4084. You may also send e-mails to info@saudiembassy.net

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4303480.stm

 

Iraq minister hits out at Saudis 

 

Jabr: Attacked the 'dictatorship' of the Saudi royal family 

Iraq's interior minister has hit out at a suggestion by a Saudi minister that US policy in Iraq has handed the country over to Iranian influence.

Bayan Jabr said Iraqis were proud of their country, and would not accept lessons on human rights and democracy from Saudi Arabia.

 

And he disparaged Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, who made the comments, as a "Bedouin on a camel".

 

Mr Jabr said Iraq was an independent nation that would not be dictated to.

 

  We are Iraqis and we are responsible for solving our problems, we will not allow anyone to interfere

 

Bayan Jabr

 

But his remarks were criticised by Iraq's Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, who apologised for Mr Jabr's "regrettable and inappropriate" comments.

 

Mr Jabr's comments were a retort to remarks made by Prince Faisal during a trip to Washington in September.

 

Prince Faisal had expressed concern that Shia Iran was using conflict and chaos inside Iraq to extend its influence across the border. He said Iraq appeared to be heading towards disintegration.

 

The row broke out as a meeting of Arab ministers on Iraq began in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

 

'God-king'

 

"We are Iraqis and we are responsible for solving our problems, we will not allow anyone to interfere," said Mr Jabr, who sits in Iraq's parliament for the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a Shia party.

 

 

Prince Saud al-Faisal has said Iranian groups are infiltrating Iraq

He added: "This Iraq is the cradle of civilisation that taught humanity reading and writing, and some Bedouin riding a camel wants to teach us."

 

Mr Jabr rounded on the Saudi regime, which he accused of treating millions of women and Shia Muslims as second-class citizens.

 

"They have one god, he is the king, he is the god, and he rules as he likes. A whole country is named after a family."

 

Mr Zebari attempted to distance the Iraqi government from Mr Jabr's comments, insisting that he was not speaking in an official capacity and had no jurisdiction over foreign issues.

 

Neighbour's fears

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Over the last week , most of the Arab political media and blogers were intensively involved by the public criticism of the Iraqi interior minster toward the Suadi government and the PRINCE of foriegn ministrey.

Most of the suadi writers tried to push their commentes on two things: how dare is this ignorant Iraqi to charcterise the Badouns Amirs of Suadi and the other point was the repeat of same old story of the issue of being a Shia, so the Iraqi minster is defending the Iranian role in Iraq..! Nothing about the core points that the Iraqi Minister had highlighted. The Issues of Women and religion in Suadi Arabia.

 

Concentrating only on the two aspects by the suadi writers were expected, having in mind how much sensative are the other raised issues by the minister . The first one is related to the known historical conflict between urban Arabs and rural Sahara Badouan Arab. Within the Arab society this issue was always a hot one. The most known academic scholar who wrote about it was a westren educated proferssor Iraqi Dr. Ali Alwardi. He was a Shia Arab who used to teach in Baghdad university sixty years ago and came up with a social theory called " Dual personality" where he noticed that conflict within the Iraqi personality between the new urban concepts and the still inner Baduan roots. Most Iraqi Arab tribes inhabeted the urban Iraq in the ninteen century. MAny Iraqi scholars beleive that the known brutal crime behaviour that we notice in Iraq were driven by that badoun roots. Sadam him self was proud to say he is Badoan.

In general in Iraq or egypt or Syria , beging a badoun is not considered as good thing to be proud of. That is not the case in other neighboring countries like Kuwait , Suadi or Jordan where there are still some strong tribal values dominating the role of life. Islam and Quran were pointing to the ignorance and savage of Badoun and called them the most hypocrat. The prophet him self didn't consider him self the AAriba "The real Arab in the desert" but Mustaariba " arabised in Urban city" He rooted him self to Ibraham who decended from Iraqi Sumarians and that is well known in history.

 

With the oil money these badouns culture of Arabia had the chance to influence every aspect of Islamic and Arabic life and culture.It nurtured Salafee wahibees , they took over the Sunni mosques, It politically encouraged killing Shia using all stubidity of radical Shia. However withing the Urban Arab personality that was another aspect of Westren occupation by product.. Scholars used to believe that the west found the Badouns pragmatic values as the best to rely on in controlling Arabs on behalf of the westren interest. So there was a kind of devil contract, keep you pushing your people and you assure sharing with us the income. Today with the Bush new policy after 9/11, badouns found themselfs in great danger of any possible change of this policy and all what it could bring in changing dynamics of ME politics.

Today the reaction to the Suadi prince's commands to Iraqis of what is good for them , was a matter of touching that conflict.

 

As for the other issue of Iran role in Iraq , what made Iraqis nervous is the Prince call in the US forign committe for Bush administration to retreat its support for the current political process on same bases that slougtered Shia over the years accusing Shia Iraq being with Iranian harts.. Iraqis considered that call as the last step that Suadi can do to stop the process before the refrendum after all attempts to indirectly sponsering and supporting terrorists in killing Iraqis . This would flag two things: First one is that Iraqis are still not very confident of the strong wiil by Pres Bush in standing behind their choice to build the free Iraq. Second is that they still under estimate their real self power in determining their destinay.

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In every country in every nation and in every religion we find the good and the bad.

Saddam is very far from badouns , he is the evil.

 

في كل امة وفي كل طائفة وفي كل ملة نرى الصالح والطالح وهذا ما أخذناه من أقوال الرسول (ص) ومن كلام الله سبحانه

يقول تعالى

ومن الاعراب من يتخذ ما ينفق مغرمة ويتربص بكم الدوائر عليهم دائرة السوء والله سميع عليم.

ومن الاعراب من يؤمن بالله واليوم الاخر ويتخذ ما ينفق قربات عند الله وصلوات الرسول الا انها قربة لهم سيدخلهم الله في رحمته ان الله غفور رحيم (سورة التوبة 97)

 

أما صدام فما أبعده عن الاعراب والتي تدل عليها سحنته الستالينية حيث اصوله البعيدة

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Omward,

Indeed I was refering to the values not the people.

As for Saddam, as I said he was behaving and proud to be a badouin though he failed to link himself to any of the known tribes. He made it possible though to link himself to some well known SAED family in Kerbala that is decendent of the prophet.

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As for the Iraqi foriegn minster appology on behalf of the Iraqi governement. Many Iraqis found it so unfortunate , many MP members raised their voice against such move by Kurd Minister Mr. Zebaree. They said that he should rather denounce the irrogant statement by the Prince in presence of Zebaree himself praising the Suadi role in supporting Saddam in the Eightees. The support that financed the wipping of 4500 Kurd villages and Halabja criminal chemical gas attack!

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Just to undersatnd how big the current process in Iraq.. His royall majesty the king of Suadi arabia, in a speach to ABC today, said that he is pushing hard for women rights, he hope for the day women in his country might be elligable to get the right to drive a car..!!

 

SO why they shout so loud when Iraqi interior minister said that couble days ago.. In Iraq , under the new constitution, there must be no less than 25% women.. Do you know what is the difference between Hamourabi and Badouin culture, it is not a matter of being able to attend westren colleges, it is history and frameworks!

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http://www.alrafidayn.com/Story/News/N18_10_7.html

 

Interesting report , in Arabic, about a very big debate in Suadi Arabia on a plan for having a Shia Suadi clegry on Suadi TV. !

Just for those who might not know , Arab Shia in Suadi Arabia percentage is more than Sunni Arab in Iraq!

 

They represent majority in the oil rich region of Ehsaa and Kateef.

 

What a considence! I would not comment on which one

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ٍVery interesting article in the London based Alsharq Alwsat newspapre

A teacher was convicted by a Shria court by sever punshment that include public 50 wips weekly for 25 weeks in front of his students .. The reason is :

 

 

"mocking the religion, blocking student from going to wash hands for pray, and cheering Christians and Jews "

 

This is not happened during Talaban but last week in North town of Bakria in Suadi Arabia

 

Same country that some people consider as a mileston in fighting Talaban Jihadist!!

 

سجن معلم وجلده 50 أسبوعياً.. علانية وأمام طلابه في البكيرية

13-11-2005 / 11:07:04

 

الجيران - الرياض - الشرق الاوسط -أصدرت محكمة سعودية أمس حكماً بالسجن لمدة ثلاث سنوات وأربعة أشهر و750 جلدة مقسمة أسبوعياً كل أسبوع 50 جلدة علانية في سوق البكيرية ـ المحافظة التي رفعت فيها القضية ـ على المعلم محمد سلامة الحربي المدرس في مدرسة الفويلق بالبكيرية (شمال السعودية).

وأبدى المعلم في اتصال هاتفي أجرته «الشرق الأوسط» معه امتعاضه الشديد من الحكم واستغرابه لما آلت إليه القضية واصفاً الحكم بأنه جائر.

وذكر أن لائحة الإدعاء والتي صدر الحكم بناءً عليها تضمنت: الاستهزاء بالدين ومنع الطلاب من الخروج للوضوء وتأييد اليهود والنصارى وادعاء تعلم السحر.

وكشف الحربي أن القاضي لم يعترف بالمحامي الذي وكله للدفاع عنه وهو المحامي عبد الرحمن اللاحم ولم يسمع منه شيئا. مؤكداً أنه قدم اعتراضه على الحكم طالباً الاستئناف.

ومن جهته، قال محامي الدفاع عبد الرحمن اللاحم: الحكم قاس ولا يستحق موكلي ذلك مبدياً اصراره على الاستئناف بعد تسلم الحكم خطياً بعد عشرة أيام من تاريخ صدوره أمس.

وأضاف اللاحم أن لائحة الادعاء شملت أيضاً الاستهزاء باللحية وأنه يمثل خطرا على معتقدات الطلاب القائمة على القرآن والسنة النبوية وأنه كان يغلق النوافذ إذا ارتفع صوت الآذان وهم في المدرسة.

واستغرب محامي الدفاع أن يكون في لائحة الادعاء العام أن المعلم الحربي كان لديه شبهة في الدين ولم تحدد ضمن اللائحة ولم توضح.وأكد اللاحم أن كل هذه الادعاءات بنيت على شهادة الطلاب في المدرسة والتي لم تكن وفق نظام الإجراءات الجزائية ومخالفة للنظام.

وبين أن الدفاع طالب بمهلة قبل النطق بالحكم للنظر في القضية بعد أن نطلع على ملفها وشهادة الشهود إلا أن القاضي رفض أن نطلع على أي شيء ورفض أيضاً الاعتراف بوكالتي بالدفاع عن المعلم بحجة أن القضية منتهية.

وقال اللاحم: القاضي أصدر حكمه القاسي بعد 6 ساعات من التداول والنقاشات الشفهية.

وكان محمد سلامة الحربي يعمل معلماً في مدرسة الفويلق قبل أن يفصل من التدريس ويحول إلى العمل الإداري في مركز الإشراف بعد أن قام طالب برفع شكوى على المعلم بتحريض من معلمين في المدرسة بسبب أن الحربي كان يعترض على خروج بعض المدرسين مع الطلاب في استراحات ومن ثم رفعت عليه قضية من الطالب واعتذر عن عدم الحضور في المرة الأولى وكان الاعتذار خطياً للقاضي وبعد ذلك اضطر المعلم بعد أن وقف العديدون ضده أن يلجأ إلى الكتاب في الصحف السعودية لنشر القضية ولفت نظر المسؤولين لما يحدث له من مشاكل بسبب محاربة الإرهاب والتطرف الديني كأي مواطن سعودي.

فيما أشاد عدد من زملاء المعلم الحربي بشخصه وأكدوا أنه أحد المدرسين المتميزين الذين يعملون بكل نشاط وهمة ولهم دور كبير وريادي في النشاط المدرسي داخل المدرسة.

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Guest mustefser

http://www.elaph.com/ElaphWeb/Politics/2005/11/105690.htm

 

In arabic..More details on the case of the teacher..

The cleric jught of Sharia court said he showed mercy with the teacher as not oderdering his head to be shopped off!!

 

The report is on the Suadi sponsered Elaph.com.. Seems the Suadi governemnt is feeling the presure and want to intervine to stop this tragedy of this teacher.. The question is what about those who don't get such previlage of Westrn media coverage..?

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