Editorial: Investigation aside, bombing an Iraqi shrine is a reminder of the brutality of war

This file photo shows the Pentagon in Washington. (AP)
Updated 22 October 2016
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Editorial: Investigation aside, bombing an Iraqi shrine is a reminder of the brutality of war

Just like misinformation led to a Saudi-led coalition plane targeting a funeral hall — and ultimately killing Yemeni civilians — earlier this month; yesterday’s airstrike on a Shiite shrine near the Iraqi city of Kirkuk — which has killed 15 women according to AFP — was another tragic reminder of wars, the mistakes that occur in them and how innocent civilians always end up paying the price.
Of course, state-owned Iranian media immediately accused the United States of conducting the strike on the shrine (seemingly without bothering to seek a confirmation from the Pentagon). For its part, Arab News reached out to the US Department of Defense and a spokesperson advised that the matter is still being investigated, adding that they are in the process of finding out whether or not there were any missions by the US-led coalition against Daesh actually flying at the time and place of the above-mentioned strike.
Yet, any well-informed expert on regional affairs will tell you that — apart from the US coalition — there aren’t exactly many options when it comes to the ability of conducting airstrikes in Iraq.
At the same time, one must remember that the US — like Saudi Arabia — subscribes to and respects international treaties. Furthermore, and contrary to Iranian propaganda, it certainly has no interest or intention in targeting mosques, residential areas or funerals.
Now, regardless of the outcome of the Pentagon’s internal investigation, the fact remains that 15 innocent women died in Iraq yesterday. This is truly sad, as any innocent life lost — be it Sunni, Shiite, Christian, Jewish or of any other religion — is a life too many!
It goes without saying that any/all warring nations must continue to do their utmost to avoid civilian causalities; countries that develop weapon systems must continue to enhance their precision technology, or enhance their intelligence gathering to avoid atrocities such as what happened in Kirkuk yesterday.
But most importantly, with only days separating us from the upcoming American elections, all one could hope for is that the next US president gets better advice on the complexities of the Middle East. And that he/she understands that the war — whether physical or ideological — on the likes of Daesh and the equally horrific Iranian-funded militias can’t be won through a remote control, but through close engagement and via a better partnership with long-term and reliable US allies, such as its Arab Gulf allies.


Khaleeji music enthralls Saudi audience

Updated 1 min 20 sec ago
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Khaleeji music enthralls Saudi audience

JEDDAH: Singers Abadi Al-Johar, from Saudi Arabia, and Waleed Al- Shami, from Iraq, were a hit at their first concerts in front of families at King Abdullah Economic City on Friday.
Al-Johar, 64, is a musician, singer and composer. One of the most popular Khaleeji singers in the Gulf, he has composed around 50 albums since he began his musical career in 1968. He earned the title Ikhtabout Al-Oud (Octopus of the Oud) from the late Talal Maddah because of his unmatchable Oud playing.
The Saudi singer is also a member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts. He won a number of awards including an honorary doctorate from the Academy of Arts in Egypt, Best Khaleeji Musician Award from Egypt and the Golden Oud from Rotana.
Al-Shami, 46, is an Iraqi singer and composer who began his musical career in 1999 and has composed four albums.
His career took off after the success of his first album “Musiba” in 2008.
First to perform at the venue was Al-Shami. He sang hit songs such as “Sadmah,” “Eshtaqt Lak,” “Majnouni,” “Ahebah Kolesh” and his most popular song “Hala Hala.”
On stage, he thanked the General Entertainment Authority and BluePlan Media for providing the concert to the public.
“I hope it is not the last time we meet. We must repeat this, here, Riyadh and the Eastern Province. That is a promise,” he said.
Following Al-Shami’s performance, Al-Johar sang hit songs such as “Khalas Erjaa,” “El Mazhareya,” “Khayarteni,” “Daqayeq” and “Hobbak Samaa.”
During his performance, the Saudi legend said: “I am delighted by your presence, I will sing any song you want me to.”
Television presenter Kholud Alnimer attended the concert. “It is very crowded, that means there is a lot of love for these singers,” he told Arab News.
The audience was overjoyed with the music of Waled Al Shami and Abadi Al-Johar.
“It is great to see a Khaleeji concert for the first time in front of families, and it has been done very professionally — looking forward to more.” Nadeem bin Talal, a fan, told Arab News.