Editorial: The Saudi coalition will investigate Sanaa. Will Assad do the same for Syria?

Bashar Assad
Updated 11 October 2016
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Editorial: The Saudi coalition will investigate Sanaa. Will Assad do the same for Syria?

It has always been true that “the first casualty of war is the truth.” This is even more true when one deals with a malicious regime like that of Syria’s Assad — a regime which has — from Day 1 — resorted to denial and to imposing a deliberate media blackout to cover-up its brutal retaliation and deliberate targeting of civilians which has been ongoing for the past five years.
 
Not only is the Assad regime in denial, but also its response to the global intolerance of its crimes is simply laughable. While one can dispute facts such as which of the opposing sides in the Syrian civil war waged a particular attack, there possibly can’t be a dispute that a civil war is actually happening in Syria.
 
You may think that this is unimaginable, but the reality is that it has actually happened. You see, not only does the Assad regime deny that it used chemical weapons, or that it continues to barrel bomb its own people, it also gets its state-owned media to launch campaigns promoting tourism in Syria and claiming that contrary to what we all know, Syria is safe and being flooded with tourists.
 
Of course, this is absolutely ludicrous, as anyone in their right mind would be able to tell you that it is TERRORISTS, not tourists, who are flooding Syria today, and we all take the blame for collectively failing to draw a line to Assad’s crimes early on.
 
Now compare all of this with yesterday’s Saudi-led coalition’s response to accusations that it has targeted a funeral hall in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, resulting in the killing and injuring of many.
 
Within hours, the coalition had issued a statement and coalition spokesperson Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri made himself available at all times to answer all media inquiries — in person, over the phone, by e-mail and even by WhatsApp!
 
Furthermore, and rather than living in denial — such as what the Assad regime would have done, the coalition issued additional comments stating that it will “immediately investigate this case along with the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen.”
 
Also, rather than cursing the US for flagging its concern (again, which is something the Assad regime would have done), the Saudi-led coalition said that it would “seek advice from the US to help with their experience in such investigations.”
 
That said, it is a given that any life lost is a life too many, and our thoughts and prayers will always be with the Syrian people against their brutal, blood-thirsty dictator, and with the Yemeni people and their legitimate government against the Houthi religious extremists, who under their slogan of “Death to America” have brought nothing but death and destruction to their own country.


Editorial: Iran must not go unpunished

Updated 16 May 2019
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Editorial: Iran must not go unpunished

  • Arab News argues that while war is always a last resort, an international response is a must to curb Iranian meddling
  • US strikes worked well when Assad used chemical weapons against his people

The attacks on Tuesday by armed drones on Saudi oil-pumping stations, and two days beforehand on oil tankers off the coast of Fujairah in the UAE, represent a serious escalation on the part of Iran and its proxies, should the initial conclusions of an international investigation prove to be accurate. 

Riyadh has constantly warned world leaders of the dangers that Iran poses, not only to Saudi Arabia and the region, but also to the entire world. This is something former President Obama did not realize until the Iran-backed Houthis attacked the US Navy three times in late 2016. The recent attacks on oil tankers and oil pipelines were aimed at subverting the world economy by hitting directly at the lifeline of today’s world of commerce. Tehran should not get away with any more intimidation, or be allowed to threaten global stability. 

It was in 2008 that the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz called upon the US to “cut off the head of the snake,” in reference to the malign activities of Iran. Nearly a decade later, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman referred to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the “new Hitler of the Middle East.” We are in 2019 and Iran continues to wreak havoc in the region, both directly and through its well armed proxies. Crown Prince Mohammed was therefore clearly correct when he argued that appeasement does not work with the Iranian regime, just as it did not work with Hitler. The next logical step — in this newspaper’s view — should be surgical strikes. The US has set a precedent, and it had a telling effect: The Trump strikes on Syria when the Assad regime used Sarin gas against its people.

We argue this because it is clear that sanctions are not sending the right message. If the Iranian regime were not too used to getting away with their crimes, they would have taken up the offer from President Trump to get on the phone and call him in order to reach a deal that would be in the best interests of the Iranian people themselves. As the two recent attacks indicate, the Iranians insist on disrupting the flow of energy around the world, putting the lives of babies in incubators at risk, threatening hospitals and airports, attacking civilian ships and putting innocent lives in danger. As the case always is with the Iranian leadership, they bury their heads in the sand and pretend that they have done nothing. Nevertheless, investigations indicate that they were behind the attack on our brothers in the UAE while their Houthi militias targeted the Saudi pipelines.

Our point of view is that they must be hit hard. They need to be shown that the circumstances are now different. We call for a decisive, punitive reaction to what happened so that Iran knows that every single move they make will have consequences. The time has come for Iran not only to curb its nuclear weapon ambitions — again in the world’s interest — but also for the world to ensure that they do not have the means to support their terror networks across the region. 

We respect the wise and calm approach of politicians and diplomats calling for investigations to be completed and all other options to be exhausted before heading to war. In the considered view of this newspaper, there has to be deterrent and punitive action in order for Iran to know that no sinister act will go unpunished; that action, in our opinion, should be a calculated surgical strike.