‘Halal’ for Iran but ‘haram’ for Saudi Arabia?

Egyptian columnist Fahmy Howeidy does not tire of saying Iran’s regional rise is due to the absence of Arab unity. It is indisputable that Iran became stronger following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Saudi Arabia considered that war as handing Iraq to Iran on a golden plate.

Iran has since established more than 60 militias that are supervised by its Revolutionary Guards. It has launched TV channels and newspapers, planted wings affiliated with it in Gulf countries, invaded Beirut via its proxy Hezbollah in May 2008, destroyed Lebanon and whatever is left of Yemen, infiltrated Africa, spread political and religious fundamentalism, and fuelled sectarianism.

Challenging Iran

However, the story today is different as Iran’s wings are being clipped. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia established the biggest international alliance since the 1990 Gulf War to support legitimacy in Yemen and curb Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

On Dec. 15, Riyadh announced the establishment of a 40-state Islamic military alliance against terrorism. It has, within the context of an Arab project, worked to protect entities from Iranian infiltration, whether in the Horn of Africa, Syria or Lebanon.

Iran became stronger following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. However, the story today is different as Iran’s wings are being clipped

Turki Al-Dakhil

This is an authentic and serious Arab project, but Howeidy does not acknowledge that. He has even stood against Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen, and described participating in the Saudi-led coalition as “shameful."

This is the same Howeidy who said he was charmed while meeting then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Now that there is an Arab project under Saudi leadership, why do the likes of Howeidy sympathize with Iran and its destructive project?

This article first appeared in Okaz newspaper on Feb. 24, 2016.
Turki Al-Dakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
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