Undoubtedly, most people in Saudi Arabia and the wider Arab world are angry at the Russian intervention in Syria, as it comes in the context of supporting Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which has committed the most atrocious massacres in the history of the region. Despite that, urging young men to join the war under the pretext of jihad to fight the Russian invaders is a dangerous development that violates state laws.
These men who will fight the Russians will later fight their own countries, governments and families. Who will be held responsible when security authorities capture a young man trying to sneak back into his country? Will it be the man who incited him, or the deceived young man himself? Unfortunately, those imprisoned today are the ones who were deceived, while those who incited them and misled them sleep soundly.
Calling for murder is considered a dangerous act as per all systems and sets of rules. Therefore, due to the fact that it falls within the context of collective work, it is more than an individual opinion.
The call to fight in Syria reminds us of the history of jihad in Afghanistan, which changed ideology in Saudi Arabia for the worse. Thousands of young men left Saudi Arabia to fight on behalf of the Americans. The war ended with the establishment of a new era of chaos as terror groups emerged. The world still suffers from these groups.
We are all angry at Russian intervention in Syria. Despite that, we must not let history repeat itself in the form of calls for jihad.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Saudi authorities continue to pursue Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda cells, which are extensions of jihad in the Afghan war. They planted the ideology of political extremism and the concept of using power outside the state’s rule to achieve change.
We are all angry at Russian intervention in Syria, because it aims to support the Assad regime, Iran and its militias in this unjust war against people under the false pretext of a war on terrorism. Despite that, we must not let history repeat itself in the form of calls for jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, then against the Americans in Iraq, then Assad in Syria, and now the Russians in Syria.
The only party that has the right to call for war is the state itself. As such, calls for jihad challenge the legitimacy of state institutions, raise hostility against Saudi Arabia, and violate international decisions against inciting terrorism.
Why do these people continue to incite others despite being warned against and prohibited from doing so? We used to think they were ignorant, but they have continuously incited until they succeeded in turning international public opinion against Saudi Arabia and Muslims in general.
The damage is grave because this incitement serves hideous organizations such as ISIS, which have committed crimes in the name of Islam and Muslims, and harmed the Syrians and their cause.
When the Syrian regime began committing its massacres against its own people in mid-2011, its wish was that extremists join the opposition so the world believes its allegations that it is fighting terrorists. Back then, most Syrians revolting against the regime were citizens defending their homes and lives, and foreign fighters had not joined them yet.
In order to accuse the opposition of extremism, the Assad regime released detainees affiliated with terror groups, and justified its expanded murder operations by claiming that opposition forces were from Al-Qaeda. Its wish came true, as those calling for jihad got involved and began to send young men to Syria.
These young men do not believe in any of the Syrian revolution’s principles. Their only concern is to establish an extremist religious state where there is no place for most Syrians. The features of this state are as brutal as the Assad regime.
Assad and Iran want the battle to expand, and a clash to occur between Russia and the Gulf. As such, those inciting people in the Gulf to fight the Russians in Syria serve Tehran.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Assad and Iran also want the battle to expand, and a clash to occur between Russia and the Gulf. As such, those inciting people in the Gulf to fight the Russians in Syria serve Tehran. As usual in every crisis, they do this either out of ignorance or their desire to widen the clash and undermine the society in which they live.
As for the Russians in Syria, they will lose regardless of calls for jihad, as before their arrival in Syria, Hezbollah had gone there and failed, then the Iranians joined in and also failed. Now the Russians are trying to restore a system on the verge of collapse.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.
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