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Another view on Mideast domino effect

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Another view on Mideast domino effect


For insight into events in Middle East we spoke to Nabil Al Khatib, the Executive Editor of the Al-Arabiya TV channel.

Riad Muasses, euronews:

Nabil Al Khatib, we’ve seen big demonstrations in Cairo, deaths in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain. Is this a contagious revolution where all cases are similar?

Nabil Al Khatib, Executive Editor, Al-Arabiya

I don’t think all the situations in the Arab world are similar, but the common denominator in all these countries is corruption and stagnant politics, and the youth are looking for their future horizons.

All these are common factors, and they spur the population to demand change.


Is what you’ve said applicable in Bahrain?

Nabil Al Khatib:

Bahrain is different because the demonstrators belong to a religious group, and that gives the impression it’s a religious problem. And that adds grist to the mill for the authorities to aggravate the religious question because the protesters are, in the main, shi-ites. The sunnis are shying away from being implicated in a wider plan controlled by Iran.

Whether or not that’s true, it gives that impression, and that’s what the sunni population think.


Do you think that this could extend to other Gulf states, like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Oman?

Nabil Al Khatib:

I think the question remains open in all of those countries, but the problems are quite different when we talk about Gulf states. That’s down to the comfortable lives these populations have compared with the other countries, because they’re oil producers, and they’re rich. But that doesn’t stop these kinds of movements.


The United States has expressed its concern about the events in Bahrain, and everything of course, that affects its interests in the Gulf. Can you see any threat to US interests, bearing in mind what’s happening in Bahrain?

Nabil Al Khatib:

I’m inclined to say that the American position is very ambiguous. We all thought that the US position on the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes would have been to support them. Because the general impression was that the US always defends its allies in the region and maintains the status quo. But its position has completely changed Tunisia its ally in the fight against terrorism, or Egypt, trying to maintain stability in the region and good relations with Israel. But the US backed the changes in these countries. The big question is how far can it go in supporting these changes, particularly in the Gulf states where the situation is much more sensitive because what’s at stake is terrorism, oil, and relations with Iran. But from here it looks like the Americans are being hesitant, lacking clarity and in the end, being superficial — not sure that the decisions being taken are good ones.

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