17.04.2018 Author: Yuriy Zinin

Arab Media’s Take on the Salisbury Incident


Opinions voiced by the Arab media regarding the Salisbury incident range from bewilderment to skepticism and outright criticism. Upon examining the accusations voiced against Russia, all of Arab authors point out a long list of inconsistencies found across the Western narrative indicating that London is simply falsifying the data.

The number of these voices filled with doubt in the Arab media has been growing continuously since the incident unfolded, especially against the background of London’s allegations coinciding with the 15th anniversary of the beginning of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, a conflict launched under the pretext of Baghdad allegedly possessing weapons of mass destruction.

The clearly fabricated case of the runaway colonel. Sergei Skripal, is clearly not the first, as we’ve witnessed false-flag attacks like it before, the Al-Manar newspaper notes. This is nothing but yet another piece of disinformation produced by a virtual factory of Anglo-Saxon falsifications, which has been hard at work producing false news for decades, most of which has been aimed at discrediting various Arab governments.

Professor of Chemistry at the University of Alexandria, Ashraf Al-Bayyumi associates the Salisbury incident with the propaganda campaign launched by the US regarding the alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta.

A number of commentators would perceive London’s allegations as an attempt to improve the UK’s reputation in Europe which has been shattered by ongoing Brexit negotiations. They would argue that Brexit has destroyed the influence London enjoyed across the EU and among NATO states. Therefore, in order to put such a perception on the back-burner, London, with the assistance of Washington, launched a false-flag attack in a bid to bring European countries together in a wave of “anti-Russian solidarity.” It’s been pointed out that there’s fears that after the departure of London from the EU, remaining members will be less willing to accept or act upon such anti-Russian sentiments.

Other Arab commentators emphasize that the Salisbury incident was staged as a kind of reaction to the recent speech Russia’s President Vladimir Putin delivered to the Federal Assembly, in which he announced the country has all the tools necessary to repulse those who try to damage the interests of Moscow and its allies.

The continuous strengthening of Moscow’s positions on the international stage, and its growing role in the peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict hand-in-hand with Damascus, reestablishing Syria’s territorial integrity and taking back regions occupied by foreign-sponsored terrorists both make the West fairly concerned about the political influence it’s going to enjoy in the future. The West perceives Moscow’s growing influence on the international stage as a major challenge, Arab analysts note.

The Qatari Al-Watan newspaper looks at London’s disinformation and diplomatic campaigns through the prism of global politics, noting that the United States is trying to use London’s narrative in a bid to force EU countries into introducing new sanctions against Moscow. The United States is betting on deterring Russia, in such areas as strategic balance of power and the military stand off with NATO forces, while making attempts to damage its strengthening cooperation with Turkey and Iran.

The newspaper argues that behind this recent anti-Russian escalation we can notice Washington’s desire to resist the emergence of a new world order that will be multipolar in its essence. Yet, Al-Watan’s analysts are convinced that its ongoing attempts to discredit its rivals on the international stage may result in Washington itself losing credibility at an ever increasing pace. The situation with Ukraine, as NATO countries made a rapid advance towards the borders of the Russian Federation pushed the latter to produce a powerful response in the form of returning Crimea through a popular referendum and the support of Russian enclaves in the southeast of Ukraine, adds the Al-Watan.

A number of Arab authors believe that the Salisbury incident can backfire in London’s face. It has no real facts proving alleged Russian guilt, as international organizations are now examining actual evidence taken on the site of the Salisbury incident and the conclusions they may possibly make could mark the end of Theresa May’s political career.

The ground is shaking under the feet of the sitting British PM as a number of British political parties, in particular the opposition Labor Party, refuse to buy May’s angry statements, notes the UAE’s Al-Ain media source. The current tactics of the British PM is based on the consideration of all outcomes of the Salisbury incident. However, it’s unlikely that she anticipated the possibility of the runaway agent Sergei Skripal recovering to give testimony about what has actually happened. That will drive Teresa May into a political corner she will not be able to escape. It’s also possible that the ongoing investigation will also reveal the role played by intelligence services from the United States and Ukraine amid this false-flag attack.

Yury Zinin, Leading Research Fellow at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.