April 7, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 6863

Saudi Writer: It Is Our Duty To Condemn Terror Attacks Against Civilians – They Harm Innocent People And Damage The Arab Reputation

April 7, 2017
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 6863

Following the April 3, 2017 metro bombing in St. Petersburg, Russia, in which 14 people were killed, leading Saudi journalist Sa'id Al-Surayhi, who writes for the Saudi daily 'Okaz, penned an op-ed for the paper calling on the Arabs to condemn the attack regardless of Russia's involvement in the Middle East. Condemning all terror attacks, he wrote, is a human duty no matter who carried them out and who is targeted.

In his April 5, 2017 article, Al-Surayhi also discussed attacks in Israel, and stressed the Arab duty to condemn operations against civilians in cafes, in the streets, and on buses – but excluded operations against the Israeli military in bases and camps.

The St. Petersburg bombing. Source:, April 5, 2015

The following are excerpts from his article:[1]

"Whether we agree with Russia or take issue with it, whether we think that its involvement in Syria helps the Iranians or is part of the rivalry for the Western presence in the region – one way or another, it is our duty to condemn the bombing in the St. Petersburg metro, which has the clear markings of a terrorist operation. This, provided that we approach this event in the context of terrorist actions that afflict many countries and target innocent people, and without addressing whether the policies employed by the [victims'] countries of origin are right or wrong.

"Condemning terrorist operations [and expressing] sympathy for the victims are human duties that must be performed after a terrorist operation – meaning that they must be condemned regardless of the perpetrator or the target.

"The experience that we have amassed has ripened our realization that there is a difference between military action against enemy armies and terrorist action against civilians, who are still innocent despite our rivalry with their countries and our war against their armies. This is because in the past, we Arabs would loudly cheer and praise [terror attacks] like [the one in St. Petersburg] carried out by some Palestinian factions against civilians in Israel, without any internal disagreements among the Arabs except for the terminology they used: Some called the terrorist action 'martyrdom-seeking,' while others made do with 'sacrifice' or 'suicide.'

"These actions greatly harmed the reputation of the Palestinians' struggle to restore their rights and land, as well as the reputation of the Arabs who supported these [terrorist] actions and saw them as a model for the struggle against those who steal land and occupy the homeland.

"To remove all doubt, we must stress that what we are speaking of here is action against civilians in cafes, in the streets, and on buses, rather than against the army in its bases and camps.

"Therefore, we will finish where we started – which is [to say that] condemning terrorist action is a condemnation of the action itself, regardless of who the perpetrators are and who the victims are."


[1] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), April 5, 2017.

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