Intra-Arab Divisions Present as Arab Social Media Reacts to Istanbul Attacks

Forensic police work the site at Ataturk airport on June 28, 2016 in Istanbul after a suicide attack left at least 36 people dead

JAFFA, Israel – Several hashtags have been launched on Arab social media, including the popular #Turkey_is_not_alone, as tens of thousands have reacted to Tuesday’s attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.

The reactions, including for opinion makers and regional leaders, bring to the fore the divisions within the Arab world, between Iran’s and Syria’s supporters and detractors.

An anti-Tehran Arab Iranian journalist tweeted: “The attack in Turkey serves nobody but Iran and [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, and we must not rule out that the intelligence services of these countries masterminded it in a bid to change Turkey’s position on Syria.”

Conversely, the Lebanese pro-Syrian Hezbollah politician Wiaam Wahab wrote: “The attack at the Istanbul airport is deplorable, but that criminal Erdogan is determined to have his country pay the price for his hatred and illusions, and his open-door policy towards terrorists.”

Qatari Foreign Minister Muhamad Ben Abdelrahman, whose country is perpetually accused by Syria of funding the Islamic State, wrote: “The killing of innocent people is inhumane. We condemn the bombings at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and offer Turkey our solidarity.”

Syrian journalist Mousa Alomar tweeted: “We stand with Turkey. Whoever carried out an attack against innocent civilians, most of whom are Turkish and Arab Muslims who happened to be there, is a despicable terrorist.”

Saudi political scientist Dr Kassab Aluteibi wrote: “Our hearts goes out to Turkey and our prayers are with the innocent people who died. What happened today was meant to unravel security and harm tourism. The terrorists won’t win.”

Mohanna Alhubail, the director of Istanbul’s Center for the Studies of the Muslim Orient, wrote: “The meaning of today’s attack is that Turkey is facing an ugly terrorist war, supported by several elements.”

Khaled Abu Anass, a member of the Syrian jihadi organization Ahrar Alsham (Levant Freedom Fighters), wrote: “The Syrians owe a lot to Turkey, which continues to pay for its positions on Islamic issues… If you look at those who gloat at Turkey’s misery you’ll realize that we face the same enemy.”

The Jordanian Islamic columnist and analyst Yasser Zaatreh wrote: “A new crime at Istanbul’s airport. It looks like the work of the Kurdish Workers’ Party, as some Kurdish leaders sought to exploit Turkey’s involvement in Syria and Iraq.”

Shnaar tweeted: “IS can set off bombs in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but is unable to light a match in Iran or Israel. How interesting.”


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