Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

The 'Next Day' Region

Anyone following up on the news in our region will find a noticeable recurrence of the expression, “the next day.” For example, since the beginning of war in Gaza, the Palestinians, including Fatah and Hamas, as well as Israelis, Arabs, the United States, and European countries have been repeatedly talking about “the next day.”

The same thing occurred in Baghdad, since Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait until the US invasion of Iraq. The expression was also heard in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and even in the countries neighboring our region, such as Afghanistan, before and after the US occupation, and following the withdrawal as well.

Some countries suffer while waiting for the “next day,” even if their misery is not as painful as in countries where Iranian militias have wreaked havoc, or where the “Muslim Brotherhood” has corrupted their institutions. Their danger is no less than the threat of the Iranian militias, because misinformation is no less harmful than abuse.

Iran is obsessed with “the next day,” the post-Supreme Leader phase, and the consequences of its hostility and expansion in the region, where there is little trust in Tehran, no matter what is said, from Iraq to Lebanon, as well as in Syria, and even in the Gulf States, as well as the entire region.

The relevance of “the next day” is not limited to our region, but affects the influential power that is the United States, which has ignored the danger of “the next day” in Iraq since 2003 and until now, as well as in Afghanistan since the defeat of the Soviet invasion up to the US withdrawal from the country.

Washington also disregarded the danger of the “next day” with the Houthis. The same thing happened in Syria when Obama ignored the red lines that he himself drew there. Washington has overlooked the threat of the “next day” if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon, not only to the region, but also to the world.

Turkiye fell into the same trap when it dealt with the region ideologically, away from the language of interests. Here we see the Turkish president visiting Egypt after a 12-year rupture, and after Ankara bonded with the “Muslim Brotherhood” for a long time, and at the expense of political rationality.

The stories of waiting for the “next day” persist and take us back to the founding of the contemporary Arab countries. In fact, only the Arab countries that actually calculated the “next day” survived. Those are led by Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states.

Whoever actually plans for “the next day” is the one who has a vision that starts first and foremost from faith in the homeland and its security, and upholds the value of the human being and his right to a decent life, away from sectarian or partisan standpoints, or dependency on foreign countries, whether Iran or the United States.

Take, for example, the events in Gaza. The survival of Hamas and Yahya Al-Sinwar represents the essence of the “next day,” not the preservation of humanity or the achievement of the dream state. For Netanyahu, “the next day” means prolonging his political career and escaping prison, as he divided Israel internally before the events of October in an unprecedented manner.

Therefore, the wait for the “next day” and the lists of those waiting will be long, because the first day was based on error and calamity, instead of planning, strategy, or thinking. Political rationality lies in calculating the consequences and giving priority to interests.

This is what is unfortunately missing from most of our region, half of which, or more, is waiting for “the next day.”