Feelings of ‘brotherhood’: World Cup brings flashes of Arab unity

Feelings of 'brotherhood': World Cup brings flashes of Arab unity

Saudi Arabia’s stunning victory over Argentina at the World Cup brought unity among the Arab nations.

Saudi Arabia celebrated their 2-1 win over Argentina at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

After Saudi Arabia’s Salem Altawsari curled a ball into the back of the net from inside the penalty area to seal a World Cup victory over Argentina, Arabs in the divided Middle East found something to celebrate.

Such Arab solidarity is hard to find and fleeting when it comes. But Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup provided a moment when many in the Arab world rallied behind Doha and the Saudi team’s success.

That sustained momentum will be tested on Saturday when Saudi Arabia faces Poland – and regional tensions and renewed economic competition between the countries will reignite.

“All Arab countries are celebrating because the Arab team won,” said 27-year-old Saudi Arabia’s Rakhan Youssef after Arab fans congratulated the Green Falcons on their victory in Doha, Qatar.

“Even the Emir of Qatar attended our tournament. … There is a feeling now that we are all brothers. That is why I am speechless. »

read more: FIFA 2022: Saudi Arabia beats Argentina in surprise World Cup

Despite differing views on religion and faith and regional rivalries, the month-long World Cup in powerhouse Qatar has so far seen a united Gulf Arab nation.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the two leaders who boycotted Qatar two years ago, attended the tournament’s opening match.

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said Qatar’s hosting of the tournament was “a milestone for all Arabs” and attended the opening ceremony. This sentiment was shared by others.

“We are proud to be here for the first World Cup in an Arab country,” said Morocco coach Walid Regragui.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also praised Qatar, while dismissing criticism from journalists — and by extension, rights groups.

“Qatar has done a fantastic job in hosting the World Cup. … Qatar has never pretended that everything is perfect,” Safadi said.

“We have our differences, we have our disagreements, but that should not detract from the fact that Qatar has really put together a unique World Cup in every sense of the word. »

However, two days later, Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina by winning their first match of the tournament, with Altawsari doing a cartwheel and wrestling. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, watches the game, carrying a Saudi flag over his shoulder.

Majid Al Duwaijri, a veteran Saudi sports journalist, even cried on air after the game.

“This is the most beautiful and important moment of my life and my 30-year media career,” he said, his voice choking. “I cannot express myself because of the complexity of my feelings towards this great historic victory.”

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman declared a public holiday on Wednesday to commemorate the victory. Inside and outside the kingdom, people happily waved the country’s green and white flag to celebrate.

The Saudi victory, which Oghas described as “restoring the glories” of the kingdom, is part of a new, more nationalist Saudi Arabia emerging under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

read more: Mohammed bin Salman sworn in as Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia

Source: AP

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