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Arabs must take active role in Libyan conflict

A round up of commentary in Arabic language newspapers.

The US president Barack Obama stated recently that Nato's military intervention in Libya is starting to save civilian lives and prevent additional atrocities in residential areas, observed the Emirati Al Bayan daily in its editorial.

What if the UN Security Council hadn't reached a general agreement on the intervention in Libya. Would the world have stood by watching the Libyan people being attacked? Would it have let the Libyan regime attack its own people in the name of nonintervention and respect of sovereignty?

It is true that the right position initially is to say no to the brutality of the Libyan regime, but also say no to foreign military intervention in the country. But practically, such an attitude in the absence of alternatives would only prolong the Libyan people's suffering. That in turn makes intervention necessary to spare civilian lives.

Several Arab countries, mainly GCC states, did well by taking a serious stance at an early stage of the bloody confrontation.

It is unquestionable that the Libyan regime has lost any claim to legitimacy because of the atrocities it has inflicted on protesters. Now more than any time before, Arabs are required to take an active role in redeeming Libya by responding to the justified demands of its people.

Only a major initiative can save Syria

While Syrian citizens are killed in the streets and the entire world is watching, the Syrian regime must take a responsible and wise look at reality if it means to prevent slipping further into bloody confrontations, commented Ali Hamade, a columnist with the Lebanese newspaper Annahar.

This is a delicate phrase that should not allow Syria to repeat the massacres of Hama and Homs.

"There is no point in blaming foreign powers of attempting to sow sedition in Deraa, Latakia, Homs and Damascus. And certainly there is no point in making foolish statements like the one the Syrian information minister made last Friday when, at the height of clashes, he insisted that everything was calm in Syria."

Syria now faces the most crucial predicament in the history of the Assad regime. The regime, which faces an existential crisis at the moment, must thoroughly review every step it makes from now on; any faux pas would be extremely costly now that the fear barrier is lifted and people are no longer reticent to protest against oppression.

The Syrian president has to take historic measures other than the declared "procedures" that were in total disconnect with the actual context of the events. Every hour that passes without a political initiative of comprehensive change puts Syria on the road to a dark unknown.

Same mistakes, but different country

The volume of mistakes that some Arab regimes are making to face the political earthquake that is hitting the region is amazing, observed Tareq Homayed, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab Asharq al Awsat daily.

"The biggest two mistakes that all 'hit' states are repeating are killing protesters and disregard to timing." In Egypt, the Mubarak regime was always three days late. It responded too late to all demands, which led to its fall. Now, the same scenario is being played out in Libya, although the Qaddafi regime isn't only three days late, it is entirely outside the orb of time.

Another case is Yemen. In a recent interview with the Al Arabiya network, the Yemeni president complained that the opposition keeps raising the bar of demands. This is normal since his solutions were always late.

The same string of errors is being repeated now in Syria. During the revolution in Egypt, the Syrian president stated that Syria is not Egypt and reforms must not be coerced. But in reality, Damascus was fast to make concessions under the pressure of protests and promised reforms that should have been implemented a long time ago.

"The solution for all this is to stop killing first and foremost, then come up with a series of genuine solutions that surpass even the demands of the protestors. Matters should not be complicated to a point of total chaos.

Freedom epidemic hits the Arab world

A freedom epidemic is spreading throughout the Arab world, observed Mazen Hammad in his daily column for the Qatari Al Watan daily.

From Mouhamed Bouazizi who burned himself in Tunisia to Bab el Aziziya where Col Qaddafi is entrenched, to Tahrir Square in Cairo and Change Square in Sana'a, revolutions are everywhere.

Historians and writers predict that the contagion will eventually propagate to reach the entire world. It is clear that a new Middle East is being conceived, a region that rebels against the geography, history and demographics that the Sykes-Picot agreement between France and Britain put in place.

"It isn't true that this is the new Middle East that former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice once preached; in her vision, the region was an occupied oil well and a market for cheap goods."

This is a new dawn, a revolution against misery and unemployment, against decades of oppression. At the same time, it is a rebellion over the outcome of the First and Second World Wars. It is a movement to redeem dignity and give real legitimacy to human rights.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem


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