The tide has turned in Egypt and for the first time, the ruling military council is in direct confrontation with the protesting youth demanding its ouster and the transfer of power to a civil government, opined the columnist Abdelrahman Al Rashid in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.
"As reasonable and expected as such a request is, the puzzling question is why did the protesters decide to target the military rulers at this time when the promised free elections are only a few days away?" asked the writer.
As the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took over power, it became clear early on that it was unable to put forth a well-defined plan for the transition of power. It failed to forge itself a position as the protector of the revolution and of the historic transition.
"The only reasonable explanation for such a turn of events is that those powers who hold no chance in winning the elections, namely the youth, are seeking a more substantial change that entirely excludes the military and allows for a civil transitional council that they could be part of, since they are the rebels and the revolution is theirs."
This would also explain the position of the Muslim Brotherhood, poised to be the biggest winner in the elections, who for once sided with the military and against the protesters.
Syria's defiance augurs a different kind of war
The Arab League's deadline for Syrian authorities to sign the protocol that authorises the entry of a team of Arab monitors to examine the situation on the ground is up and everyone is left waiting for the decisions of Arab foreign ministers expected to convene at the league's headquarters for this purpose, said the editorial of the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi daily yesterday.
Reports from the league suggest that sanctions would be imposed on Syria that include a ban on international flights to Damascus, the boycott on imports from Syria and halting banking transactions with Syrian banks. Although many observers agree that such economic sanctions would affect the regime, they fear that their biggest effects would be felt at the popular level.
"The Syrian authorities may have snubbed the Arab League's deadline because they regard it as an affront. But most probably, their position came as result of the substantial support they received from Russia and China on Thursday."
At the closing of the emerging-market countries meeting in Moscow on Thursday, representatives of China and Russia urged Syrian authorities to dialogue with the opposition and warned against foreign intervention without UN backing.
It is clear by now that the regime in Damascus isn't about to capitulate and will fight to the end.
Elections set Morocco as regional role model
The democratic atmosphere that accompanied the Moroccan parliamentary elections this last Friday proclaim the kingdom of Morocco as the example to follow in the Arab region, said the Dubai-based Al Bayan daily in its editorial.
"The Moroccan kingdom was remarkably exceptional in the way it dealt with the popular national movement. As soon as the uprisings of the Arab Spring started spilling from Tunisia, to Libya then to Egypt, the Moroccan monarch stepped up to express his regime's preparedness for making deep radical changes that respond to the demands of the people."
A bouquet of reforms was soon announces, mainly the amendment of the constitution, which the vast majority of the people approved of.
The political parties are entrusted with a historical responsibility in this extraordinary round of elections. As much as they are required to engage in the race with the utmost integrity and transparency, they are also called upon to accept their results with a commitment to political ethics and in an atmosphere of dignified political competitiveness.
Transparency and credibility may be the biggest challenges to the Moroccan people at these early elections. The people are demanding an honest competition that brings together all political parties notwithstanding their ideological affiliation, to define the country's political map.
Israel delusional with fear of the Arab Spring
The best thing about the Arab revolutions is that they threw Israel into a state of delirium, opined the columnist Satea Noureddin in the Lebanese Assafir daily.
At first, the Israelis were taken aback with the sudden activity in the Arab World. They thought it would be a fleeting moment in the history of an otherwise submissive crowd. But, eventually, they had to face the truth that these revolutions carry more weight and influence than they ever thought.
It is the general position in Israel, with the exception of an intellectual minority that agrees that the Arabs are re-inventing themselves. The Israeli fear is justified; it was shared by various western countries that soon decided to change tact.
During its six decades of existence, Israel fed on the weakness of the Arab states around it and their incapacity to hold stable regime that could oversee the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was close to hallucination on Friday when he announced that he wishes for the return of the Mubarak regime in Egypt and that all these Arab "earthquakes" are but a step back sure to yield anti-West and anti-Israel regimes.
* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem