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Impossible to agree with Brahimi's hope

Lakhdar Brahimi is still optimistic about a settlement in Syria, but nobody else can see why, an Arabic-language editorial says. Other comment topics today: Palestinians as victims and special-needs Emiratis.

Syrian envoy seems to think dialogue could still solve a mess that is well past its solve-by date

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, still clings to a glimmer of hope that there could be a political solution that would spare Syrians more bloodshed. But even his cautious optimism now looks archaic, according to the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.

Mr Brahimi's Sunday call on foreign players to convince the two warring sides in the Syrian conflict to start a dialogue is far from realistic, the paper said.

Mr Brahimi warned that if the Syrian crisis were to continue, the country would face "Somalisation, which means warlords, and the Syrian people will be persecuted by those who control their fate".

The civil war currently raging in the country could cost as many as 100,000 lives in 2013 if a solution is not reached very soon, Mr Brahimi said.

"But Somalisation has taken root in Syria almost a year ago and warning against now it is too late," the newspaper said. "The warlords are already there on Syrian territories, spawned by foreign aid, most of which comes from Arabs states."

The foreign players involved in the Syrian conflict "do not want dialogue to happen, and are actually fuelling the civil war to push it to a military conclusion, letting the Syrian people pay the price."

Besides, Mr Brahimi speaks about dialogue without specifying which parties will be invited to take part in it, the paper added. "Is it going to be the oppositionist [National] Syrian Coalition alone? Or also the Kurds who have already started delineating the borders of their future state? What about Jabhat Al Nusra, the largest and most effective force on the ground? and the list goes on."

Calls for dialogue sounded more practical in the early months of "the Syrian intifada", before it turned into a full-blown, foreign-backed armed revolution.

Likewise, dialogue would have made sense to the opposition before the Syrian regime unleashed its heavy artillery and devastating air raids, the paper added.

"The tear is too wide to mend now for Mr Brahimi - as was the case for his predecessor, Kofi Annan. The Syrian crisis has become too complex and far more difficult to resolve.

"The fact is that Syria now is a battlefield for a number of internal and external forces, with international superpowers and influential regional players joining the fray."

Almost two years of the Syrian uprising tell us that the regime, headed by President Bashar Al Assad, will not back down, and will keep fighting until its last man.

"President Al Assad will not leave Damascus - contrary to Mr Brahimi's prediction - while the opposition's mind is made up that it will not enter into a dialogue before his departure."

Meanwhile, civilians suffer and the country loses its assets.

Palestinians are target for Arab conflicts

Since the 1970s, Palestinians have been a tool in all Arab conflicts - an easy target for any party having an issue with the regime or the opposition, Abdelilah Belqziz opined in an article in the Sharjah-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

Whenever a domestic power struggle came to a head in any Arab country, the Palestinians had to pay the price in blood, the writer said.

In the Lebanese civil war, Palestinians were forced into acute internal strife. Some sought to change a domestic power struggle into a Lebanese-Palestinian conflict. Others used Palestinian weaponry to defeat their political rivals. In all this, Palestinian blood was shed in Bourj Hammoud, Tel Al Zaatar, Sabra and Shatila, and elsewhere.

During the Gulf war, Iraq invaded Kuwait and the coalition forces launched Operation Desert Storm to drive the Iraqis out again. And Palestinians' blood was shed in a conflict they were not a party to.

When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, Palestinians were killed, detained and displaced.

And now, Palestinians in Syria are once again paying the price of a conflict between the regime and the opposition, one they have nothing to do with, he wrote. The Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp was attacked. Ironically, Palestinians in Syria had better human, political and civil rights than their brothers enjoyed in other Arab countries.

Provide more support for special needs

It is a known fact that most Emiratis with special needs get low-paid jobs, if any. So denying them social support after they get those jobs can be a stumbling block on the way to a decent life, observed Sami Al Reyami, editor of the Dubai-based newspaper Al Emarat Al Youm.

Emiratis with disabilities receive a monthly benefit of Dh4,500 from the Ministry of Social Affairs. The estimated salary in case they find a job in the private sector would usually range between Dh6,000 and Dh7,000.

So the ministry's monthly support, combined with a salary a person with special needs receives if they get a job, make up no more than Dh11,500 a month. "Is this too much for a person with special needs?" asked the writer rhetorically.

Although the total amount is not satisfactory, it still is enough to encourage people with disabilities to make greater efforts in learning and training to enter the job market. This is much better than depriving them of that subsidy, forcing them to stay at home and be content with their lot in life, the writer noted.

"Every one must work towards helping the disabled to be productive individuals in society; and retaining the allowance is a good incentive for these people to do that," he said.

* Digest compiled by Translation Desk


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