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Planned US drone attacks in Libya threaten fragile country

Journalists writing in Arabic argue drone attacks threaten Libya's stability; and discuss the Islamist ties between Cairo and Ankara and the Arab Spring's imperfect revolution

It would seem that the assassination of the US ambassador in Libya, Christopher Stevens, along with three of his colleagues on September 11 is proving to be a strategic turning point in US politics in North Africa.

This is evidenced by the sudden interest from the US administration in Libya's security situation, said the London-based daily Al Quds Al Arabi in its Wednesday editorial.

Americans were shocked by the assault on the US consulate in Benghazi last month.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton expressed it best when she said she didn't expect that the same people that her country had helped liberate and protect would actually commit such a crime.

US investigations revealed that the Ansar Al Sharia group, an organisation affiliated with Al Qaeda, was responsible for the planning and execution of the deadly assault.

It was an eye-opener to what was really going on in post-Qaddafi Libya.

The Washington Post reported this week that the US administration is considering a series of drone-led air strikes against Al Qaeda bases in North Africa. Other news reports revealed that the US government has already dispatched 20 drones to Libya, where they await the green light to commence their military mission.

The American concern over Al Qaeda grew considerably following the organisation's success in controlling the north of Mali, on the southern Libyan border.

Reports showed that Al Qaeda was able to take substantial quantities of weapons from the former Qaddafi regime's warehouses.

"Surely, the CIA, which will carry out the task of executing the chase and the killings as planned, isn't going to consult with the new Libyan authorities on them," the newspaper opined.

"Libyans may be merely informed of such attacks, since they are busy dealing with their own security chaos and have yet to have a strong national army."

The editorial continued: "US military involvement in Libya threatens to turn the country into another Afghanistan.

"For all their attempts in the past 10 years, US air strikes failed to eradicate Al Qaeda, even though they were able to assassinate some of its leading figures. The evidence to that is that the organisation is still strong and is even branching out into Somalia, North African countries, Yemen and Syria, and it is regrouping in Iraq."

Drone air strikes may backfire on the US and the nascent Libyan authorities, the newspaper said.

As easy as it may seem in the beginning, a US military intervention in the country would be risky and may prove futile.

Chemistry between Cairo and Ankara

The addresses on Sunday by Egypt's president Mohammed Morsi and the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the congress of the latter's ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP), clearly revealed a strong chemistry between the two countries, Emad Eddine Hussein wrote in the Cairo-based daily Al Shorouk.

Mr Erdogan displayed a keenness in backing Mr Morsi, who in turn highlighted the necessity for comprehensive bilateral cooperation, noted the writer, who attended the event.

"Economically speaking, Mr Morsi has received pledges for significant loans, aid and investments from Ankara," he said. "But political coordination is more important."

Both parties agree that the Syrian regime must go, and they have similar views towards Israel.

"Before I went to Ankara, I used to believe, to some extent, some JDP leaders' insistence that their party does not have an Islamic background. But after the congress and close scrutiny of the party's leadership, I became convinced that they are Islamist to the bone," the writer said.

But there is nothing wrong with that when the party's policy on the ground is currently the best model for Islam.

"All politics is about interests. Egypt can gain a great deal from Turkey's current experience, particularly now that Ankara is really eager to he help us, irrespective of the motive," he said.

Imperfect revolution is better than humiliation

The Arab Spring has revived a strange sentiment in people who thought they were alive until the uprisings came along to remind them that they were dead, Abdellah Damoun wrote in the Moroccan newspaper Al Massae.

The writer told the story of a man who was painting a wall when protesters passed by and asked him to join in.

"Where to?" he asked. "To make the revolution," they replied. The painter refused, saying: "I won't go because if the revolution succeeds, I will remain a painter; if it doesn't, I will remain a painter."

This painter realised something many fail to understand.

"Revolution does not fulfil the dreams of ordinary people in terms of wealth and prosperity, it just brings dignity back to them. At times it does not do that and, at times, their condition even becomes worse," the writer said.

"The bitter truth is that the revolution retains the painter as a painter the poor as poor, and the rich as rich.

"The Arab uprisings were not revolutions, but movements of slaughtered peoples - which is why they could not make it to the end, being laden with hunger, poverty and fear."

But history shows there is no perfect revolution, and so the worst revolution remains way better than humiliation.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk


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