x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

An Arabic-language newspaper argues that Syria must listen to Turkey

Editorials in Arabic newspapers comment a golden opportunity for Yemen, the statement of the president of the Arab League on the crisis in Syria and sit-ins in Egypt.

It is in Syria's interest to listen to Turkey

Some Syrian media outlets made a big mistake when they led an incitement campaign against Turkey, observed the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial. Th campaign followed a meeting in the Turkish city of Antalya where the Syrian diaspora opposition demanded comprehensive democratic reform.

Turkish authorities said theirs is a democratic nation and cannot prevent such a meeting. At the same time, they allowed pro-Syrian- regime demonstrators to protest in front of the venue of the conference. Turkey is not governed by a totalitarian regime, and has a pluralist political system that respects freedom of expression.

Ankara has also willingly agreed to receive more than 10,000 Syrian refugees and is providing them with the necessary aid. The foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, called them "our guests". Turkey, he said, would not close its borders to such refugees.

Syria should see the difference between friends like Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who urged it to introduce immediate reforms, and enemies, who would like to take advantage of the bloody repression.

Syria needs to benefit from such leaders as Mr Erdogan and the unique democratic experience of his country that has turned it into a major regional power. The mistake is to continue ignoring calls for reforms, especially from friendly countries such as Turkey.


A golden opportunity arises for Yemen

"The Yemeni crisis is on the verge of being resolved as the GCC countries renewed their mediation initiation, which we hope this time to have a better outcome," noted the Emirati newspaper Al Bayan in its editorial.

"However, a question arises: how can such an initiative go through in the absence of the main actor in the crisis, President Ali Abdullah Saleh?"

Indeed, the GCC initiative has faced many obstacles, and needs stronger support at this time which is critical not only for Yemen but for the whole region.

Containing the crisis in Yemen is part of efforts to ensure regional security. For this reason, it is important to deal responsibly with all parties involved. All need to assume responsibility, assess the risks, and above all make concessions in order to prevent Yemen from sliding into an even worse situation.

The parties to the crisis in Yemen are also to be blamed for a lack of willingness to take part in dialogue. The last meeting of the vice president Abed Rabbo Hadi with the opposition came only after a series of rejections, even though it could be a key step leading to a possible agreement.

All parties should focus on two points. First, they need to push for a swift transition of power in order to fill the political vacuum. Second, they need to work hand in hand with the acting president to ensure peace and stability.


For the Arab League, better late than never

The outgoing secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, has been making statements about the necessity to put an end to the crisis in Syria, and about the division among members of the league on how to deal with it. These have irritated Damascus, observed columnist Daoud al Sharyan in an article for the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat. The regime dismissed the statements as "blatant disregard for the truth".

"The views of Syrian officials in the current crisis have been a far cry from reality so far. Nonetheless their response to Mr Moussa was quite realistic and justified," the columnist wrote.

Mr Moussa decided to break his silence following increasing criticism about the league's position, but his enthusiasm was a personal point of a view.

In its response, Damascus alluded to the fact that the former secretary general is merely trying to polish his image in Egypt in preparation for his presidential campaign, in which he would benefit from being seen to be siding with revolutions.

"Disregarding his intentions, his attitude was beneficial and can be viewed as a development in the Arab political rhetoric regarding the events sweeping through Syrian towns. It reveals a conscientious awakening."

The silence of the Arab League has contributed to worsening the situation in Syria, as it did in Yemen, and greatly harmed the image of the Arab world.


There are too many sit-ins in Egypt

"Once again a new series of sit-ins and strikes has affected many of the state's departments, such as the railways," noted the Cairo-based newspaper Al Gomhuria.

"Many of these strikes reflect demands of certain social classes or interest groups, demands we agree with in principle. However, we cannot accept them uncritically, because we consider them untimely at this particular economic and political juncture."

Egypt is, indeed, undergoing a critical transitional period, which requires dedicated efforts from all segments of society to help the country move forward to a post-revolution era.

The ongoing wave of protests and sit-ins has caused the loss of work time and resources, thus badly affecting many areas of life in Egypt.

This can be acceptable during a revolution, when there was a moment for the public to express its anger, with the aim of overthrowing an authoritarian regime.

But now the situation is different. It is a time for hard work in order to increase production, to meet the needs of an enterprising people.

Definitely this is not a time for endless special demands coming from unemployed people.



* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi