x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

An Arabic newspaper considers the fate of the Syrian regime

A digest of Arabic newspapers consider the growing isolation of Damascus, challenges facing Libya's rebels and the Arab League's unsatisfactory response to regional protests

Different scenarios for Syrian regime's fall

We must now resign ourselves to the fact that the Syrian regime has wasted every opportunity to implement reforms, and its fate is now in the wind, columnist Abdulrahman Al Rashed wrote in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.

He proposed three possible scenarios for the end of the regime: first, it could be toppled either by an international intervention under Arab cover and upon a UN Security Council decision, with Turkey taking the leading role.

Second, the international community may fail to agree on direct military intervention and opt instead to arm the protesters, which would achieve the objective but with more sacrifices.

Third, the regime could change from within with the current leadership pushed aside. This would offer a plausible political solution to the crisis.

"Of course, it isn't impossible for the regime to get away with more bloodshed amid an international inability to confront it and while it benefits from heavy Iranian support," the columnist wrote. "The regime's survival is most probably out of the question in view of the fierce clampdown it practices."

The Assad regime's strategy is based on intimidation. This is the factor that helped it to rule for 40 years. But the world has changed, and the policy of terror and murder is bringing it ever closer to its end.


Syrian regime grows still more isolated

The Syrian leadership continues to ignore the calls of superpower countries and GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, wrote Mazen Hammad in an opinion piece for the Doha-based newspaper Al Watan.

Breaking the silence about what is happening in Syria marks a great change in official Arab attitudes. This will further isolate Syria and put pressure on the regime there.

So far Syria has shrugged its shoulders at Turkey's condemnation, as Ankara failed to convince Damascus to change its iron-fist policy and to engage immediately in introducing deep political reforms.

Meanwhile, the regime continues to claim that a conspiracy is behind all the unrest, organised by some parties interested in destabilising Syria.

Moreover, pro-regime media advise other Arab countries to introduce political changes, instead of asking Damascus to do so. They also accuse some Arabs of being complicit with the US.

The visit of the Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, to Damascus was a kind of last warning by Turkey, which considers the situation in Syria to be a serious threat to its own internal security.

All indications show that the Syrian regime is gradually losing supporters worldwide, while protests inside the country grow stronger.



Two big challenges now face Libya's TNC

Libya's Transitional National Council (TNC) faces two issues of great importance, the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi said in its editorial.

First, the TNC must find a way to unite and eliminate the ever- increasing differences among its various factions. Second, it must achieve ground military victories that bring it closer to controlling Tripoli and ending the rule of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

Disputes between the two main currents in the opposition have been escalating since the first weeks of the revolution, with each side adopting a different political agenda.

The Islamists are suspicious of the secularists from Europe and the US, a suspicion that was made worse when they started talking about a new westernised Libyan constitution that contradicts Islamic Shariah.

More importantly, most of the militants actually fighting are radical Islamists, while the secular liberals focus on making international connections that have gained the TNC the recognition of more than 30 states.

Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the TNC, has recently recommissioned Mahmoud Jibril to form a new cabinet; his first one was made mainly of secular figures, which infuriated the Islamists.

"The new cabinet is a difficult test for Mr Abdul-Jalil's position and his ability to unite the rebels … and end the dissent."


The Arab League's time has expired

In the Lebanese daily Annahar, columnist Rajeh el Kouri asked a question: "Does anyone doubt for a moment that the winds of change blowing across the region must sweep away the Arab League and dump it in the Nile River?"

Under its former secretary general Amr Moussa, the Arab League was nothing more than a disabled and marginalised institution, and it soon turned into a corpse.

But as the Arab Spring brought in Nabil Al Arabi as the new secretary general, people had renewed hope that the league would earn a different image and adopt a more active attitude towards the plights of the Arab world.

But nothing has changed; the League's reaction to events in Syria was evasive to say the least.

Mr Al Arabi's statements on current issues in Arab countries have been meaningless. He implied that the situation in Syria is complicated, which isn't anything new.

In Damascus three weeks ago he said Syrian security forces were merely safeguarding security and protecting public property.

He even mentioned that certain elements are terrorising the citizens and so the army must not be withdrawn from the streets.

"It is indeed the League of permanent Arab misery," concluded the writer.


* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk