x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Arab newspapers discuss the status of Arab parliaments

They also comment on Washington's approach to Syria's violent crackdown on peaceful protesters and the the possible effect of pardoning of Egypt's ousted regime

Sectarian strife adds to Kuwait crises

"What happened is deplorable," wrote Tareq al Homayed, editor of the pan-Arab Asharq Al Awsat daily, commenting on the fight that broke between Kuwait's Sunni and Shiite MPs.

"How is it possible that after fifty years of parliamentary work in Kuwait, matters got to the point of fist fighting? This would have been acceptable had it happened thirty years ago, but not today, as the whole world is watching."

The problem with the Kuwaiti parliament is that most of its crises aren't about domestic affairs or the public interest.

They rather revolve around international politics that influence Kuwait and its position in the international political arena.

"The same parliament has previously witnessed disputes about the assassination of the terrorist Imad Moghnieh, about the Bahrain events, about Iraq and Iran. It recently demanded a severance of ties with Syria.

It is extremely bizarre, for this parliament grants Kuwaiti politicians the freedom to act according to facts and capabilities rather than slogans."

But the question to be raised here is: what about the interests and claims of ordinary citizens who await parliamentary action to regulate and organise their daily lives?

Washington lenient on Assad regime

The US administration has not yet taken a strong stand against Syrian President Bashar Assad, said the pan-Arab Al Quds Al Arabi daily in its editorial.

"It is unlikely that Mr Assad owns any assets in the US and European banks," the newspaper said. "The sanctions are symbolic; they are a warning message from greater, more stringent sanctions that could be imposed if the Syrian security forces were to continue their violent crackdown on the angry protests throughout Syrian towns."

Washington is still avoiding the Syrian dossier, the editorial said. While it supported a forceful change of regime in Libya and participated in the military operations there, Mr Obama has been careful in avoiding the Syrian dossier for as long as possible.

At the same time, while the US has heavily invested in the Libyan rebels, it is purposely distancing itself from the Syrian opposition.

Mr Obama's administration is well aware that the Syrian issue is much more complicated. The Syrian regime is a powerful one with a massive repressive machine.

Mr Obama sees no alternative at the moment to Mr Assad at the helm of Syria.

Arab parliaments are futile

Abeedli al Abeedli, the editor of the Bahraini Al Wasat newspaper, wrote that the current state of the Kuwaiti parliament is, in many ways, just a reflection of the state of parliamentary opposition in the Arab world.

Arab parliaments suffer from an ideological regression and a period of low-achievement, at a time when new cabinets in those same countries are taking initiatives and asserting their status.

"The Kuwaiti parliament exemplifies what many Gulf oppositions suffer from today," he said. "In fact, Gulf nationals have grown to sense a weariness in the body of their opposition leaderships, a weariness that will not be lifted by the use of cosmetics or relaxants."

With over half a century of vibrant legislative experience under its belt, the Kuwaiti parliament is not the place where MPs are expected to take off their aqals (headcover) and start whipping each other.

"It was embarrassing that the police were the ones who intervened to end the brawl between those who are supposed to be the representatives of the people," the editor said.

One would hope that what happened in the Kuwaiti parliament is just a one-off incident that would not become the pattern.







Pardon for former regime is a mistake

Egypt's ruling military council has denied any plans to pardon the ousted president Hosni Mubarak and members of his family.

The move is laudable, wrote the columnist Mazen Hammad in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.

The supreme council of the armed forces did well by confirming that it does not interfere in the legal proceedings of the former regime's symbols.

The youth revolution in Egypt would not have happened if it were not for the blatant corruption that led Mr Mubarak and his family to use the country as a private personal-gain farm.

Any breakaway at the moment from the spirit of the revolution would be a fatal blow to its principles and would paint a negative model for popular uprisings.

To pardon the deposed president or any member of his family for the atrocities they had committed against the people would be nothing short of a burial of the revolution.

"Leniency towards Mubarak, his family or any of their corrupt accomplices would mean selling out on the rights of the people," the writer added.

Accountability is an intrinsic part of the revolution notwithstanding the profiles of the embezzlers who never hesitated to thieve the people's livelihoods."



* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem