x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Arab opposition is an exact copy of Arab dictatorships

An Arabic-language columnist says the Arab opposition after the uprisings is very like the former dictatorships. Other comment topics today US-Iran talks and Libya.

Arab states have deposed their dictators, but still must learn to get rid of ‘the tyrant inside us’

Check the nature of the Arab opposition that has taken power or has battled to take it, during and after uprisings, and you will find that at times they are a replica of the fallen regimes, Faisal Al Qassem wrote in the Qatari newspaper Al Sharq.

The Arab oppositions have the same symptoms as the ruling Arab regimes. It is no wonder that some opposition was and still is restricted to certain families, the writer noted. The Syrian Communist Party, for instance, is still a property passed around among members of certain families.

There is no difference whatsoever between the Arab regimes and their opponents. Just as the former Syrian president transferred power to his son, the owners of the Arab opposition parties have handed over their respective parties to their sons and relatives, the writer said.

This is not exclusive to Syria. The same phenomenon exists also in Egypt, and quite blatantly in Sudan where some opposition parties have been passed down from parents to sons by inheritance.

The writer quoted the Saudi thinker Abdullah Al Qasemi, who said in 1963 that “every tyrant has a tyrannical opposition that carries the characteristics of the tyrant once in power”.

This, the writer went on, applies also to many common people who have been exposed to dictatorship, especially those who have experienced that for decades.

“It is a known fact that a tyrant transfers his characteristics to ordinary people. The father becomes a small despot at home, the teacher at school, the preacher in the mosque, the boss at work, and so forth,” the columnist argued.

Therefore, there is no point in overthrowing a despot if the general culture that has produced it remains unchanged. This is because the mindset that creates one tyrant can create others, according to the writer.

Some Libyan rebels who toppled Muammar Qaddafi’s regime have proven to be no different from him in the quest for a power monopoly and in terrorising their opponents. The same holds true for Iraq after Saddam Hussein, and other Arab countries. In some places rebels are now fighting each other and causing mayhem, he said.

“In a nutshell, a revolution can quickly defeat despots, but certainly it takes a long time to defeat what the tyrants have implanted inside us,” he wrote.

“It is easy to get rid of the despots ruling us, but it is extremely difficult to get rid of the tyrant inside us.”

Arab nations will not move into a new era once immediately after they depose their dictators.

They must wait for the birth of new governments and opposition, ones that are unaffected by the old ills and completely clean from the legacy of despotism, the writer said in conclusion.

A pact with Iran must not leave out the GCC

Diplomatic civilities have all of a sudden replaced verbal hostilities between Iran and the United States, as the two countries try to rebuild confidence and work out a settlement about Iran’s nuclear programme, Emirati writer Aisha Al Marri said in yesterday’s edition of the Abu Dhabi-based daily Al Ittihad.

It is clear that the US Middle East policy these days has softened, as evidenced by Washington’s earlier backdown in Syria and its more recent support for international talks with Iran.

“But Washington must surely know that the criteria and conditions for calm in the region do not allow for the US-Iran rapprochement to be a bilateral affair, or to yield a bilateral or even tri-lateral – counting Israel – sort of deal, one that ignores the Arab Gulf countries and forces them to accept a fait accompli,” she said.

Iran’s foreign policymakers have succeeded over the past decade in luring Washington to the negotiating table, implicitly obtaining the recognition that Tehran is a regional pole, the writer said.

“Between escalation and cool-down, Iran has managed to turn its nuclear programme into a tactical tool.”

The fact remains, however, that for any long-term formula for stability to succeed in the region, “this bilateralism has to give way to multilateralism, which in itself will be problematic.”

Qaddafi family missed a chance for a deal

The late dictator, Col Muammar Qaddafi, tried to offer Libya’s rebels their own independent state but they turned him down, according to declarations by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the former chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council, which was set up more than two years ago to take over power from the collapsing Qaddafi regime.

Speaking to the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat in a two-part interview conducted in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, Mr Abdul Jalil said that the real deal that could have worked and ushered in national reconciliation and a more peaceful transition was missed by Col Qaddafi’s son, Saif Al Islam, who is now on trial in Libya.

“I was counting on a more balanced speech from Saif Al Islam,” the former official said, referring to a televised address by Saif Al Islam at the height of the revolution, in which he condescended to and threatened the rebels, instead of offering some kind of compromise.

Had he held a measured tone, Saif Al Islam could have been accepted by the Libyan people “as his father’s successor, and things could have been resolved amicably, with a new constitution being declared, one that meets the demands of the people,” Mr Abdul Jalil said.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk