x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Arabs must end silence on Syria

In today's excerpts from Arabic-language newspaper opinion pieces, you'll find criticism of silence about Syrian atrocities, thoughts about the Atlantic powers and Libya, support for the World Day Against Child Labour, and examination of Turkey's alarm about the crisis in Syria.

Arab silence towards Syrian atrocities

The French are expressing their bewilderment at the resounding Arab silence over the ongoing Syrian regime's tyranny towards its own citizens, observed Tareq Homayed, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab daily Asharq al Awsat.

The French and the Turks, the Assad regime's closest allies, have broken their silence, along with many western countries, while the Arabs remain mute.

Ankara, once Syria's godfather in the region, spoke of atrocities against unarmed civilians. The French, who have been staunch defenders of the Damascus regime and who helped promote it, have turned against it and are making every effort to extract a unified international condemnation.

Meanwhile, the Arabs remain silent. The death toll has risen to more than 1,000 innocent civilians, not to mention the thousands of prisoners and missing persons.

Leaked video footage from Syria depicts abominable crimes, including torture of children and the elderly. The world heard the Turkish prime minister condemn the Syrian government's savagery that makes it difficult to defend it, and still, the Arabs have yet to utter anything.

"It is true that politics are based on interests and facts, but that doesn't exempt Arabs from the ethical and humane dimension."


An Atlantic mandate is in the works for Libya

Where does Nato get the confidence to declare that Colonel Muammar Qaddafi's days are numbered? asked Satea Noureddin, a columnist with the Lebanesedaily Assafir.

The source of such an assurance couldn't possibly be the Libyan opposition that risks stumbling at every sharp military or political turn, despite the unprecedented level of support and recognition it has received so far.

Nato not only declared the imminent fall of the colonel, but has even started planning for the post-Qaddafi era. It is dealing with a country with unique characteristics. Libya can't be compared to any other country that witnessed radical geographical, identity and political transformations during the last century.

"The raids on Col. Qaddafi are blows in the dark, but they do lay the foundations for a renewed Atlantic role: the rebuilding of Libya from scratch, or at least from where the colonisers left in the 1960s."

Accusations that the West is attempting to control Libya's oil are void, since the colonel himself had granted them oil at cheap prices.

The most plausible scenario for the moment is that Libya is facing a new Atlantic mandate with the participation of the Russians and the Chinese who recently jumped off Qaddafi's sinking ship.


Marking World Day Against Child Labour

June 12 was World Day Against Child Labour, as designated by the United Nations. Some 115 million children worldwide are working at hazardous jobs that damage them physically and psychologically, reported the Emirati daily Akhbar al Arab in its editorial.

"We don't know why the UN insists on commemorating this occasion while the world remains so cruel to children."

The problem of children who are thrown into hard and hazardous labour at an early age is closely tied to the problem of poverty across the world. It is the main problem that the entire world must strive to overcome since it is far deadlier than terrorism, war or epidemics.

Should the world set the fight against poverty as a top priority, the majority of calamities facing humanity could be solved automatically.

"These aren't fanciful notions. They are based on the knowledge of the world's capabilities and its ability to counter poverty with the means at its disposal. These include education, training, creating jobs and transferring the surplus of agricultural production to poor countries, among other methods."

The war on poverty is more worthy of billions of dollars in spending that is the industry of war. The world today is in dire need of a conscientious effort to improve living conditions in the less fortunate countries.


Syrian events are alarming for Turkey

The Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent statement that Ankara is dealing with the developments in Syria as a local Turkish issue reveals considerable fear among the Turks of an expansion of events that are getting closer to home, observed the columnist Mazen Hammad in an article for the Qatari daily Al Watan.

The Turks fear Kurdish elements already mobilised in Iraq and starting to mobilise in Syria in a way that threatens to spill over to neighbouring Turkey.

Mr Erdogan is also taking into account the major changes sweeping across the Arab region, especially Syria.

"This is because the pan-Arab revolutionary virus might turn into a pan-Islamic virus, which would include semi-European Turkey that boasts positive economic and political achievements."

Mr Erdogan is incessantly pressing Damascus to carry out the radical reforms necessary to contain the street anger in Syria, while the president Abdullah Gul stated that his country has taken the necessary precautionary civilian and military measures.

"Panic can be sensed in Ankara over the Syrian events as it gears up to resort to defensive tactics that don't exclude interference under Nato, of which Turkey is a member."

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem