x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Assad finds that his allies are unwilling to help him

The Assad regime is doomed and Syria's allies know it, an Arabic commentator writes. Other topics in the Arabic-language press: US hegemony and should Egypt have another presidential election?

Bashar Al Assad of Syria is probably neither pleased nor satisfied with the performance of any of his allies since the Syrian crisis began, columnist Abdul Rahman Al Rashed argued in the London-based newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.

The support Mr Al Assad expected far surpasses the support he has actually received, the writer said.

"For more than a year, he has been threatening the region with major perilous events, unimaginable collapses and red lines being crossed. But none of this has actually happened, and the flames never spread farther than his own doorstep."

The president had presumed that the Iranians, his staunchest allies, would engage in a fight with Gulf States, and pressure them to cease their support for the Syrian rebels.

He imagined that his important ally Hizbollah, in Lebanon, would jump on the occasion to launch a new war with Israel that would preoccupy the region and eventually compel the US, France and the UK to turn their backs to the Syrian revolution, as it would threaten only to bring more chaos and destruction.

But to his undoubted disappointment, Iran did not attack the Gulf and Hizbollah's reaction has been limited to peaceful protests across the border from Israel.

"Only one small agent remained, Ahmed Jibril, the head of the so-called Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to whom he entrusted the mission of starting a fight with Israel. But he, too, failed. The Palestinians in Syria rejected his proposals and explicitly joined the revolution," Al Rashed went on to say.

Disillusioned, the Syrian official media had to resort to doomsday propaganda, in the hope of creating sedition among the regime's allies and enemies alike.

These claims ranged from unfounded allegations that an Iranian official had stated that the fall of the regime would mean the inevitable fall of Kuwait to claims that Russia has threatened anti-regime countries with grave repercussions. Some in the Syrian media even went so far as to maintain that Mr Al Assad's fall would benefit Israel.

The president was hoping for a joint Iranian-Russian assault on Turkey, that would bring its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to his knees.

He hoped that a sectarian war would break out in the Gulf and jeopardise its political regimes. He must have anticipated that Jordan or Egypt would appeal to him to come to their rescue in carefully-hatched altercations with Israel.

But as the months go by and glaring certainty now is that Mr Al Assad stands alone. Russia, Iran and Hizbollah have been aware for more than year that his regime is doomed and their main concern is to mitigate the damage to their own stature as a result of this.

After new constitution Egypt must vote again

If any president other than Mohammed Morsi were in office, the hypocrites and apologists of the Muslim Brotherhood would be demanding new presidential elections right after a new constitution is ratified, observed political dissident Ibrahim Issa, the editor-in-chief of the Cairo-based paper Al Tahrir.

It is only natural that the Brotherhood and its allies would argue that Mr Morsi should remain in office even after a new constitution is approved, he noted

But "it does not stand to reason that a president should be elected under a distorted constitutional declaration, concocted by the generals of an inefficient military council, and then stay on [in power] when the people have adopted a permanent and comprehensive constitution".

Hamdeen Sabahi is the only figure who has the courage to declare that presidential elections must be held after the constitution ratification, Issa wrote.

Some argue that Mr Sabahi is just seeking to run for the presidency, to replace Mr Morsi, but then this is "a legitimate and natural ambition from a heavyweight challenger".

What matters here is that his demand is well grounded, and that he won't be the only one to run for the presidency and certainly isn't guaranteed victory.

And yet apologists for the "give the president a chance" theory remain heedless to the idea that the president is giving his opponents no chance at all.

US parties compete to sustain unipolar world

The war of words between Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama, who seeks a second term, will blaze up as we approach the US elections in November, the UAE-based daily Al Khaleej noted in its editorial yesterday.

"Beyond one-upmanship over the Zionist entity and who can offer it more than it wants to entrench occupation, achieve its expansionist ambitions and remain shielded from accountability, at the expense of Arabs' rights … a melody of the US seeking hegemony over the world crops up," the editorial noted.

The parties are vying over how to sustain a unipolar world, despite the general discontent with the "law of the jungle" that reigned after the Cold War. Under that law, the US, with help from Europe, took control of the world with a rod of iron, using pressure, blackmail and sanctions. "Invasion has become a habit, occupation permissible, and seizing and looting nations' resources a normal matter."

Whether Mr Obama stays, or Mr Romney replaces him, US policy will not change.

And the policy of "fattening Israel with killing and destruction tools, unipolar supremacy, control over countries' resources, and fomenting chaos" will also endure.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk