x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Assad leading Syria to abyss, Arabic newspapers

Arab newspapers also comment on the unity of Yemen and the peace process.

Assad regime's tactics signal looming demise

During three months of the Syrian people's unanticipated uprising against one of the world's most ruthless regimes, the Syrian president didn't see a need to address his people more than once, observed the columnist Abdulrahman al Rashed in the London-based Asharq Al Awsat daily.

Ninety days into the Deraa revolution, what can we predict for the Assad regime?

It is likely that it would fall within a few weeks, especially if accounts of dissent within the army proved to be true. It could stand its ground until the end of the year unless a change were to be made within the regime with the president removing the bad symbols of rule, such as his brother Maher, to appease popular rage. Another likelihood is that the regime could survive by raising the level of violent oppression. In all cases, the Assad regime's power had definitely receded.

"I believe the Syrian regime purposely refused to respond to protests, although they are peaceful and started out with mere demands of reform, because it thought that any positive response would be interpreted as weakness. Instead, it chose to appear obstinate and overriding any form of opposition."

Syria today is a shocked country where no amount of reform could help the regime to get away with murder and lies. It finds itself needing to rely on external assistance to squash the revolt.



The unity of Yemen is an absolute priority

The winds of change coupled with external interference are threatening to eat away at what's left of Yemen's unity, observed the columnist Issam Neaman in an article for the Emirati Al Khaleej daily.

"In truth, the unity of Yemen has been cracked for a long time as a result of the events in the south, the war on the Houthis in the north and the tyranny and corruption of government in the centre," he opined.

The popular uprising against Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime reunited the people of Yemen under the umbrella of patriotism, but will it succeed in reuniting them politically?

Mr Saleh's departure effectively signalled the fall of the regime. The unity of Yemen is at a dangerous crossroad.

Unity is first and foremost the responsibility of the youth since it holds their future. They could start by calling for an all-encompassing national committee for all political powers committed to the unity and democracy of Yemen that would be vested to agree to hold democratic legislative and presidential elections, form a national cabinet and later, devise a democratic elections law.

"A quick transition of power can only be guaranteed if the Yemenis themselves assume the responsibilities of protecting the country and creating a democratic system away from any external interference," the writer concluded.


Syria inches closer to the abyss every Friday

In the wake of yet another bloody Friday in Syria, it is clear that the Syrian security forces still insist on using live ammunition against civilians in the absence of any reform-based political solutions, commented the pan-Arab Al Quds Al Arabi daily in its editorial.

But the protests continue to escalate without any signs of weariness among the protestors.

"The Assad regime's obstinacy and disregard of friendly advice would surely drag Syria into civil war and external interference. Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan has up until Friday been the closest ally of the Syrian regime and its president. In a matter of a few years, he managed to consolidate the relationship between both countries on almost every front."

However, the same friend and close ally appears to be at his wits end with the Syrian regime, which he accuses of atrocities and inhumane behaviour towards its own people. To make matters worse, he confirmed that a phone call with president Bashar al Assad earlier this week that he is taking the situation lightly, which is a serious indication that the situation in Syria is degenerating.

"We wish the Syrian command had listened to Mr Erdogan's earlier advice of serious political reform that respond to the protestors' ambitions."

Instead, bloody confrontations continue to threaten to throw the country into the abyss.


US puts nail in coffin of Mideast peace

On the eve of US presidential elections, it is expected that voices would be raised within the Congress vying for the support of the Jewish constituency, noted the columnist Rajeh el Khouri in an opinion article for the Lebanese Annahar daily.

"What is bizarre, however, is that some of those voices would go so far as to equate the Israeli occupation with US national security," he added.

It is an unprecedented step in the history of Israeli abuse of US politics. The bill that was presented to Congress last Thursday crossed every limit of decency, as it called for a rejection of Israel's withdrawal to the borders of 1967 for such a step would harm US national security.

But what does US national security have to do with the existence of the Israeli occupation, which in itself negates any American or international efforts to reach a settlement in the Middle East? Of course, none of the congressmen who supported the bill could possibly have an answer, for their main goal is to secure the Jewish vote in their campaign to re-elect president Obama.

"In any case, this bill lays a new tombstone on the grave of peace. No settlement could be viable without withdrawal to 1967 lines."


* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem