x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Assad regime has failed and must go

A columnist from a pan-Arab daily says matters in Syria are at the point of no return. Other commentators reflect on the killing of African migrants on the Israel border, and the habit of shoe-throwing.

The Assad regime has failed in preserving the unity of Syria and it must go immediately

As the Assad regime exhausted all possible methods of oppression, arrest and murder without successfully curbing the Syrian people's revolution, Syria is scurrying into direct and all-inclusive civil war, said the columnist Abdullah Iskandar in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

"Political solutions prove out of the question and the voice of armed confrontation has become overpowering. The only option on the table is military resolution, which means more killing and destruction," said the writer.

It is clear also that the Syrian political opposition is still incapable of bringing any change to the power balance in a way that forces Russia, China and Iran to reduce their support to the regime. Once isolated on the regional and international scenes, the regime would be compelled to review its strategies.

The language of weapons is running the conflict on both sides, especially now that the Free Army has become better equipped to transfer the armed confrontations to any location in Syria, including the capital.

Yesterday, shortly after the Free Syrian Army declared that it would be transferring the confrontations into the heart of Damascus, a bombing operation targeted the national security headquarters in Damascus during a meeting of senior security chiefs killing many, including the defence minister General Daoud Rajha and Assef Shawkat, the deputy defence minister and president Bashar Al Assad's brother-in-law.

"This critical development that brings the battle into Damascus signals that the FSA has switched strategies from the defensive to the offensive. Such a change in strategy follows a surge in the free army's power as a result of the recent large-scale defections and the acquisition of weapons, from the regime's warehouses and from abroad, which imposes a level of parity in direct clashes," suggested Iskandar.

Thus, the material elements for a civil war have become available with all the humanitarian, political and economic disasters that come along with civil strife.

It is indeed a grim scene and now that the conflict has reached the streets of the capital city, matters are at a point of no return.

Should the political solution remain unreachable as a result of the obstinate Russian stance, it is likely that the confrontations would lead the warring sides to gather their respective forces in determined areas. This would bring about a demographic distribution as well as geographical segmentation.

"This was the regime's intended course all along since it chose to respond violently to the first popular protest," added the writer.

Even if the world were to believe the regime's tale of extremist groups attacking civilians and troops, the reality is it failed in defeating them and protecting the country.

Israel must stop killing African migrants

Even destitute countries like Sudan and Yemen do not completely shut doors on African migrants fleeing civil wars and famine, while Israel, which likes to talk big about its western-style democracy, seems to have no qualms about its hard-line policy on migrants which amounts to killing, commented the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.

Israel announced that a man was killed and another injured by the Israeli border police while trying to cross the Egyptian border into Israel. Both were unarmed.

To hide the crime, the Israeli authorities did not reveal the identity of the two men, to avoid admitting that they were "two Africans seeking political asylum and sustenance in a country they wrongly deemed humane and democratic".

Under the Mubarak regime, the Egyptian border guard would do the dirty work for Israel, shooting the African migrants in protection of the Israeli borders, but it seems that this role - inappropriate for Egypt's civilisation - has come to a halt under the revolution.

The irony is that Israel, a country built by Jewish immigrants from all over the world, following forced displacement of Palestinians, is refusing to receive migrants like other European countries do.

"The Israeli authorities detain migrants and put them into racist camps … and started, in recent weeks, to deport thousands of refugees from South Sudan."

Shoe-hurling displays contempt for leaders

Recently, Arabs seemed to have a knack for throwing shoes to express contempt and opposition to the target, Ikram Abdi wrote in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.

In Syria, shoes were thrown at live images of President Bashar Al Assad while he was delivering a speech, to show disrespect to him and his entourage.

Recently, a fight broke out in Jordan's parliament over the electoral law that developed into a member throwing his shoes at another.

At the height of Egypt's presidential elections, the tirade between supporters of candidate Ahmed Shafiq and those of the revolution quickly turned into an exchange of show throwing. A shoe was hurled at Mr Shafiq himself when he was casting his ballot.

But the most famous of all show-throwers is the Iraqi Muntadar Al-Zaidi who hurled his shoes at former US President Bush during a news conference, in a show of disrespect to a president who excelled in the industry of death in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Mr Bush ducked to avoid the "Iraqi missile which probably matches, in its symbolism and destruction, the Cruise and Patriot missiles", she said sarcastically.



* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk