x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Commentators caution against Free Syrian Army abuses

Arabic-language newspapers consider Israel's bellicose policy and Morsi's planned visit to Tehran.

Free Syrian Army must avoid crimes and abuses no matter what atrocities the regime commits

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) did well to issue a statement condemning street justice and public shootings, the opposition figure Michel Kilo opined in the London-based newspaper Asharq Al Awsat yesterday.

The FSA noted that the primary objective of the Syrian revolution is liberty and human rights for all, no matter what their views, beliefs or affiliations.

The right to life is the first of the FSA's principles, and the Syrian people's uprising stands out as a testament to the legitimate endeavour of the right to live, trampled by the regime's bloody crackdown, the writer said.

"The victims must not copy the perpetrators … when they happen to be in a position of deciding the fate of others," he went on. "They always have to remember that not only did they rise up against their condition as victims but also against anything or anyone that may victimise people."

The statement is especially important considering the likelihood of Assad regime agents infiltrating the FSA to lure the rebels into regime-like brutality, in a bid to persuade the people that the prospective replacements will be no better than the current dictatorship.

"It is crucial for every member of the FSA and the popular resistance to adhere to a national legal and moral code so that the regime's plans fall flat," the writer observed.

Under such a code, no one shall be killed or jailed without evidence, everyone shall be guaranteed a fair trial, and no individuals should take the law into his own hands.

Detainees shall have the right to good treatment because the "freedom the people seek is not against them [detainees] or just an empty slogan they raise, but rather a genuine practice that freedom-advocates live by and apply to themselves and others".

By such noble conduct, many people would be encouraged to leave the regime and join the rebels, and there would be a fundamental difference between the way the regime treats the people and the way the opposition treats the regime loyalists, he said.

In this way the revolutionaries can help thwart all attempts by regime propagandists at making hay of isolated incidents, and will comfort the Syrian people and speed up the rebels' victory.

While the regime has resorted to all kinds of cruel methods to suppress the people, the protesters should use lawful means in the face of tyranny.

The regime's ends are inhuman, and so are its means, but the people's ends are noble and therefore they must stick to noble means, the writer asserted.

The scenes of captives being tortured or executed at the hands of pro-revolution individuals should not be taken lightly by the opposition.

Fighting for freedom requires us to stick to the principles of human rights even when it comes to our foes, the writer concluded.

Egypt has the right to revive ties with Iran

Until recently, anyone learning that the president of Egypt was going to attend a conference in Iran would have had a right to be surprised, columnist Mazen Hammad wrote in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.

Yet the confirmation that President Mohammed Morsi is attending the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran this month has landed rather softly, the writer noted.

In fact, the news has had positive overtones for those in favour of Egypt regaining its political independence and full sovereignty.

"The real message behind Mr Morsi's prospective visit to Iran is actually addressed to the United States and the world; and the message is that Egypt … will no longer be asking Washington for permission when its president wishes to do this or that, including paying a visit to Iran."

The unseated Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak never visited Iran throughout his 30-year rule, the writer noted. That is, since the then-newly established Islamic Republic severed its relations with Cairo in protest of the signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty in 1979.

Some Arab nations might not be very comfortable with President Morsi's visit to Iran, the writer acknowledged.

Despite that, and despite legitimate objections one might have to some of Iran's acts, it remains Egypt's sovereign right to restart diplomatic relations with a key neighbour.

Perpetrator puts on the victim's mantle

Israel has gripped the attention of the whole world with its Iron Dome system, a continuous masquerade to show that Israel gets scary vibes from its neighbours, editorialised the UAE-based newspaper Al Khaleej in its Wednesday edition.

The Zionists occupied Palestine and have staged assaults in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Tunisia and Sudan. And now hysterical warmongering is simmering in Israel. The US joined Israelis in four-day military manoeuvres by sea and air, in which the US, which has funded the Iron Dome anti-missile system, used missile destroyers.

Meanwhile, the Israeli home front minister, whose post was devised to set the stage for war, said strategic threats to Israel emanate from Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza.

And an anti-missile shield has been deployed on the border with Egypt.

"It is the same old Zionist policy: aggression while trying to pose as a victim. This same modus operandi has been followed since the time of the Haganah and Irgun gangs before the 1948 Nakba."

As things stand now, Arabs must put their guard up, and ward off the enemy's targeting any of their territories, the editorial concluded.


* Digest compiled by Abdelhafid Ezzouitni