x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Domestic factions and foreign interests share responsibility in Syria

Arabic language press discuss the Syrian crisis, political sactarianism in Arab Spring countries, and Tunisia post-revolution situation.

Domestic factions and foreign interests alike share responsibility for the Syrian bloodletting

Both of the warring camps in Syria, Bashar Al Assad's regime and the opposition, believe that it will prevail if only it can press on with the killing and the destruction, columnist Jihad Al Khazen argued in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

"Each of them lives in a fantasy world of their own making. The regime is convinced that it can defeat the opposition in a matter of weeks. Likewise, for the past two years the opposition has been heralding the regime's imminent demise," he said.

In a bid to break the deadlock, the president came out with a "miraculous speech" this week.

"His solution - or rather non-solution - succeeded in winning the unanimous rejection of the whole world that exists outside his cocoon.

"The National Council and the coordination committee both dismissed it; so did all the opposition factions from the moderates to the terrorists. Most of the world rejected it, with the exception of course of Iran, since that country's leaders most probably collaborated with the Syrian president to devise the non-solution," added the writer.

No one is innocent in the continuing Syrian crisis. All parties concerned are culprits: the president, the opposition and the Arab countries that supported the opposition for their own reasons rather than to protect the Syrian people.

The US with its fickleness, European countries with their empty condemnations, China with its reservations and Russia with its hesitancy; they are also all accountable.

The UN Human Rights commissioner Navi Pillay recently reported that 60,000 Syrians have been killed so far. But this number is an estimate. The exact toll is lost between the regime's denial and the opposition's exaggeration.

"How is it possible that tens of thousands of Syrians died and the UN Security Council has failed to convene one session to look into a solution that would protect people's lives?" asked Al Khazen. "No one can claim innocence in the Syrian case, everyone is at fault."

US reports confirmed that the Assad regime was preparing chemical weapons with the intention of using them against the rebels. Israeli, US and Russian pressure allegedly helped in averting that disaster.

Logically, should the regime resort to its chemical arsenal, it would only be accelerating its demise since that would make foreign intervention inevitable.

However, logic is nowhere to be found in Syria today. The president, who has only one ally in the entire world, is continuing to present himself as the solution, refusing to acknowledge the facts.

The Syrian regime has no foot to stand on and the Syrian people deserve better than the opposition forces that claim to speak for them, the writer concluded.

'Political sectarianism' threatens revolution

As the days go by in post-Arab Spring nations, it becomes clearer that unseating tyrannical figures is insufficient, and that the focus must shift to destroying the mechanisms of corruption that create dictatorships, Bahraini author Ali Fakhrou wrote in the Sharjah-based paper Al Khaleej.

These mechanisms, he said, operate through individuals, institutions and society-state relationships. The worst of them is "political sectarianism".

This was one tool used by old regimes to control and exploit societies and stay in power.

But in the post-uprisings era that defends democracy, equality and human rights, political sectarianism can demolish a revolution or cause it to deviate from its principles, the writer cautioned.

Hence the paramount importance of addressing the issue of political sectarianism that ruins to atmosphere of relative freedom in the Arab political terrain and spreads maliciously under a load of disguises, he continued.

Political sectarianism manifests itself in multiple forms in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Jordan, and is waiting for the right time to beset other Arab countries.

Political sectarianism is destroying several Arab nations, preparing others for division, and digging deep rifts.

Under the guise of religion, attempts are underway to hijack the revolution and stoke political sectarianism on the streets and in the media.

For Tunisia, January 14 has a mixed message

Since the overthrow of the old regime January 14 has become a landmark date that reminds Tunisians of their pioneering role in the Arab Spring.

But at the same time the date reminds the country of the need to repair the post-revolution situation, Tunisian poet Amal Moussa noted in the London-based newspaper Asharq Al Awsat yesterday.

In the Tunisian mind, January 14 is a day of glory but also one of reckoning. And the more the outcomes fail to live up to expectations, the greater the frustrations, the writer said.

"In light of this, we can understand why some members of the opposition have advised us not to exaggerate the celebrations next Monday, since the revolution's achievements have been so tiny," she added.

To be sure, it is in no one's interest to take pleasure in demonising the new reality in Tunisia. On January 14, Tunisians created a revolution that impressed people at home and abroad.

Many Tunisians never imagined that they could demand the departure of the former president and his family, she wrote.

So there should be a clear distinction between January 14 as a symbolic date and the subsequent failure, or at least delay, in meeting the aspirations of Tunisians, especially the unemployed and the marginalised.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk