x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Evoking Egypt can't help Syrian regime

Bashar Al Assad has no business commenting on events in Egypt, an Arab-language writer says. Other topics: Lebanon and Egypt's moderate Islamists.

Projecting Egypt's events onto the Syrian case won't help the Assad regime hold on to power

Syrian president Bashar Al Assad has lessons to draw from recent events in Egypt. Although no one sought to hear his opinion about Egypt, he chose to make a statement in a Syrian newspaper about the "fall of the so-called political Islam" and the "doomed ruling experience of the Muslim Brotherhood" because their project is "hypocritical" and aims to create "sedition in the Arab World, and sedition can't survive in enlightened societies".

In comment, the columnist Abdulwahab Badrakhan wrote in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat: "Mr Al Assad believes that the ejection of the Brotherhood-backed president in Egypt is a point to his credit in terms of his war against the people of Syria. [He thinks that] it proves he was right to resort to violence from the onset of the revolution, because his society isn't enlightened."

This alone denotes how narrow Mr Al Assad's interpretation of Egypt's events is, the writer said.

Mr Al Assad jumped to conclusions, hoping that they would serve his cause and help keep him at the helm of a criminal regime.

But Mr Al Assad doesn't stop at that. He goes on, trying to persuade himself and others that his regime is the only viable alternative to political Islam.

"Arab peoples and societies are free to deal with political Islam as they deem appropriate for the protection of their security and stability. By no means are they ready to receive lessons from a murderer without a future," he added.

The millions of people who took to the streets in Egypt to topple Mohammed Morsi didn't do so to echo Mr Al Assad's positions. On the contrary, it was the wave of violence that followed Mr Morsi's departure that was derived from the Syrian and Iranian regimes' modi operandi.

"Bloodshed and instigation to civil war are among the reactions of regimes that Arab peoples are striving to get rid of once and for all," the writer said.

"If political Islam is to collapse, it isn't because totalitarian regimes are better, but rather because it is a clone of totalitarianism," he added.

Up until June 15, political Islam's version of rule in Egypt warranted praise and admiration from Damascus: firstly because Egypt's Brotherhood have an implicit alliance with Iran, which supported them in the era of persecution, and secondly because the Brotherhood implicitly agreed to Iran's concept of a political solution in Syria.

It wasn't until Mr Morsi began to feel that his position was jeopardised that he publicly announced the severing of ties with the Syrian regime.

Mr Al Assad's statements were addressed to the supporters of the Syrian opposition, in an attempt to convince them that he is the better alternative and that his brutality is meant to prevent political Islam from reaching power.


Ordinary Egyptians sent to their deaths

The Strong Egypt Party has recently called on the Muslim Brotherhood to stop their young supporters from clashing with the military and to give political settlement a chance, reported Emad Eddine Hussein in the Cairo-based paper Al Shorouk.

Nobody can challenge the Islamic background of the Strong Egypt Party nor of its leader Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, the writer noted. No one can accuse this moderate Islamist, who came fourth in the first round of presidential elections, of being a holdover of the old regime, a supporter of the counter-revolution or a secularist.

Faced with hard times, the Muslim Brotherhood must pay heed to this call. They have the right to protest using all peaceful means against what they dismiss as a coup against legitimacy. They can stage sit-ins and marches and hold placards; but they should not seek any friction with the army and police.

What happened at the headquarters of the Republican Guard is a tragedy unjustifiable under any circumstance. At the same time, the Brotherhood must stop trading on the blood of their poor supporters, many of whom have an unshakable conviction that they are defending a religious issue, not a political one.

The Brotherhood leaders must ask themselves what they wanted to prove by sending ordinary supporters to the headquarters of the Republican Guard and Ministry of Defence, the writer concluded.


Lebanese parties must form a government

Amid the continuing attempts to stir sectarian strife in the region and the escalating conflict in neighbouring Syria, Lebanon is being dragged into the horrors of a full-blown civil war, the UAE-based Al Bayan said in an editorial yesterday.

The turmoil engulfing many parts of Lebanon is mainly caused by the spillover of the Syrian crisis, on which Lebanon's political groups hold different views. There are fears that if the situation escalates any more, it might trigger a spate of large-scale political assassinations, particularly following the government's decision to extend the parliament's term, the newspaper warned.

The situation will definitely worsen unless all parties agree to form a government that will call for elections. This is the only effective solution to end the stalemate. Whoever wins the elections takes power and set things right away from chaos and foreign intervention.

Politicians must display some political wisdom and step in to end the crisis and keep Lebanon away from foreign conflicts, notably the Syrian conflict.

The atrocities of the 15-year civil war still linger, and any delay in settling the current crisis increases the odds of another dreadful civil war, the newspaper concluded.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk