x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Foreign intervention uncelcome in Libya

A wrap-up of opinions in the Arabic language press.

"There is no doubt in my mind that Muammar Qaddafi was rubbing his hands in delight as the news broke of an embarrassing British military operation in the east of Benghazi," commented Abdelbari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds al Arabi. "The operation ended with the arrest of nine operatives, one of them a high-ranking officer in British intelligence, who were on a mission to establish contact with the leadership of the Libyan rebellion and assess its needs in weaponry and training.

"The Americans and the British just have this knack for spoiling every Arab achievement in the making."

Mostapha Abdul Jalil, the president of the provisional national Libyan council, did the right thing when he ordered the release of that "cell of James Bonds", stressing his categorical rejection of foreign intervention and reiterating that the Libyan people are capable of achieving their goals without help from the outside.

The majority of Arab people have sympathised with the Libyan revolution because it started as a peaceful rejection of a dictatorship that has destroyed Libya over decades.

Now, it is in Qaddafi's best interest that the revolution be meddled with and that its ranks be divided and, intentionally or not, foreign intervention of this MI6-style goes in that direction.


Israel loses its footing with a new Egypt

The Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu was right on the money when he used the word "earthquake" to describe the Arab revolutions, as they directly impact Israel's military, strategic, cultural and ideological positions in the Middle East, wrote the columnist Saad Mehio in the Emirati daily Al Khaleej.

In previous times, Israel's security was guaranteed as long as it had a peace treaty with Egypt and Jordan and as long as Syria was incapable of waging a direct military operation against it.

Israel was able to form explicit alliances in the region that secured its protection, especially against Iran; an alliance that centred on the Camp David treaty, which the deposed president Hussni Mubarak so adamantly defended.

"Therefore, it was normal that Israel would tremble at the sight of the Mubarak regime's collapse in a matter of days. Although the military command at the helm of post-Mubarak Egypt did confirm its respect for the peace treaty, any new democratic system in Egypt will not be dealing with the treaty as the previous regime did. In other words, it will not regard it as the basis for security and stability in the Middle East. In fact, Egypt would be moving towards reclaiming its prominence in the Arab region, which naturally puts it in stark contrast with Israel's foreign policy and security theory."


Road to change could go either way in Yemen

Ibrahim el Hamdi ruled Yemen for three years until he was killed in 1977, wrote Abdulrahman al Rashid in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat. Ahmed al-Ghashmi ruled after him for eight months before he too was murdered. Ali Abdullah Saleh is the only president who has survived for more than three decades ruling one of the hardest countries to be ruled.

Yemen has always faced challenging conditions, besides its rough landscape and its complicated demographics. With the South relentlessly asking for independence, the tribes were always involved in the ruling process, but today Sanna is facing its toughest situation ever with a popular uprising against the regime.

Although Mr Saleh's regime was always based on precise balances, his various opponents have recently allied against him while his allies have abandoned him.

Any changes in Yemen's authority could be a true risk for the country. Change could be achieved peacefully with the least possible loss, as in Egypt, or it could take a more fierce turn as in Libya where the price of change is proving to be very costly.

Apparently, there is a chance for peaceful change, as Mr Saleh has already promised some reforms, but the only problem is he has no credibility with the protesters. Until the president fulfills all the protesters' demands, any change in Yemen would be a risky gamble.


There is no alternative to dialogue in Bahrain

The Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa's statement about the necessity for a broad dialogue should be received with respect and cooperation rather than hesitation from the opposition, as dialogue is the only solution for overcoming Bahrain's critical condition, observed the Emirati daily newspaper Al Bayan in its editorial.

"Genuine disclosure is the only way to ensure Bahrain's security and the safety of its people. But dialogue requires time and patience, and no results can be reached unless all sides agree to sit together."

Prince Salman's proposal should be praised when he said "the Bahraini leadership, under King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, seeks to establish a new method for handling crises different from any other method witnessed in the Middle East". He also confirmed that the leadership has plans for development projects that would enhance the quality of people's lives.

The ways that the Bahraini government are adopting in dealing with the protests are peaceful and a solid proof that its objective is to achieve the best for Bahrain and the Bahraini people. The government wants to ensure the practice of tolerance and strengthen the spirit of citizenship, freedom and democracy, in the hope for a better future.

* Digest compiled by Fatima Saeed