x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Foreign powers compete for spoils in Syria's conflict

Arabic language newspapers consider the deal that ended the hunger strike in Israeli prisons and the spillover of violence from Syria to Lebanon.

Unrest in Syria reveals international conflict of interests between the world's superpowers

What is unfolding in Syria is no more than an international conflict between superpowers over a vital area, contended Dr Abdelilah Belqziz in an opinion piece carried by the Sharjah-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

A section of the Syrian opposition believes that Russian and China are standing in the way of the Syrian democratic change. These two countries, they believe, have been offering the regime the political cover in international bodies, and vetoed UN Security Council resolutions against the Assad regime.

Protests against the stand of Russia and China have gone so far as to burn their flags.

"To accuse Russia and China of hampering democratic change in Syria does imply that the US alongside its western allies are backing the Syrian people's rights to democracy," he noted.

But the truth, as the US history towards the Arab region shows, is that America is concerned with two and only two things: "Oil and Israel, and to hell with the rest, including the Arabs' rights to democracy."

Politics is by definition interest-driven. The nations' foreign policies and strategies are governed essentially by interests.

So if the western countries are willing to topple the Syrian regime, it is because the latter opposes western policies in the region, not for the sake of democracy in Syria.

In the same vein, Russia and China are backing the Syrian regime only because it is an ally in their standoff with the Americans in this strategic region.

"Any outcome of the toppling of the Syrian regime, be it the rise of Islamists, chaos or civil war does not matter to the West. What does matter is the overthrow of a hostile regime."

Similarly, Russia and China are playing politics. They do not care if their backing of the regime "is embarrassing them with the West and the Syrian opposition, for they are dealing with an official regime, not with locals as the West does. In addition, the Syrian regime staying in power is a loss to the West".

Today, what is happening in Syria is no more than an international conflict over hegemony. This conflict may well end up in "a political settlement between the big three - the US, Russia and China, with their respective allies. The Syrians then, regime and opposition alike, would have to swallow that international settlement, whether they were pleased or vexed about it."

The best solution, the writer asserts, is to reach an internal compromise between the regime and the opposition to pre-empt any compulsory foreign settlement.

But for this "internal historic settlement to take place, the hawks in the regime and the opposition - that is, advocates of the violent crackdown and supporters of military action and foreign involvement - must definitely be expelled".

Tripoli violence shows 'unnatural symbiosis'

There was no need to speculate whether there would be clashes in Lebanon as a direct result of the Syrian revolution, said journalist Octavia Nasr in the Lebanese daily Annahar. It was always a certainty.

"This past year brought about many profound changes in both countries. In Syria, the once untouchable Baathist regime suffered a hard blow," she said. "At the same time, the Lebanese political scene, which was once thought to be under the absolute control of Hizbollah, is showing new potential in light of Syria's weakness and decreasing influence."

A large number of Lebanese still harbour a grudge against the Syrian regime as a result of the injustices they suffered during the Syrian occupation. They sympathise with their Syrian neighbours who are suffering at the hands of the same regime.

No wonder then that violence has started to spill into Lebanon as witnessed by the battles that are still going on in the northern city of Tripoli, close to the Syrian border. However, it is a matter of deep concern.

Tripoli is representative of the new reality on the ground. It is indeed time for a shock that refocuses the world's attention on the unnatural symbiosis between Lebanon and Syria.

"It is a necessary pain that Lebanon has to go through as the time has come for an overdue disengagement between the two countries," concluded the writer.

Symbolic victory for Palestinians on Nakba

It was indeed sweet that the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails were able to achieve victory over their captors on the 64th commemoration of the Nakba, forcing them to concede and sign an agreement that puts an end to the inhumane treatment they had been subjected to for decades, said the editorial of the London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.

"The empty-stomach resistance has proved its efficiency," the paper said.

After a 28-day hunger strike, and as all occupation forces' efforts to quell it fell through, Egyptian mediation succeeded in reaching a solution that responds to the prisoners' demands in full.

"The hunger resistance unveiled Israel and its discriminatory procedures. It showed the world just how phoney its democracy really is," the paper added.

Palestinians have always devised new resistance tools and they were creative in this respect. After 64 years of occupation and suffering, they still refuse to relinquish their rights to return and liberate their territories.

Yes, the Palestinian Authority is feeble and the resistance is on hold, but the people are proving everyday that they are still prepared to make sacrifices

 

 

 

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk

translation@thenational.ae