x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

GCC is a good example for MAU to follow

A round-up of commentary from Arabic language newspapers.

"To survive and be up to the situation, the Maghreb Arab Union (MAU) needs to address the obstacles that have thwarted its progress," argued Mohammed al Achab in a commentary for the London-based newspaper Al Hayat.

Unlike the GCC, which is active in handling the Bahrain and Oman situations, the MAU did not intervene when the security situation worsened in Tunisia and Libya. Some would argue that the Arab League might be sought for reaching common decisions about regional issues in the Maghreb, but the GCC stands out as a remarkable example to adopt in order to tackle emergencies.

As the MAU's role has turned out to be less effective in addressing crises, many doubt its ability to achieve the goals for which it was created in the first place: a locomotive to strengthen the unity of the countries of the region and to create a sphere of cooperation.

Nothing has happened, as the economic objectives to boost the free movement of people, goods and services within member states have faced great challenges due to political differences.

The ongoing political changes-at the core of which are demands for reforms in the region could be beneficial in the sense that they will lead MAU's countries towards economic and political openness. The MAU's empowerment will also be helpful in containing internal crises, as is the case with the GCC.

Waiting for a Lebanese government

"Najib Miqati was appointed as a prime minister-designate two months ago, yet he has failed to bring in a new government," observed Dr Saleh bin Bakr al Tayyar in a commentary for the London-based newspaper Al Arab.

Some attribute this delay to US pressures on Mr Miqati, and others to the ongoing political developments in the Arab region. A third opinion thinks that the new majority in Lebanese politics is unable to form a government because it is busy with satisfying quotas, making it less involved in efforts to end the current state of political stagnation.

Earlier, Mr Miqati had supported a national government that would include the blocs of March 14 and March 8 in addition to a third party, such as that of Waleed Jumblatt, the Druze leader. But he failed in this endeavour, too.

However, it appeared later that there were two main stumbling blocks. The Free Patriotic Movement led by Gen Michel Aoun disagreed with the president Michel Suleiman on who would take the ministry of interior's portfolio and with Mr Miqati on the general government makeup. Gen Aoun wanted 12 portfolios out of 30, while Mr Miqati offered him 10.

So far, no mediation efforts have been successful in solving this stalemate, leaving the Lebanese to feel uncertain about the size and the nature of the future government.

Solving the problem of violence on campuses

In an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Emrat Al Youm, the columnist Aisha Mohammed al Mahias noted that some schools had become sites of violence, involving not only students, but also teaching staff on the one hand, and parents and teachers on the other.

So who is responsible for the spread of violence and hatred in schools? Students and youth in their early 20s are armed with swords and knives.

"It turned out that aggressive minors have acquired their character from what they had been seeing in their immediate surrounding. For example, the father beats the driver and his children; the mother is violent with her maid and daughters; children beat their peers in the neighbourhood."

Most of the minors involved in crimes are aged between 12 to 18. Yet, considering the seriousness of their misconduct, the very concept of being a minor as set by sociologists probably needs to be redefined. So a new penal law should be drafted to deter minors from engaging in assaults and murders.

For this to happens, there is a need of a committee sponsored by the government to determine new concepts and regulations to control this phenomenon, while taking into account the social changes and the increasing standards of education among youth.

Qaddafi is down to his last chance

When Iraq's former president Saddam Hussein was hanged, a distraught Muammar Qaddafi issued a warning to other Arab leaders that this was "serious" and "your turn will be next", recalled Abdulrahman al Rashed, a columnist with the London-based Asharq al Awsat daily.

Now, as an international coalition launches strikes against Col Qaddafi's defences, it seems it is his turn. But why did Col Qaddafi fail to practise what he preached? Because dictators can't change their stripes.

Col Qaddafi had ample time to make the transition to a normal system of government and change his bloody ways.

He could have spent his massive fortune on making good on his many promises to alleviate his people's hardships and improve their quality of life.

Libya's crisis proves that it is almost impossible for an absolute ruler to learn from his mistakes. Saddam didn't learn from his defeat in 1991 and in the years thereafter he was consumed by thoughts of revenge rather than reconciliation and change. Similarly, Col Qaddafi continued with his malicious ways as if nothing around him had changed.

"Now he is presented once again with a last chance to look for a peaceful way out, although it seems the situation won't allow it."

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk