x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Global powers must face the 'new world non-order'

As chaos descends, the world is lacking true leadership, an Arabic-language commentator says. Other topics: Syria and Tunisia.

"The world's pulse is accelerating at an alarming pace that signals an impending explosion," opined the columnist Octavia Nasr in the Lebanese daily Annahar.

We live in a chaotic world that is in dire need for some balance. Technology and the internet are taking on an ever-growing role in bringing the world together and shrinking distances.

The definitions of rich and poor have changed dramatically, and if the events of the past two years have proved anything, it is that freedom is much more precious than riches, poverty and even life itself.

Ordinary people around the world have been demanding their rights and rising up against tyrants. The revolutionary pattern is gaining in momentum and there are no signs of it subsiding in the near future.

Communist China is fast becoming the world's economic leader. Its growing investments in developing regions such as Africa and the Middle East would inevitably plunge it into any political or military conflicts in these areas, the writer said.

With the abatement of US influence and the historically removed role of Europe, with the exception of Russia and Turkey, Africa and the Middle East regions seem to be wide open to all sorts of agendas. Arab revolutions gave rise to numerous entities, large and small. They won't all succeed eventually, but the chaos is so prevalent that jungle law would prevail and only the right entities would hold out in the end. "But the question here is: what is the best option and how can it be determined?" she said.

Those aware of the turmoil are working diligently to expand and affix their bases. Conservative Islam and Christian and Jewish radicalism are perfect examples of this theory.

At a time when we have every reason to believe that such notions as the global village and the virtual universe are taking the world towards secularisation, it turns out that accepting the virtual world as a concept is a lot easier than agreeing to implement its principles in real life.

As a result, extremism is propagating at every level of society. Radicalism is spreading everywhere while the true peacemakers adhere to tolerance, ignorant of the fact that they are being exploited. When the right moment comes, extremists mobilise their supporters under one slogan and quickly take over power.

"Amid all this, the world seems to lack any kind of leadership. The UN, its peacekeeping forces, its delegates and its resolutions aren't taken seriously. Nato and its allies are accused of bias. The Arab League has no place or voice in the ever-changing Middle East.

"Meanwhile, entities such as Israel Iran and Hizbollah behave as unabated bullies," added the writer.

"If all this isn't a horrible chaos, what is it?"

Any dialogue involving Assad is doomed

Is US secretary of state John Kerry, in his first move in the Middle East region, seeking to engage in a dialogue with the Assad regime? Imad Eddine Adeeb asked this yesterday in the London-based paper, Asharq Al Awsat.

The US administration is apparently urging the Syrian opposition abroad to hold a dialogue with the Assad regime, thus making once again the mistake of supporting foreign policies it knows beforehand that are not workable, the writer observed.

The US decision to back dialogue is part of a bargain between the Mr Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

Russia is trying to buy extra time for its staunch ally through dialogue, even though they know that any national dialogue involving Syrian president Bashar Al Assad is doomed, he wrote.

The account currently promoted among regional and international milieus is that dialogue would incorporate only the Baath figures that have not been involved in killing the Syrian people. And it is the Syrian vice president Farouk Al Sharaa who is being portrayed as a "different case" inside the Syrian regime.

In fact, some factions of the opposition said in secret that they would accept that Mr Al Sharaa represents the regime in dialogue.

The US is convinced that a ground victory or a military intervention will take a while; but in the meantime, it is using some diplomacy, the writer concluded.

Ennahda in tough bind after Belaid's murder

Rashid Ghannouchi, the leader of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia, declared after the assassination last week of Choukri Belaid, a prominent left-wing activist, that "I'm not Ben Ali and Belaid is not Bouazizi".

Mr Ghannouchi was referring to former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled by a popular uprising sparked by Mohammed Bouazizi.

Commenting on the Ennahda leader's statement, columnist Amjad Arar wrote in yesterday's edition of the Sharjah-based newspaper, Al Khaleej, that Mr Ghannouchi "has unwittingly positioned himself as the ruler of Tunisia, while in fact he does not hold any official post".

But aside from this slip, Ennahda's leaders at large have been making bizarre statements following the assassination.

They started blaming "the enemies of Tunisia", which, according to them, could be any party, from Arab states to Israel.

Belaid's murder has, indeed, enraged Tunisia's liberal circles and galvanised protests across the country.

Blame games aside, Ennahda leaders must realise that "foreign conspiracies" - if this is the case at all - always exploit the structural shortcomings of the political body in a nation. And this should be a concern to them more than others, he said.

* Compiled by the Translation Desk