x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Hitto can't represent all Syrians

The Syrian issue dominated the Arab Summit in Doha. It's clear that they need a trustworthy figure who can represent them in the future. Other topics: Egypt, Arab writers.

Interim PM Hitto was designated by a small part of the opposition and can't represent all Syrians

The Syrian crisis is the cardinal issue on the agenda of Arab leaders at the Arab Summit that opened yesterday in Doha, especially in view of its humanitarian, political and military impact on Syria and the entire region, wrote the columnist Abdulrahman Al Rashid in the London-based newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.

This time around, it wasn't Bashar Al Assad who filled Syria's seat at the conference, which has been vacant since 2011 when the country's membership in the Arab body was suspended.

The president of the Syrian National Coalition, Moaz Al Khatib, despite his resignation only 48 hours before the summit, walked into the conference hall with a delegation of opposition figures amid applause and took his country's seat.

While the opposition delegation was being celebrated at Doha's lavish hotels, Col Riad Al Assaad, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army, lay wounded in an attack that took place in the town of Mayadeen.

"There is no way to compare the eligibility of those who make the change happen on the ground with their own hands while risking their lives every second to those who argue at conferences over cabinet positions," the writer observed.

Last Tuesday, members of the Syrian National Council in Istanbul elected the opposition member Ghassan Hitto to head the new interim government that will be an alternative to the Assad regime. A day before the explosion that targeted Col Al Assaad, the FSA had issued a statement rejecting Mr Hitto on grounds that a prime minister must be approved by all opposition factions and not only by the majority of some factions.

"It is quite strange that the coalition chose a man for the highest administrative position in the state without even bothering to ask for the opinion of those who risk their lives on the ground, such as the FSA and the General Commission of the Revolution," he added.

The problem isn't Mr Hitto himself or his Kurdish origins. It is that no one knows him since he has been living in the US for decades and it would be hard to convince the Syrian people that he is the right man for the job.

Syrian rebels are facing a most brutal and unethical enemy. For two years, they have been paying a heavy price for their uprising. They need a trustworthy figure at the helm, someone who can represent them in the future.

The sad truth is that the opposition coalition doesn't represent all Syrian factions and its own members are divided among themselves. Mr Hitto was the choice of only a part of the coalition. Therefore, his detractors' positions are understandable.

But, in any case, the situation would only get more complicated in Syria unless a consensus is reached.

Egypt needs a miracle to end the crisis

Unless a miracle happens, a clash between the Muslim Brotherhood, its Islamist allies and the majority of the Egyptian people looks inevitable, wrote Emad Eddine Hussein, the editor of the Cairo-based newspaper Al Shorouk.

The confrontation that looms large on the horizon will not be a political one. That was tried over the past months and failed to end the dispute. Now it is going to be a physical violence, the writer noted.

Political parties are turning into militias, sending their supporters to attack demonstrators near the presidential palace and chase after activists and journalists; some political forces are besieging Egypt Media City and the Supreme Constitutional Court; others are backing the Black Bloc to stop public transportation and attack public facilities and offices of Islamist political parties.

The state has disappeared and the police are powerless or unwilling to enforce the law, creating an ideal breeding ground for armed militias.

If this situation continues, it will not be long before wars of words and violent demonstrations develop into a fully-fledged war.

With the absence of law enforcers and weapons entering the country, the polarisation has come to head, with some secularists considering sending Islamists back to prison as the only solution to the crisis.


Arab writers still far from modernism

If a writer approved the reality, he would not write a word; for objection, rebellion and angst are the bedrocks of writing, observed Yusuf Damrah in an article in the UAE-based newspaper Al Emarat Al Youm.

If writing were not about objection, Franz Kafka's character would not have found itself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect, Samuel Beckett would not have created his protagonist Godot, and Don Quixote would not have carried his spear and set off on his travels, the writer said.

A modernist writer cannot combine modernist concepts and traditional structures.

Modernism is an indivisible whole. It does not stack up, for instance, to be modernist in poetry, and reactionary at home or with people, he wrote.

What is happening in the Arab world reflects schizophrenia in the Arab personality, including many writers. Arab culture wants to use the material feats of the West without getting rid of the conservative way of thinking.

The Arab modernist project has constantly collided with this duality in the Arab character; traditional contents with modernist forms in literature; people talking big about democracy and freedom with complete involvement in traditional projects, the writer concluded.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk