x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Internal and external forces divide Lebanon

A round up of commentary in Arabic language newspapers.

Many Lebanese politicians must wonder what has obstructed the process of forming the new government, and may think of internal as well as external causes, noted the Lebanese newspaper Al Anwar in its editorial.

It is legitimate to ask why there is a delay in announcing the new government since people have already chosen its form at least. As known, external powers do not object to bringing it into light, so it is the internal political players who are to blame because they apparently have deadlocked in bringing in a final formula for the executive team.

Some, however, blame external factors, namely the latest developments in the Arab region, for not being conducive to accelerating the process. Taken from this perspective, this means Lebanon is still heavily under the influence of both inside and outside forces.

In principle, Lebanese citizens should not delve into the maze of the infamous Lebanese politics, but all that they want to know is when the government will resume activities and what is the cause of its delay?

Lebanon is almost unique in this. Politicians stop dead whenever an internal event takes place, which potentially could have an impact on Lebanon. A political freeze follows as the case now.

Normal Lebanese, in fact, care less about external factors. What they expect is that their government take care of their needs, no matter what.


The Syrian regime should act rationally

"A wind of change is blowing across Syria, and has resulted in huge human, material and political losses. Only a radical solution can compensate for such casualties, but neither the people, nor the regime has defined it yet," argued Satea Noureddine in a commentary for the Lebanese newspaper Assafir.

The masses and the regime have broken links, and the only dialogue going on is in the street. Protesters express their demands through slogans, while the authorities answer back by shooting live ammunition.

It has always been obvious that the gap between the two sides is wide, because the regime has enformced a repressive system for more than half a century, suppressing people's aspirations to embrace new ideals that match present realities.

Ironically, amid the protests, the authorities confessed that there is a basic dilemma facing it: the danger of sectarian strife in the country. This makes the Syrian case stand out differently from its counterparts in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Moreover, Syria is less likely to receive outside support from its allies, such as Turkey and Iran, which were taken by surprise of demonstrations that erupted.

The system needs now to take swift action to introduce real reforms which correspond to the aspirations of the people. It should also avoid the mistakes done by other Arab regimes.


Incomplete Iron Dome in Israel is a mistake

In his daily article for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan, the columnist Mazen Hammad remarked: "On Sunday, Israel began deployment of its Iron Dome system, which, upon completion, is supposed to protect Israeli cities against resistance missiles. The system's first battery was put through its first operational test, although the Israeli air force confirms that the system is still far from perfect."

Some are speculating that the government is postponing the full deployment of all of the dome's batteries out of fear of failure, and others are warning against the consequences of deploying a system that cannot provide full-proof and comprehensive protection for all the towns that are within the reach of Palestinian rockets.

Only two of the system's batteries are in place for the moment, which barely cover a minor part of the area and gives Hamas and Islamic Jihad ample room for manoeuvre in other unprotected areas. This proves that the deployment of an incomplete Iron Dome system was a mistake.

At a time when the Israeli command seems to have taken the Egyptian warnings seriously, the reverberations of the ongoing Arab revolutions cast a gloomy shadow on the Israeli decision-making process related to challenging Arab developments. Many Arab countries are currently transitioning into more serious stages of dealing with Israel.


Yemenis are wise enough to succeed

"Since the crisis in Yemen has moved from city squares to the negotiating table, the parties should recognise the importance of embracing wisdom to solve the crisis. This can be a sound alternative to mobilisation and counter mobilisation in the streets," noted the UAE daily Al Bayan in its editorial.

For this to happen, both sides should be more flexible. But most importantly, they need to put the interests of the country as their top priority. Yemenis know more than others the risk that a long-standing crisis may pose, and also know that either side does not have the tools to win the final battle.

Meanwhile, the people's interests have been disrupted because security is not assured amid internal political wrangling as well as outside challenges. Yemen's stability is also important for the region and for the whole Arab world. The conflict is not about power but about legitimate popular rights.

Thus, besides a mechanism of transfer of power, any talks involving the future of Yemen need to focus on exploring a political formula on how to meet the requirements of stability at the national level. Yemenis can succeed because they can go beyond tribal restrictions and use of arms, as the ongoing events have shown.


* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi