An Arab writer says Libya was expected to be on a safe course to democracy and stability by now, but it hasn't worked out that way. Other digest items incude: Iranian election, Egypt.
Libya's rebirth isn't a success so far
Libya is proof that Nato knows how to destroy a country, but doesn't know how to rebuild it
Most of the news coming from Libya is distressing, the London-based daily Al Quds Al Arabi said in its editorial yesterday, following the deadly car bomb explosion in Benghazi.
"The country is experiencing successive crises over more than one aspect of affairs: daily living, politics and security, and they are mostly because of the inability of the feeble political elite to build and empower state institutions," the paper said.
The city of Benghazi in the eastern part of Libya is the birthplace of the revolution that toppled Muammar Qaddafi's regime.
On Monday, two big explosions shook the city, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens, according to official reports. One of the blasts was a car bomb that exploded next to one of the city's busiest hospitals.
Libya is experiencing chaos because of armed militias that have taken over the country since the revolution and are coercing government institutions into acquiescing to their demands.
Two weeks ago, an armed group besieged the ministries of foreign affairs and justice to force the parliament to vote for the so-called political isolation law.
It is true that the government was elected by the people, but it is weak, the paper said.
Under the controversial new law, many of the government's ministers face the threat dismissal, since they held official positions in Qaddafi state institutions during his 40-year reign. "Interestingly, there have been only two Arab countries to issue a political isolation law: Iraq was first to introduce such a law, in order to uproot the Baath party and isolate its officials. And now Libya has followed suit," the paper noted.
"Political isolation isn't the only thing the two countries have in common. Both countries also witnessed a US-led Nato military intervention aimed at toppling their leaders."
Western countries that had dispatched fighter jets to bring down the Qaddafi regime are uneasy about the recent bloody developments in Libya.
A number of western embassies or consulates have been facing attacks by armed militias. The latest attack was unleashed on the French embassy.
Libya was supposed to have been freed from dictatorship more than two years ago. By now, it was expected to be on the safe and sound course to democracy and stability.
However, the situation on the ground is bleak. The government is debilitated, corruption is at its worst and armed groups that place themselves above the law are dividing up the country into power zones.
"Nato knows how to dismantle a country and topple a regime. What it doesn't know is how to bring about stability and assist in building an alternative state. Therein lies the tragedy of the new Libya and the new Iraq," the newspaper concluded.
Rafsanjani's ambition creates ripples in Iran
Tuesday's announcement by the former Iranian president, Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani, that he will stand in the presidential elections on June 14, certainly led to reshuffling of the cards in Iran, columnist Tariq Al Homayed wrote in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.
"This is an expected reaction as Mr Rafsanjani isn't just any contender; he is the Iranian fox. His announcement led to speculation that Tehran is at a crossroads and is trying to break out of its political isolation, especially as it faces monumental tasks ahead," he wrote.
Iran has to deal with the steep demands of the Syrian revolution as well as its own delicate economy, in addition to the global community's pressure over its controversial nuclear programme.
Some observers see that accepting Mr Rafsanjani's candidacy may be an attempt to defuse the crisis with the international community and mitigate the effects of the regional situation and the economic dilemma.
Others interpret the pro-reform candidate's declaration as blatant defiance of the unwavering supreme leader and the revolutionary guard camp. They suggest that his candidacy may again bring Iran's internal crisis to the fore.
"The ramifications of Mr Rafsanjani's step could affect the entire region," Al Homayed said. "The fox's return would surely cause confusion."
Egypt loses sight of revolution's objectives
It is clear that chaos and political instability have weighed heavily on Egypt's already-faltering economy, read yesterday's editorial in the Dubai-based newspaper Al Bayan.
Protests, fuelled by the raging conflicts between parties and factions, have become a daily occurrence in Egypt.
Security is poor in the country of 90 million people, where there have been deliberate attempts to induce fear and spread chaos through schemes for terrorist attacks on vital establishments. Such plans have been unveiled recently.
"The failing security situation in Egypt seems to have pushed certain officials to point their fingers at external agents and accuse them of backing and financing those who try to spread chaos," the editorial noted.
"However, this shouldn't distract the world's attention from the Muslim Brotherhood's failure to manage the country's affairs, as they are indeed one of the main culprits."
Egypt's frail economy has no hope for cure, but security and political stability must return. Removing the former regime wasn't the only objective of the revolution. Other objectives such as social justice and freedom have yet to be realised, the writer concluded.
* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem