x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Libya's violence is now attracting oil sharks

A round-up of the region's press from Arabic newspapers.

The situation in Libya is inciting foreign interference. It urgently invites it as the regime fights back fiercely against the anti-government rebels, observed the columnist Daoud al Sharyan in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

The balance of power between both signals a prolonged battle. The rebels and the regime are waging a war of time, but time isn't in the favour of the country and its innocent citizens. Unfolding events seem to predict political and military circumstances that would redefine the scene in a way that forces neighbouring countries to intervene. Libyan borders extend to Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria and Tunisia, which would allow for an easy influx of weapons and combatants and make any control over these borders an impossible mission.

So far, both the regime and the opposition agree on rejecting foreign interference, but their positions could soon change if events were to evolve in a catastrophic way. Muammar Qaddafi wouldn't hesitate to use all the fatal weapons in its arsenal against the rebels. It is this obstinacy that would drive Libyans to seek the assistance of western countries. But foreign countries are not offering help for free.

"The Libyan people's ambition for a revolution similar to those of Tunisia and Egypt seems to be out of the question at this stage. Libya is an oil producing country and the sharks are no longer capable of staying away."


Many thanks to the Emir of Kuwait

"His Highness the Emir of Kuwait succeeded in turning the page on a dispute between the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman at a time that can be considered an important chapter in the series of risks that the GCC has been encountering since its foundation," commented Tareq Homayed, the editor-in-chief of the London-based daily Asharq al Awsat.

The veteran sheikh, known for his diplomatic skills, made many trips between Muscat and Abu Dhabi until his efforts culminated in having Sheikhs Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Mohammed bin Zayed and Mansour bin Zayed accompany him to the state of Munah in Oman, where the dispute between the two countries was laid to rest.

The Kuwaiti Emir succeeded in his efforts despite little press coverage and completed his mission without making one heroic statement, because he is a wise leader who is a witness to the seriousness of Iranian power in the Gulf.

Safeguarding the GCC entity is the unwavering demand of all GCC citizens: for the council to overcome its small differences to better face the grave challenges ahead. Our entire region is going through a huge political earthquake, the ramifications of which are still appearing and which necessitate a unified front for tackling touchy issues starting with Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and others.


A crisis at the border of Libya and Tunisia

Fears escalate of a developing refugee crisis at the Libyan-Tunisian border, as tens of thousands of refugees crowd the border passages in an attempt to escape turmoil in Libya, declared the Emirati daily Al Bayan in its editorial.

Meanwhile, the international community remains silent, especially European countries that were prompt to find partial, unilateral solutions to establish air and maritime bridges to evacuate their own citizens. They are neglecting the rest of the refugees and repeated distress calls from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for a swift mobilisation to avoid the worst.

The numbers of refugees of various nationalities have exceeded all expectations, as more than 100,000 people were forced to flee Libya during the past two weeks. They now need large camps on the borders, in ports and airports where aid services can be provided.

These are priorities. International authorities are required to organise relief convoys for west and east Libya, for the situation threatens to escalate into a humanitarian disaster.

Tunisia willingly assumed its humanitarian responsibilities when it opened its borders to host refugees from Libya. It is rightly entitled to call upon the international community to assume its responsibilities as well and to alleviate its burdens.


Anti-revolution started early in Lebanon

The Lebanese too want to share in the revolutions taking the Arab world by storm, wrote the columnist Hussam Kanafani in an article for the Emirati daily Al Khaleej. But since religious sects and the concept of revolution don't converge, and since sects only revolt against each other, the need has become urgent to break away from the vice of sectarianism that controls all aspects of Lebanese politics.

"The people want to topple the sectarian system." Under this slogan, hundreds of Lebanese gathered in a group on Facebook and organised their first popular movement last Sunday. The turnout was surprising and proved that many are fed up with this archaic system that only breeds civil wars.

Attempting to change the situation is obligatory, and time will only tell if efforts are successful Hundreds today will become thousands tomorrow and form a pan-sectarian force that could override the system, if not abolish it.

The problem with the Lebanese movement, however, is the early "anti-revolution" it encountered. Prominent figures from the sectarian system began declaring their support for the movement, thus stealing the thunder from the budding revolution and minimising its impact and effects.


* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem