x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

More massacres for Syria as regime falls victim to its own delusions

Regional editorials comment on the Tremseh massacre, possible Israeli aggressions and the demise of the Arabic language.

The Tremseh massacre on Thursday, which claimed the lives of more than 200 people, is yet another disgrace added to other outrageous massacres by the Syrian regime such as Al Houla and Baba Amr, the pan-Arab Al Quds Al Arabi wrote in its editorial.

"The Syrian regime cannot justify this massacre by putting the blame on armed gangs, as it has in all the previous massacres, because pictures do not lie," the editorial said.

UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Kofi Annan, accused by several parties of being too lenient with the regime, condemned "the atrocities in the strongest possible terms", and expressed shock over the "intense fighting and significant casualties", and confirmed the use of heavy weaponry.

"Mr Annan would not make such accusations at random,' the writer went on. "The man is trusted by the Syrian regime, and was unconventional enough to demand Iran be involved in talks to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria."

Mr Annan went even further, paying a visit to Iraq and planning another to Moscow tomorrow in efforts to stem the bloodbath and arrange a peaceful power transfer.

"We cannot fathom what drives the regime to ruthlessly perpetrate such carnage, given the victims are Syrian citizens and the regime should supposedly protect their lives … even if they oppose its views," the editorial noted.

The claim that armed gangs, or some members of the Free Syrian Army, were in the battered village of Tremseh, cannot justify, even if it's true, the killing of innocents in the manner seen on television channels.

The Syrian regime is wrong in believing that by such onslaughts, it will instil terror in the Syrian people and lead the rebellious to relinquish their uprising.

"People have not been intimidated by previous massacres and went ahead with its revolution for more than 16 months non-stop, unhesitant to offer martyrs [to the cause]," the editorial observed.

The Syrian regime must have fallen into the trap of an illusion, stepping up the crackdown to prove strength and tenacity, especially following recent defections.

The editorial was referring to Manaf Tlas, a general in the Syrian Republican Guard, who fled Syria last week, and the defection of Nawaf Al Fares, who had served as Syria's ambassador to Iraq. Both were seen as members of the regime's inner circle.

The strength of any political system lies in its commitment to humanitarian treatment of its citizens based on equality and justice, even in hard times. But the Syrian regime seems to act in stark contrast to this logic.

"We thought that Al Houla massacre would be the last, but how wrong were we? The editorial concluded. "Now we are dead certain that even more horrible massacres are ahead for the distressed Syrian people."

Israel is less likely to provoke a new war

The Iron Dome air-defence system that Israel has recently placed on the border with Egypt carries a meaningful message for a new Egypt, Amjad Arrar argued in the UAE-based daily Al Khaleej.

This measure cannot be deemed a military strategy unless followed by other measures. And it is not really a big deal when it comes to Egypt.

But the deployment of the anti-missile system, at the height of an escalation in the political discourse and media debate in Israel over Egypt losing control to terrorists in the Sinai and claims about rockets being fired from the peninsula, clearly sends a message to Egypt.

"This storm that Israel is stirring in a teacup came at the sixth anniversary of its defeat in Lebanon," the writer noted. " Israel launched an aggression on Lebanon on July 12, 2006 that ended in failure after 33 days."

The past six years have seen "Israeli voices banging the drums of war on this or that front, and six military manoeuvres held."

True, Israel watches the controversies among Arab politicians and intellectuals, and must be happy seeing "resistance to Israel becoming matter of debate among some", but it is fully aware that those taking its side "will vanish in a puff of smoke once a war starts".

Israel can bank on its US lobby to fan its aggressions, but it knows that any aggression would come at huge cost.

Colonialism left its mark on Arabic

Today the Arabic language is in deep water, Yousif Makki observed in an opinion piece for the UAE-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

"Our beautiful language is living in misery. Only a slim percentage of intellectuals master Arabic," noted the writer. "The destructive infection has extended even to TV channels, where local dialects are used in lieu of standard Arabic," the writer added.

Even those who deliver speeches in standard Arabic make countless mistakes, including in basic grammar. Moreover, many intellectuals persist in mixing Arabic and foreign languages.

Indeed, colonialism has left its mark on the language. In countries once occupied by France, intellectuals speak in a mixture of Arabic and French. And the same is true with English in areas that were occupied by Britain.

In other places, a mishmash of French, English and Arabic is commonplace, and many intellectuals, unfortunately, find it pleasant.

And to top it all, some Imams in the mosques mix standard Arabic with local dialects in religious sermons.

"It is high time to study what happened and identify the roots of the problem, with a view to rehabilitate our beautiful Arabic language.

 

* Digest compiled by Abdelhafid Ezzouitni

aezzouitni@thenational.ae