x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Morocco recognises Andalusian influence

Muslims in Spain pledge allegiance to Morocco's king after that country's constitutional vote, writes an Arabic-language editorialist. Other subjects in today's round-up: protests in Syria, tension in Lebanon and thugs in Egypt

Morocco recognises Andalusian influence

"The new Moroccan constitution recognises the Andalusian culture as one of the country's national identities … This has prompted Muslims in Spain to announce their intention to swear allegiance to King Mohammed VI as a commander of the faithful," reported Hussein Majdoubi in the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi.

Morocco is historically linked to Andalusia: hundreds of thousands of Muslims settled in Morocco at the end of Islamic rule in Iberia [before 1500AD]. But this is the first official recognition of the role of this community.

Ali Raissouni, an Andalusian scholar and activist, called this an important step for Morocco to further strengthen its ties with Europe.

In an interview with the Moroccan online newspaper Hespress, Mehdi Flores, an official of the Spanish Islamic Committee, said that allegiance is part and parcel of the Islamic state: "As Spanish Muslims, we hope to have the opportunity to pledge allegiance to King Mohammed VI in his capacity as the commander of the faithful," said Mr Flores.

"This should not embarrass the Spanish government since Catholics here paid tribute to the Pope as their religious authority … and we hope to go to Morocco to swear allegiance to the king not in terms of his political role but rather because of his religious capacity."



Syrian protesters are learning, regime is not

Friday saw massive protests asking Syria's president, Bashar Al Assad, to step down, wrote Tareq Alhomayed in a leader article for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

Syrians insist on change, and have now raised the ceiling of their demands. In this way they have already overridden the proposals made last week by certain opposition figures who met in Damascus, and the proposals made by those based abroad.

To their credit, Syrians took to the streets showing an unprecedented discipline and self-restraint. There was no violence, no sectarianism, no sabotage.

As time passes, the mistakes of the regime multiply; there is no sign it has learnt from its own blunders. This situation will lead the country to an impasse.

Demonstrators, on the other hand, have come to know the importance of remaining alert, careful and organised. They also show a deep understanding of the situation and how to deal with it. The New York Times quoted an activists from Hama saying, "We learnt from our mistakes … Sparking a partial revolution is like digging our graves with our hands." It is not surprising that half a million Syrians demonstrated in Hama on Friday, in defiance of fear.

Meanwhile, the regime is still reluctant to respond to the street demands for introduction of wide-scale democratic reforms.


Lebanon indictment must not be politicised

"The decision by the [Special] Tribunal for Lebanon, which indicted four people close to Hizbollah, came during a heated political battle between the government and the opposition in preparation for the presentation of the first statement to the parliament next Tuesday," noted the Qatari newspaper Al Raya.

The long-awaited ruling should not, however, push people from all over Lebanon's political spectrum to engage in insane debates that could jeopardise the stability of the country.

Everyone should seek justice, which needs to take its course. It is true that the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri was a crime that concerned all Lebanese. But there is no point in politicising it out of proportion.

It is also advisable not to incriminate Hizbollah and the Lebanese resistance per se. The case concerns only the four suspects, regardless of their parties or sects.

The minister of interior, Marwan Sherbal, expressed this well when he said that "the indictment decision should remain a security resolution."

Given the vulnerable political and security situation of the country, political actors need to look at the court decision not as a victory of one party or sect over another. They should work together to implement justice, and regard the national sovereign interest as their top priority.




Mere thugs threaten Egypt's revolution

"No one knows yet who targeted the Egyptian security services after the outbreak of the revolution, and why were they dispersed in the first place" Salah al Qallab noted in a commentary for the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jareeda.

Even now, many in the security forces are still being prosecuted, as if they are responsible for all the abuses that occurred in Egypt under the former regime.

Last Tuesday about 3,000 persons - it is not clear if they belonged to revolutionary youth groups or were merely a batch of thugs - attacked police forces and pushed them away from Tahrir Square in Cairo.

Many different accounts are trying to explain the causes of these acts of violence, but the reality on the ground is that increasingly thugs are dominating the scene on Cairo's streets.

In view of lack of security, it is legitimate to ask who is benefiting from spreading chaos, which can lead the country to an economic collapse.

Some say the goal in dissolving the police was "to pull the rug from under the feet of the revolution by distorting its image, hence inciting people against it."

According to many, there is an ongoing smear campaign by anti-revolutionists, which is aimed at reshaping Egypt.



* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi