x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Qaddafi is repeating Saddam's manoeuvre

Libya's leader, rising school fees and other news from a round of opinion pieces from the Arabic press.

The Libyan leader Col Muammar Qaddafi's most recent statement about his people's love for him and their readiness to die for him might not be his last, as the colonel is always liable to have new tricks up his sleeve, observed the columnist Abdallah Iskandar in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

"A lot can be said of Col Qaddafi's bloody, tyrannical personality and his disconnection from the rest of the world, but the man is a first-class manoeuvrer. This is precisely what enabled him to rule Libya for more than 40 years."

It is unlikely that the scenarios that drove out the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt would have any effect with Libya's Col Qaddafi due to the difference in the composition of authority between these countries.

In Tunisia and Egypt, the army is the backbone of authority and the source of the president's strength. In Libya, however, Col Qaddafi made certain to dwarf the armed forces as he viewed them as a threat to his rule. In the present crisis, there is no effective power to force him to step down.

He is adamant on fighting back, realising that only a military operation against his last fortress would force him out. It could be his last attempt at regaining his image of a hero facing foreign invasion, just as Saddam Hussein did before him.

"Saddam Hussein's tactic failed and brought devastation upon Iraq, and Qaddafi's tactic will meet the same fate."

Price increase adds to people's burden

"Dubai's inhabitants have welcomed the Executive Council's decision to freeze school fees for this year," observed the Federal National Council member Maysa Rashed Ghadeer in an opinion piece for the Emirati newspaper Al Bayan. "It was a timely resolution amid news about potential price increases that will affect consumer goods."

Prices together with government fees have soared at short intervals more than in other countries. So any further price hikes are going to be beyond the capacity of families and will remain a cause of continuous complaint, as shown by the so many calls to live radio shows. Many pointed to the lack of intervention on the part of concerned authorities to stop this trend.

At issue is the disproportionate rise of prices and government fees in comparison to salary increases. Individuals have been under increasing stress to meet basic life demands, which cut into the bulk of incomes.

It is imperative that the UAE government take the necessary measures that will include control of the prices of water, electricity, gas and other consumer goods and services not only in the emirate of Dubai but across the country.

Some may think that increasing salaries will solve the problem, but this is not going to be an effective measure as long as traders push prices higher every time, while the government raises its service charges.

Bahrainis should put issues in perspective

"What happened the day before yesterday in a number of schools in Bahrain is a shame, because involving students in a political battle of a sectarian nature is an act that will have adverse implications in the future," observed Mansour Al Jumari in a commentary carried by the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat.

Educational institutions are supposed to prepare generations for the kind of problems Bahrain is going through now.

"I am not blaming any particular party, but I hope all civil forces with some influence rush to protect schools from the ongoing political wrangling." The current crisis is basically due to a lack of trust between various segments of society and the government, a situation that seeds fear for a potential community split as public hatred has already risen. There are also calls for expanding oppositional movement, although they have set no clear goals or identity. This may harm the cause for which seven martyrs fell.

"Who would like to see Bahrain dying? And who will take advantage, whether the opposition or others, of a country torn apart?"

Time is in short of supply, and this is not the right time for blaming anyone. All Bahrainis need at this critical period is to think rationally and get together to pull the country out of its plight.

Two authorities only reinforce division

When Palestinians were protesting in the West Bank and Gaza recently, it was under the slogan "The people want an end to division, the people want an end to occupation" unlike the protesters in Tunisia and Egypt who called for the toppling of the ruling regime. Nonetheless, they were oppressed, beaten and kidnapped just the same, observes the Emirati daily Al Khaleej in its editorial.

Such an abominable act on the part of both authorities in the occupied and besieged parts of Palestine in fact betrays their intentions and confirms that Palestinian reconciliation and unity are not on their agenda.

Both authorities want to remain in power by force. They resist and refuse any effort, even by the Palestinian people, to put an end to internal divisions, which would eventually lead to national unity, the only way to promote and fortify the Palestinians against the Israeli occupation.

"Both authorities are trying to block the Arab revolutionary wind blowing their way. They refuse change as a way to safeguard their virtual gains that serve none other but the enemy."

The ongoing division destroys the goal of unification of the people which would change the course of the game in their favour.


* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk