x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

SNC divisions are damaging

The resignation of Burhan Ghalioun shows how badly the Syrian National Council is divided, and improvement won't be easy, an Arabic-language commentator says. Other topics today: Egypt and the two-state solution.

Ghalioun's departure reveals the fundamental problems of the Syrian National Council

Last Thursday, following a two-day meeting in Istanbul, the Syrian National Council issued said it had accepted the resignation of Burhan Ghalioun, the head of Syria's main opposition bloc, the London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi noted editorially.

Mr Ghalioun's resignation on May 17, and its subsequent acceptance, reflect the extent of divisions not only within the council itself but also in the ranks of the opposition in general, the editorial went on.

"The SNC's main problem is multifaceted," argued the paper. "To begin with, it is made up of varied personalities living in the diaspora who lack the political expertise that comes only from practice. Also, the council has been permeated by a conflict between its religious bloc, headed by the Muslim Brotherhood and the secular bloc headed by Mr Ghalioun. Added to that, the gap between the council and the local coordination committees, which are shouldering the biggest burden in the revolution, is wide."

In fact, the SNC's crushing internal crisis goes back to the fact that it was formed in haste and its leaders were selected without careful consideration. Such expedited measures may have been based on the misconception that the tyrannical Syrian regime would soon collapse under the sheer mass of the uprising.

But contrary to all expectations, 15 months into the revolution and more than 10,000 casualties later, the Assad regime endures.

That said, it is not for want of determination among the rebelling people that the regime in Damascus has managed to survive.

Russia, China, Iran and a number of regional states have been providing the Assads with uninterrupted support in the form of money, weapons and political backing at the UN Security Council.

The Syrian people have made immense sacrifices since the beginning of the revolution. Their resistance so far has been nothing short of miraculous, but the external opposition that represented them abroad has not been on par with these sacrifices; it has been marred with petty conflicts, competition for positions and exchanges of accusations.

The SNC was supposed to be the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and the alternative to the regime, but it failed to deliver on its promises and therefore lost much of the political support it gained, mainly from the US, when it was founded.

It was indeed a big mistake when the council leadership rejected a call by the Arab League to meet in Cairo to look into the expansion of the council in a way that would have brought in various other factions of the Syrian opposition.

If the council couldn't coexist with other opposition groups, it would be difficult to expect it to coexist with a considerable portion of the Syrian population that still supports the Assad regime, the editorial concluded.

Whatever the result, election is unparalleled

Irrespective of the results of the Egyptian election run-off, what has happened in Egypt is certainly unparalleled not only in that country's history, but in Arab history as well, according to an article by Hussam Kanafani in the UAE-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

"Now, Egyptians do not know who their next president will be. For the first time, they have called the tune, and for the first time they have felt that their ballots can make a difference," the writer noted.

It is almost certain that the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohammed Morsi and former regime figure Ahmed Shafiq have reached the run-off.

These results have brought both jubilation and frustration. The voters who cast their ballots for the run-off candidates felt over the moon, the writer noted.

However, the frustrated should digest the outcome and start preparations for the forthcoming run-off, while admitting that the elections have been the fairest in Egyptian and Arab history.

"Some revolutionaries are blameworthy for the fact that a candidate seen as an ancien régime remnant has reached the second round, because they have alienated scores of people from the revolution," he noted.

They are also partially to blame for not having agreed on one candidate and they had it coming.But it is not over yet, and the revolution should not be condemned for the acts of some members.

The two-state solution is as good as dead

Talk about the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock has become just too ignorantly optimistic. Neither party wants to admit that it is as good as dead, the West Bank-based newspaper Al Quds said in its editorial on Saturday.

Even the world community no longer sees any real potential in this long trumpeted solution.

"With the West Bank being mangled by settlements, the death certificate for the two-state solution is ready for signing, yet no party is ready to put their stamp on it," the newspaper said.

The Palestinian side, which has shown "unlimited flexibility" and eagerness to negotiate, does not want to see the peace process collapse, hoping that international pressure on the Israeli government will bear fruit some day, the newspaper argued.

And the Israeli side also wants the "big billboard" of negotiations to remain in place, because it misleads observers into thinking that there is some sort of peace process in the making.

"Benjamin Netanyahu's Israel does not want to take responsibility for shutting down avenues for talks … although it has completely emptied those talks of all substance," the paper said.

And western powers are just too busy fixing their own socio-economic problems to care about the suffering of Palestinians.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk