x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Splits among Libyan rebels

The defeat of Muammar Qaddafi won't bring peace in Libya if the factions fighting him compete among themselves, an Arabic-language commentator warns. Other topics: Syria and Turkey, Syria and Iran, and Palestinian statehood.

Libyan TNC's factions remain divided

The Nato-backed Libyan opposition forces have achieved considerable victories on the battlefield, as evidenced by their capture of the strategic city of Zawiya, the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi noted in its editorial.

The military advance confirms that the Libyan regime is becoming ever more troubled, and that it is only a matter of time before the capital is conquered.

"Clearly, Nato command is adamant on penetrating the city of Tripoli … by the end of the month of Ramadan when its military mandate in Libya expires."

However, while international recognition of the Transitional National Council keeps growing, concerns are surfacing in the West regarding the council's ability to control the raging disputes between its liberal and its Islamic factions.

Such concerns are compounded by fear that Mostafa Abdel-Jalil and other leaders of the TNC will not succeed in forming a new executive council to replace the one that was recently dissolved amid growing dissent between factions.

One thing is certain: that Col Qaddafi's forces and regime are facing weeks of hardship as Nato intensifies its raids. The number of casualties is expected to rise in the next phase.

In any case, "a military resolution will not bring stability to Libya due to its tribal nature and the TNC's inability to control all of its factions."


Statehood will give Palestinians an edge

Recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations would have both legal and political aspects, the Emirati newspaper Al Bayan said in its leader article.

Accordingly, a Palestinian success at the UN might not prompt a negative Israeli reaction to a subsequent proposal for new negotiations.

That's because it might provide stronger impetus for further unilateral initiatives to internationalise the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, including raising the pending issues in international legal venues such as human rights bodies and the International Court of Justice.

It is also possible that the Palestinians could seek membership in many UN bodies which are not under the aegis of the Security Council. Joining such agencies is likely to give the Palestinians additional powers, at least on paper, allowing them more margin to manoeuvre internationally. This will include bringing urgent issues to UN organisations for negotiation and resolution.

In terms of litigation, Palestinian statehood might empower the International Criminal Court to look into the crimes perpetrated in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which would encourage Palestinians to ask further for their rights.

Meanwhile, regardless of the fate of the Palestinian proposal, it is time to resolve such fundamental questions of refugees, settlements, borders, water, Jerusalem and, most importantly, the Oslo Accords.

Turkey ponders tough measures on Syria

Turkey is so irritated at the bloody suppression of protests in Syria that it is contemplating cooperation with the international community in a possible military intervention against Damascus, columnist Mazen Hammad wrote in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.

Turkish officials said Ankara addressed a final ultimatum to president Bashar Al Assad through its foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who visited Damascus last week, the columnist wrote.

Mr Davutoglu reportedly told Mr Al Assad that Damascus would no longer be able to rely on friendship with Turkey, should the violence continue.

Some details of the meeting that found their way to the press reveal that Ankara is preparing to denounce Mr Al Assad's regime, which lays the groundwork for practical procedures against Syria.

Of course, Turkey stated that it wouldn't interfere militarily in Syria and would not allow international forces to cross its territories into Syrian territories. But Turkey could decide to join a coalition against its neighbour, which would be a dramatic turning point in the Turkish position.

In any case, Turkey is expected to recall its ambassador to Syria soon, and then to freeze its various projects and investments there.




Iran hard at work to abort Syrian revolution

After Col Muammar Qaddafi, the prime minister of Iraq, Nouri Al Maliki, has become the second Arab leader to condemn the Syrian uprising, calling it chaos and destruction, wrote Abdul Rahman Al Rashed in a comment article for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.

The reason for this attitude is to be found in a statement by a senior member of the State of Law Party, to which Mr Al Maliki belongs. It is reported that Iran exerted pressure on its allies in Baghdad to support the Syrian authorities with $10 billion (Dh36.7 billion). The official told the newspaper that Mr Al Maliki evidently co-operated with the Iranians and spoke up to support Syrian president Bashar Al Assad.

"I doubt the amount is correct … but saving Al Assad has become an urgent issue for Tehran. And for this reason, Al Maliki has recently received official delegations from Syria, while Tehran provides Syria with money, oil, weapons, militia and … military expertise to abort the revolution."

It is also reported that Iran warned Washington to make no bid to extend the stay of US troops in Iraq.

It will be a misinterpretation of the situation in Syria if western governments believe they have any say in Syrian events. Syrians should be responsible for their choice and design their future.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi