x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Syria strife bad news for Lebanon

Arabic editorials also comment on King Abdullah's warning to Syria, the latest FNC session and the folly of removing Arabic as an official language in Israel.

Lebanon will suffer from Syria's crisis

On Monday, Lebanese MTV channel offered a preview of the heavily engorged, highly explosive situation in Lebanon, commented Daoud Al Sharyan in the pan-Arab Al Hayat newspaper.

During a live political talk show, a dispute ensued between the regional secretary of the Baath party and a former Future movement MP that quickly developed into a brawl with cups of water and chairs flying about.

"The incident goes beyond an on-air dispute. It expresses Lebanon's stance on the Arab League concerning the Syrian crisis and the serious repercussions the country will suffer as the crisis evolves in Syria," the writer said.

Lebanon's prime minister Najib Miqati has tried to explain that Lebanon's position towards Syria was a necessary move to protect Lebanon.

"But Mr Miqati's problem isn't with the Arab states that are aware that Lebanon is still pawned off to Syria. The issue is internal as there are entities that view the fall of the Syrian regime as a direct threat to their existence and they wouldn't shy away from enflaming the country in order to maintain their positions and protect their neighbours."

In the coming few weeks, Lebanon will surely transform into a backyard for the Syrian crisis for at this point, Damascus has no other alternative than to transport the battle into Lebanon and the Palestinian camps present in it.


Assad unlikely to listen to Jordananian king

King Abdullah of Jordan's unequivocal advice for his old friend Bashar Al Assad to step down and put and end to the current crisis in Syria only indicates an Arab-US agreement that all diplomatic efforts that are being exerted at the moment, including the Arab League initiative, are a mere play of time and a preamble to an already agreed military interference to topple the Damascus regime, said the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi in its editorial.

"The Jordanian king isn't speaking on a whim. He is one of the most politically informed Arab leaders in view of his close ties with the US and the Gulf states that have been increasingly leading joint Arab efforts and imposing their will on the region."

The advice coincides with the Turkish escalation as prime minister Erdogan expressed his disappointment in the Syrian president "who has missed every opportunity for a solution".

No one can foretell what the next step would be. What is certain for now is that the time for diplomatic solutions has gone and that a military interference is the title of the upcoming phase.

However, nothing indicates that Mr Al Assad is about to take the Jordanian king's advice and step down. On the contrary, it seems as if he's pressing forward with his violent clampdown of the uprising.

"More bloody surprises can be expected and we must learn to live with this crisis for months if not years."

FNC members have a 'great' duty to honour

The 15th legislative chapter of the UAE Federal National Council (FNC), the country's parliament, was kicked off on Tuesday by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, ushering in a new phase of advancement for the semi-elected legislative and consultative body, wrote Mohammed Al Hammadi, an Emirati writer, in the opinion pages of the Abu Dhabi-based Al Ittihad newspaper.

The 40 members of the FNC, half of whom were elected in September and the other half recently appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates, have a great duty before them, the writer said.

"Parliamentary duty actually starts with members assuming full responsibility for the post, before holding others accountable."

Some positive aspects have come together in this new FNC. Ninety per cent of its members are new, and most of them are below 40 years of age. The rest are experienced members known for their honourable service to the nation. Plus there are seven women in the new FNC, two of whom are PhD holders.

"This new configuration gives the FNC a dynamic boost," the writer said. "But the responsibility remains huge."

Part of that responsibility is to develop the mechanisms of the FNC and better determine its prerogatives. The members have got the support of the leadership and the people, and all are looking forward to achievements.

Knesset MPs to scrap Arabic in Israel

The draft motion recently tabled by a group of Israeli Knesset members to strip Arabic of its status as an official language in Israel, next to Hebrew, was such a "foolish move", wrote Israeli commentator Moshe Arens in an article carried yesterday on the website of the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds.

More than being foolish, it is "an expression of disrespect to more than one million Israeli citizens whose mother tongue is Arabic", the writer went on, posing the question: "Why look at Arab citizens so disparagingly at a time when the biggest challenge for Israel is to integrate them into Israeli society and make them feel at home, in Israel?"

Arabs are not a small minority in Israel - they make up one fifth of the population.

While most Arab Israelis speak Hebrew fluently, most Jewish Israelis do not speak Arabic, which is a shame. "It is this discrepancy that, in fact, needs to be set straight," the writer noted.

"Arabic must become a requirement in all [Israeli] schools, and its mastery must be a pre-requisite for graduating high school."

Indeed, the move to try and demote Arabic is rather shameful; it hurts the Jewish majority as much as it does the Arab minority.



* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk