x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Syrian opposition must show it can be alternative to Assad

An Arabic newspaper says Libya's election heralds a new era. Another advises the Syrian opposition to become a viable alternative to the Al Assad regime. One columnist say training security forces to respect people is priority for the emerging Arab governments.

Syrian opposition must present itself as an alternative before foreign intervention follows

A long way of escalation, confrontations and bloodletting may still be ahead for Syria. Thousands more may die and billions of dollars worth of destruction and economic losses may be added to the devastation throughout the country, said Abdullah Iskandar, the managing editor of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat.

"What's certain, however, is that the regime will give in the end regardless of the consequences that will follow, whether they be a bright future of freedom and democracy or a series of civil wars among vulnerable mini-states," he said.

With the first acts of atrocity, the regime signed its own death certificate, then the popular resistance came to push it into its fateful doom.

The relentless support the Al Assad regime has been receiving internationally, from Russia and China and, regionally, from Iran and internally, from the inter-sectarian fears may have extended the crisis' life span, but in the end, it can't prevent the inevitable; the regime will fall.

The findings of the "Friends of Syria" conferences in Cairo and Paris that brought together opposition figures from all walks of Syrian life were in line with this conclusion. Therefore, the first priority for this opposition at the moment is to cut the crisis short and save the besieged population some of the unprecedented suffering they were put through.

"In this sense, now more than anytime before, the opposition is required to force the regime out. In any way, it only needs a powerful nudge to crumble since it has lost all justification, political and sectarian, for its continuity," added the writer.

The more the opposition is capable of effective action that enables it to become a viable alternative, the faster the regime's end will be.

During the international conferences on Syria, some leading Syrian opposition figures shed the light on the conflict between the armed resistance, mainly the Free Army on Syrian soil and the political powers that are manoeuvring from outside Syria. This is quite worrying for any altercation between the political opposition and its armed wing is a step further from the common goal that generated the revolution in the first place.

Others in the opposition criticised the absence of any resolutions that call for safe zones and no-fly zones. But, regardless of the importance of these steps in accelerating Mr Al Assad's fall, their implementation remains the responsibility of the opposition itself and not foreign intervention.

"The opposition must set the stage for the international community to finally take such a step that, anyway, wouldn't be made strictly for humanitarian reasons," observed Iskandar.

The Syrian opposition now holds the primary card; no solution is possible under the present regime.

Security forces must be rid of "monsters"

Arab peoples' demands prior to and during the uprising were met with brutal crackdown by the Arab security apparatuses with ruthless and hardhearted officers at the helm, Syrian journalist Faisal Al Qassem wrote in the Qatari newspaper Al Sharq.

Reports by human right watchdogs are testament to the horrible tortures in scores of Arab jails. These have become notorious for their fascism and cruelty to the extent that the US intelligence agencies handed the prisoners over Arab jails "which have expertise in the various means of torture".

The brutality of police, security forces - and even the army in some countries - was manifest during the revolutions, where "the lowest of the low were recruited to quell the uprisings…and tens of thousands of dangerous prisoners and thugs were unleashed on protesters".

These security forces wreaked havoc on several cities and villages, inflicted callous punishment on the population, plundered properties, and reaped women.

"How despicable of generals when they toot their horns about the barbarism against their compatriots rising to restore their tramped dignity," he went on.

In the Arab dictatorships, the more the killers kill their fellow citizens, the higher the rank they get. This is why the first thing the new Arab governments must do is to "train a civilised military and police leadership, and to enforce reform across security service".

Libya's election heralds a new era

Libya's election on Saturday ushered in a new era for the Libyan people who have passed the first real democratic test after decades of dictatorship, opined the Doha-based newspaper Al Raya in its editorial yesterday.

"Through their election, the Libyan people have proven that the blood of the martyrs will not go to waste, and that …they have enough capabilities to rebuild a new Libya," the editorial went on.

The sight of tens of thousands of Libyans heading towards ballot boxes to vote their representatives at the national assembly demonstrated how eager they are for liberty that they were denied under the four-decade Qaddafi rule.

The 80-year Libyan citizen who said, "I feel I'm a free citizen", encapsulated the sentiment of the Libyan people who took part in the first free and democratic election the country had ever seen after 40 years of despotism.

The High National Election Commission announced that 100 out of 1554 polling stations did not open due to acts of vandalism, especially in the east of the country, in protest against the election and distribution of seats in the national assembly.

But this does not downplay what the Libyans have hitherto achieved in their endeavour to build the new Libya.


* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk