x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

The international response to Syria's crisis has been lacking

Arabic-language newspapers tackle the hot spots of the Arab uprisings, in particular the recent violence in Egypt that has led to so much uncertainty.

It is quite opportune that the United Nations, with all of its institutions, committees and delegates, has finally come to terms with the sheer scope of the humanitarian disaster and the colossal economic losses in Syria, said Abdullah Iskandar, the managing director of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat.

"But there is something fishy about how long it took for such a discovery to take place, especially since it has been two years since the military campaign against the Syrian people began," he added.

Why didn't UN officials hear the calls for help from Syrian citizens, who have found themselves trapped under the rubble of their own homes? Did they not believe the data and reports of the past two years from revolution committees and the opposition about the devastating effects of the military solution? Haven't they received messages from countries where the Syrians have taken refuge, mainly Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, which reflect the scope of the catastrophe?

It was clear since the first shots were fired in the Syrian crisis that the dimensions of the disaster would become unimaginable. It was expected that the killings, destruction and displacement would reach the levels that we see now.

Nonetheless, the international community and the United Nations went through a process of endless visits, reports and administrative expenses to assert what was common knowledge since the very beginning.

"The UN could have saved itself all the trouble and expense had there been the political will, at the international level, to impose a solution that would have ensured the rights of the Syrian people and the continuity and stability of the state," the writer suggested.

It is good that the UN is now seeking to raise funds and provide aid to the Syrian people inside the country and in refugee camps outside Syria. However, even if we were to suppose that aid will provide some help to alleviate the suffering, that will not necessarily stop the devastation, killing and displacement. As long as the regime's military offensive continues, nothing will halt the disaster.

"It would be more advisable for the UN along with the international powers to work towards towards halting the military action altogether," he added.

Once again, the international envoy Lakhdar Ibrahimi is scheduled to address the Security Council on January 29 in the hope of reaching a unanimous decision on Syria.

But in view of Syria's official position towards Mr Ibrahimi and his proposals for a solution, the failed US-Russian talks and Iran's persistence in offering unlimited support to the Syrian regime, it is safe to say that the chances for the UN to do its job in Syrian remain quite low.

Cairo's chaotic politics allow for few solutions

Going by the recent developments in Egypt, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. The opposition is thriving despite all attempts to weaken it, Tariq Al Homayed wrote in the London-based newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.

The events of last Friday and the subsequent incidents do not augur well for a stable Egypt in the foreseeable future, the writer noted.

The chaos that the country has been experiencing, even as it marked the second anniversary of the uprising, indicates a deep-rooted crisis that requires urgent solutions. There is a party still "lying in wait like an eagle: the army", Al Homayed wrote.

The Muslim Brotherhood can neither muzzle critics, nor can it impose a fait accompli in the presence of a powerful army.

With their greed for power and their desire to monopolise everything, the Brotherhood has antagonised people across the Arab region.

Attempts at seizing state institutions are preposterous; even "a novice in politics would not commit them, let alone an organisation that practised politics for as long as 80 years", he said.

The Brotherhood is losing power remarkably fast, especially after protesters were killed.

They are unable to perceive how serious the situation is in Egypt and how they have led the people to unite against them.

A shared failure as the state withers in Egypt

"In short, we can say that the state has disappeared or decided to disappear. In the best case, we can say that the state is unconscious, or that some key pillars have stopped functioning," wrote Emad El Din Hussein in the Egypt-based Al Shorouk.

We used to mourn old revolutionary martyrs and demand punishment for their killers. Now we have new martyrs in Suez, in Port Said and in Ismailia.

"The question is whether it was possible to avoid these new massacres, or were they inevitable?"

If the administration of President Mohammed Morsi had exercised any political wisdom since taking office on July 1, we would not have reached this stage. We would have celebrated it as a day of joy, and not of sadness.

If the interior ministry changed the security policy and actually trained officers and soldiers on how to deal with the protesters, as the new minister, Mohammed Ibrahim has claimed, these martyrs would not have died in Suez.

If the state had fought the militias, we would not have seen underground groups wearing masks and carrying weapons roaming the streets in daylight.

"We all are guilty: the state, the government, the political parties, media, the judiciary and the elite. But the major responsibility belongs to the president, who is in charge of the country.

* Digest compiled by Translation Desk

translation@thenational.ae