x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

This is the end of Col Qaddafi's rule

A round-up of commentary articles in Arabic newspapers.

"The state violence unfolding in Libya these days is sheer madness," commented Tariq al Homayed, the editor-in-chief of the London-based newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

"The scale of the violence rolled out to crush the protestors suggests that the regime is prepared to set the country on fire if that's what it takes to retain power."

Interestingly, it is this state-sponsored violence, erupting in various parts of the North African country, that signals the end of Muammar Qaddafi's regime.

After reports of air strikes against the protestors in the capital Tripoli, now we are seeing resignations by Libyan ministers and ambassadors around the world, while the Libyan deputy-envoy to the United Nations went as far as urge Col Qaddafi to step down.

No one dares to remain part of a regime that kills its own people,

"Libyan tribes are also standing up against the regime now, and that is extremely important. It means that Libyan cities are - and will be - falling under the control of the dissidents one after the other."

Outside the country, though Washington's statement about "monitoring the situation" is not doing it anymore. The international community is indeed coming out against the state violence. And some countries have started recalling their citizens. All this goes to show that the Libyan regime stands on its last leg, and on very shaky ground at that.

Will the Lebanese youth revolt as well?

Lebanon used to be known in the 1950s and 1960s as "the Paris of the East" and more commonly "Switzerland of the East" - the common denominator among all these nicknames being that Lebanon was a bastion of democracy, freedom and modernity.

Now it appears that Lebanon has managed to shine merely because it was achieving few things in a place where under-achievers prevailed; "the one-eyed person in the city of the blind, so to speak," wrote Saad Mehio, a columnist with the Sharjah-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

"Because Arab states that had just slipped out of the claws of colonialism and protectorate systems were still dazed and confused - only to become authoritarian regimes later on - Lebanon looked like a pure diamond adorning the head of a region whose body was mired in the mud."

But things have changed. While grassroots freedom movements are sweeping through the Arab world, laying the foundations for new concepts of citizenry, social dignity and equality, Lebanon is still deep in "the culture of sectarian and confessional bigotry", very distant from the spirit of radical reform that is currently changing the face of the Arab region.

The country is struggling to form a government due to the complexity of its quota-based sectarian representation. So will Lebanon's youth ever revolt against this?

Qaddafi's regime is the worst

"Yes, Libya is not like Egypt or Tunisia, that's the only part in Saif al Islam Qaddafi's statement on which we agree. Because Libya is the absolute worst," wrote Abdelbari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds al Arabi.

"In Mubarak's Egypt and Ben Ali's Tunisia, there is an infrastructure; there are hospitals and universities, institutions and road systems. None of these things genuinely exist in Libya."

So, because the situation is much worse in Libya and its people have suffered much more under Col Qaddafi's dictatorship, the chances for the success of their current revolution are substantial. The Libyan people deserve freedom after over 40 years of being the guinea pigs of Col Qaddafi's fickle politico-economic theories, starting with socialism, then the rule of revolutionary councils and finishing with unbridled crony capitalism, all of which were hotbeds of corruption.

A most important matter now is to find a way to stop the state-ordered killings. The international community must intervene to stop the bloodbath that Col Qaddafi's minions are intent to inflict on surviving protestors, after hundreds of demonstrators have died. Perhaps Col Qaddafi, who once urged his countrymen to go down to sub-Saharan Africa and settle there, must use that advice for himself, just to prevent more deaths. "Because this revolution in Libya will prevail."

Summit deference for the sake of reform

"This is the first time since the beginning of Arab summits in 1946 that voices are heard to postpone it because of the special circumstances that many Arab countries are enduring, observed Dr Ahmed Youssef Ahmed in an opinion article for the Emirati newspaper Al Ittihad.

If, in the past, summits were rescheduled due to a conflict among Arab countries on how to address major issues, the present case shows a tacit agreement among member states that the ongoing protests are likely to affect the Arab system as a whole.

News about possible postponement of the Baghdad summit due to take place in March seems to be a decision by Colonel Muammar al Qaddafi in his capacity as the chairman of the former summit held in Sirte, Libya last year after popular uprisings have raced like wildfire across the Arab region.

The latest developments will be the focus of the summit regardless when it is held. They will also prompt the Arab League members to crystallise a new attitude. Arab countries are required now, irrespective of the timing of the summit, to consider serious reforms in order to restore stability on a new and stronger basis to enable the Arab world to face the serious challenges ahead.


* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk