x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Three forces exert ongoing and pernicious influence on Arab uprising

A commentator says the Egyptian presidential run-off will see a fierce battle between the Islamist camp and the military.

The Arab revolution has laboured and brought forth an unknown quantity, to say the least, wrote Abdelilah Belqziz in an opinion piece carried by the Sharjah-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

"At the outset, there were great expectations and the prospects for a peaceful democratic change showed a lot of promise," noted the writer. The revolutionary youth set their sights on ending tyranny and corruption, setting up a national consensus authority of all revolutionary forces with a view to establish their own institutions, regenerating the political landscape, and bringing back politics to the realm of relativity.

However, frustrations came in succession. No sooner had the revolution toppled a few heads than other ones popped up to replace the predecessors in hankering for power, using money to buy political representation, and monopolising political influence.

Three forces have wreaked havoc on Arab states, aborted the change process and brought Arab societies to a deadlock.

"The first issue is the deep-rooted despotism that has desolated public life and killed politics, publicised its values to civil society and political society and generated its replacements in the social structure."

The pernicious ramifications of the era of despotism have spread through not only human rights and freedom of speech, but also on culture, notably political culture. Under tyranny, political banning and power monopoly ran deep. So did opportunism, pragmatism, extremism and vengeance, to name but a few.

"The second of [these] forces is the Arab political opposition from all across the political spectrum, be it liberal, leftist, Islamist or nationalist," the writer said. "These have not ceased to prove to be weak, incoherent and pragmatist."

The revolutions have clearly exposed them all. Behind the curtain, with the collapsing regimes, revealed how ready they were to accept incomplete solutions, leaving behind millions of revolutionaries.

Furthermore, the events uncovered the opposition's opportunistic approach when the revolution became grist to the opposition's mill, to the expulsion of the revolutionary youth. Even worse, in some countries, a part of the opposition condoned foreign interference and taking up arms.

The third factor is the foreign powers which have found in the Arab protest movements a good opportunity to wield different kinds of intervention. "In the countries where they lost allies, they have sought to turn events to their advantage and to divert protests from peacefully staking a claim to democracy into pushing for armed violence," he noted.

"The goal has been to plunge specific countries into chaos, civil war and exhaustion of forces and resources."

These three categories combine to bring the Arab nations into chaos.

World braces for the fallout from Egypt vote

The unprecedented worldwide interest in the Egyptian presidential election is not a labour of love for Egypt, nor is it because Egypt is a major military and economic power, opined Taoufik Bouachrine in an article posted on the Moroccan news website Febrayer.

"This time around, the world is concerned with the Arab world for the unfolding fundamental transformations that would have wider repercussions on the entire region, including Israel."

The Egyptian judiciary will emerge as the top winner in the election struggle, for ensuring fairness and transparency of the election process. This achievement will boost the judicial system as an authority and as an arbiter between all political actors in a country where democratic traditions are just beginning to take hold.

The Muslim Brotherhood's influence extends over the majority of the Islamic organisations across the world. Egypt's winds of change will blow through the entire region.

Mohammed Morsi played several trump cards to be the top vote-getter in the first round, including the organisation of the movement he is hailing from and his frequent emphasis on the two occasions when he was jailed under the Mubarak regime.

"The forthcoming runoff slated for June 16-17 will see a fierce battle and acute polarities between the Islamist camp and the military," concluded the journalist.

Assad is emboldened by the silence abroad

Rarely do butchers heed the lessons of history. They allow themselves to bend the facts and twist evidence to the point of accusing their victims of killing themselves in a vicious scheme to distort the image of their ruler, said columnist Elias Harfoush in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat.

"Based on this, when asked to offer an explanation for this past weekend's massacre in Hula, Syrian officials didn't have any qualms about telling us that the residents of those villages - Sunni villages - actually slaughtered each other, while surrounding Alawite villages helplessly triedto save them from themselves."

Of course, this version of events conflicts with the international monitors' confirmation that they have witnessed the regime's tanks bombard the town.

Mass murderers believe that they have the upper hand since the world is unable to stand in their way.

Nothing could be more encouraging for butchers than the assurance that there isn't a force in the world capable of stopping them. As long as the tools of international mobilisation, including the Security Council resolutions, aren't worth the paper they were written on, nothing deters a ruler from murdering his own people.

* Digest compiled by Abdelhafid Ezzouitni