x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Turkey becomes the region's role model

Editorials and columns in Arabic-language newspapers selected for excerpting today also touch on Arab silence on the Syrian crisis, the new Lebanese cabinet and the struggle between Hamas and Fatah.

Turkey is a new role model for the region

I'm not sure if Turkey is in a state of gradual and cautious emergence, or if we are just starting to recognise it for what it is, wrote the columnist Abdulrahman al Rashed for the London-based daily. Asharq al Awsat.

What is sure, he went on, is that Turkey is no traditional Middle Eastern state. Following a third win for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) with a little less than 50 per cent of the vote, the writer suggested that "we are in for four extraordinary years for Turkey under the prime minister, Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, who will leave a lasting mark on the era of Turkish history which began when Kamal Ataturk built the country into a modern state.

"Turkey is different from the Arab model, it can't be likened to an Islamic state such as Iran and it isn't European."

In his victory speech Erdogan addressed the Arab world when he vowed that Turkey would be a role model for the region. The countries of the region have been used to looking up to a leader. In the '50s, it was Gamal Abdel Nasser who inspired military coups and nationalism. Then followed the unsuccessful Baathist model, which was succeeded by the doomed Iranian revolutionary ideology that revived religious radicalism.

"We are now before a Turkish model that is also inciting change, led by a man with ever-growing popularity."


Arab world must speak up about Syria

The UAE has taken an explicit decision to stand by the Libyan people in their plight and in their uprising to get rid of the Qaddafi regime, wrote the columnist Mohammed al Hammadi in an opinion article for the Emirati daily Al Ittihad.

Despite the support and recognition offered by the UAE and some other states to the Revolutionary Transitional Council, a number of Arab states have, for unknown reasons, not yet decided on a position towards the Libyan crisis.

The Syrian people are going through one of the worst crises in their recent history as protests rage on in most cities against the government's security clampdown.

"Syria isn't waiting for help from the US or the EU and not even from neighbouring Turkey. Syria is only waiting for the Arabs to show support and save it from a grinding battle between the people and the regime. What are the Arabs waiting for to make a move?"

The Arab silence towards the government's heavy-handed response is no longer tolerable. An explicit Arab position must be declared, for any further delay in this matter would be harmful.

"It isn't in the Arabs' interest that non-Arabs interfere in this conflict. The door to reforms and dialogue will not remain forever open. An Arab intervention to save the internal Syrian situation is of the essence."


A Lebanese cabinet to rescue Syria

The newly formed Lebanese cabinet has been described as the strangest in the country's history as it broke with the custom of dividing ministerial posts among Maronites, Sunnis and Shiites, commented Daoud al Sharyan, a columnist with the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat.

The accelerated efforts to form the long-awaited cabinet have been attributed to a Shiite readiness to sacrifice their entitlement to a sixth minister in order to resolve the Sunni representation dilemma. But most probably the sudden formation came as a response to the crisis in Syria.

This isn't a probability based on President Bashir al Assad's swift congratulatory calls, nor is it based on the fact that Prime Minister Najib Miqati repeated Hizbollah slogans of resistance and focused on the special international tribunal for Lebanon.

"The acceleration in the formation of the Lebanese cabinet came upon a Syrian directive as a governmental vacuum in Lebanon would reflect negatively on its support for Damascus."

A further delay would have led to a political situation compounding Syria's internal confusion and allowing for some Lebanese powers to side with the uprising. Since Syria has opted for a military solution to the revolt, a political solution in Lebanon was essential to form a confrontation-ready government in Beirut, in case circumstances call for confrontation.


The dilemma of the Palestinian cabinet

News of ongoing communications between Fatah and Hamas regarding the formation of a Palestinian cabinet are overshadowing other news, declared the pan-Arab Al Quds al Arabi daily in its editorial.

Of major importance is Israeli settlement-building in occupied territories as the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Mr Netanyahu, make his rounds in Europe to hamper Palestinian efforts to extract international support for an independent state.

Palestinian sources are reporting a scheduled meeting between Kahled Mishaal, Hamas' representative, and President Mahmoud Abbas next week in Cairo to try to reach an agreement on the cabinet.

Fatah insists that Dr Salam Fayyad remain in his position as prime minister, while Hamas demands that Jamal al Khodari be designated for the post.

The problem lies in the fact that western and Arab donor countries tend to support Mr Fayyad who enjoys great credibility with them. Thus it is understandable that President Abbas does not want to upset those donors by designating a prime minister they don't welcome.

His fear is that the donations would stop and Mr Fayyad would become a third power who would retain western support.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem