x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Arabic newspapers discuss Libya and Egypt

Editorials in Arab newspapers address the issues of the West's options in Libya, Turkey's attempts at mediation, Egypt's choice for an Arab League head and prospects for a Palestinian state

West weighs its Libyan options carefully

In an article for the Lebanese Annahar daily, the columnist Rajeh al Khouri commented that the West continues to test the Libyan rebels and their transitional national council.

"It is unclear as of yet in which direction the winds are swaying the Libyan conflict, which seems to be set on course to civil war."

No other revolution in the Arab states has had the Libyan revolution's share of proposals and roadmaps. But all these attempts come at an inopportune time because, based on the military facts on the field, Col Qaddafi, on one hand, doesn't fear an impending defeat that would force him to step down. Meanwhile, the transitional council isn't convinced that victory would be hard to achieve without serious international intervention.

The attack and retreat operations continue under a puzzling equation. The western alliance neither allows Qaddafi's forces to move eastward to crush the rebels nor does it empower the rebels to move westward to overthrow the regime. "The conflict is managed into a series of devastating battles that have no clear end in sight."

A close look into the geography of Libya reveals why the alliance is hesitant to take decisive action. Removing the colonel from power could grant them easy access to his country's riches, but it is also likely to trigger a wave of extremism that poses serious threats to Europe and the West.


Debate over Egyptian Arab League nominee

The decision of the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces to nominate Mustafa el Fiqi for the soon-to-be-vacant post of Arab League secretary general has caused a lot of noise lately, stated the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial.

Public opinion is split in two for considerations that range from the personality of the Egyptian nominee to his previously held political positions.

The April 6th Egyptian youth movement opposed the nomination earlier this week saying the current Egyptian government, which is supposed to represent the revolution, is not entitled to nominate a person who served the dismantled regime.

"Dr el Fiqi served as the secretary of the deposed president Hosni Mubarak, and chaired the foreign affairs committee in the Egyptian parliament for years, representing the National Democratic Party."

On the other hand, Mr el Fiqi's supporters say the man has extensive experience in diplomacy, having served as his country's ambassador to many European states, and has solid credentials and strong ties with the Arab intelligentsia, which makes him perfectly cut out for the job.

"Still, there are many other perfectly qualified personalities in Egypt that deserve to represent the new Egypt in this important position."


Turkey's mediation fails to convince rebels

"While Turkish vessels bound for Turkey carried onboard hundreds of Libyans injured in the fighting, opposition forces were protested against this move and tried to prevent an aid ship from reaching Benghazi port," wrote Samir Salha in a commentary for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

"They also imposed a cordon around the Turkish Consulate to express their rejection of Ankara's mediation proposal to resolve the Libyan crisis."

These incidents showed that Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has so far failed to convince rebels of the roadmap it suggested to end the crisis. They also pointed out that Turkey sought to prevent efforts to arm them, which will prolong the survival of the regime.

Although Ankara has always been advocate of democratic reforms in the region, rebels considered it as mostly concerned with protecting trade and financial contracts it concluded with Col Qaddafi's regime. They also think of Turkey as solely interested in preserving its regional position in Africa, which is threatened by the direct intervention of western countries.

The Turkish official stance draws on a ceasefire plan and peaceful transition of power. Yet, rebels believe this plan and similar ones suggested by other Arab and African countries is an attempt to turn the conflict in Libya into an international one over Libya.


A Palestinian state needs support

All efforts that could promote the Palestinian people's right to self-determination must be fully supported, declared the Emirati Al Bayan daily in its editorial.

A UN report that was issued on Tuesday stating that the Palestinian Authority is prepared to assume the rule of a state. This long overdue report represents yet another affirmation of the truth and a strike at repeated Israeli efforts to bury the project of an independent Palestinian state.

The report doesn't spell out how the UN could assist the state to come into existence in September, but it does confirm the Palestinian people's right to establish an internationally recognised sovereign state of their own.

Comprehensive and unified Arab support is an essential requirement for the realisation of this dream. It should be followed by international support for the birth of the independent state. Essential too is Palestinian internal reconciliation that would gather all Palestinians around one powerful leadership.

However, the Palestinian state cannot be built unless occupation ends. The success of the state requires international recognition despite Israeli objections. An urgent resolution must be issued to validate the Palestinians' right to their own independent country.


* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk