x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Arabs should play a bigger role in Syria

Arab newspapers comment on remarks made by Turkish officials about Syria, which they say indicate a stronger regional role for Turkey but such remarks might be used by the Assad regime to justify crackdown. Newspapers raise other questions; will the Security Council extend Nato's commission in Libya? What does Lebanon need in order to face Israeli hostilities?

The Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's diplomatic description of the outcome of his visit to Syria could not hide the meagre results of talks with Syrian officials, wrote Hassan Haydar in a commentary for the London-based daily Al Hayat.

It was clear that the top priority for the Syrian regime was to suppress the revolution.

No sooner had Davutoglu left Damascus than did Syrian authorities announce they would continue their campaign against protesters. Such obstinate attitude by the Syrians had prompted Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain to recall their ambassadors. Egypt followed suit by warning the regime that Syria is heading to a point of no return. Qatar reached the same conclusion: the Syrian regime is elusive and cannot be trusted.

By missing the Turkish initiative, the Syrian regime has chosen to confront the world. Russia and China have begun to review their positions, as they can no longer disregard the international consensus on the situation in Syria.

Yet, the growing isolation of the regime might not have direct influence on it. the Syrian authorities might use it to tighten their security grip by killing and arresting more people. The regime knows the international community is not in a position to intervene militarily to stop it.

Arab countries can yet play a role in standing by the Syrian opposition and imposing economic sanctions.

Israel still violating Lebanon's border

Lebanon is seeking through diplomatic channels to secure international pressure to stop Israel violating its sovereignty whether by land, sea or air, noted the Emirati newspaper Al Khaleej in its leader article.

It is allegedly reported that Israel intends to provoke Lebanon to drag it into a new war that will serve its interests in that country.

Clearly, the violations by Israel against Lebanon do not attract the attention of superpower countries. Nor do they prompt the UN to firmly denounce such acts.

Some time ago, Lebanon released statistics, which revealed that Israel had violated the country's sovereignty 8000 times since the UN Security Council issued the resolution 1701 at the end of 2006 aggression.

As long as there is no decisive response regarding these infringements from the UN, Israel will be back once again to threaten Beirut by taking over the oil and gas in its territorial waters, not to mention the drinking water in the Wazzani and Litani.

Empowered diplomatically, economically and militarily by its strongest ally the US, Tel Aviv continues to do this undeterred.

To end this situation, all Lebanese political forces are required to organise their position so they can make Lebanon stronger and more able to protect its unity, sovereignty and resources.

 

 

Turkey reiterates its regional influence

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayep Erdogan's message to the Syrian leadership, delivered by his foreign minister, affixed Turkish superiority in the Arab region and emphasised the extent and efficiency of Ankara's power, observed Abdulbari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of the London based Al Quds Al Arabi daily.

One day after Mr Davutoglu's visit to Damascus, Syrian tanks began withdrawing from the city of Hama, ending a 10-day military campaign that reaped 200 martyrs. At the same time, Mr Erdogan stated he expects immediate reforms in Syria within two weeks at the most.

"This means that the Syrian command responded to the three essential Turkish requests: stopping the bloodshed, withdrawing the tanks from cities and towns and starting immediate democratic reforms."

Excessive optimism and jumping to conclusions must be avoided in this case, although it does seem that the Syrian command heard some harsh arguments that convinced it to reconsider many of its internal and regional policies.

"Turkey is no mail delivery service, but rather an essential regional power. Its recent activity in the Syrian situation isn't meant to wave threats of a military intervention, but to prevent the intervention of Western states or their allies, for the Turkish authorities are aware of the perils of such a step in the region."

Extending mission in Libya will not be easy

Britain's recent recognition of the National Transitional Council as the sole legitimate government in Libya does little to change the fact that the international military interference against the Qaddafi regime is nearing a dead-end, said the columnist Waheed Abdulmajeed in the Emirati newspaper Al Ittihad.

Only a few weeks remain before the expiration of the UN Security Council commission to Nato to interfere in Libya to protect the civilians. The renewal of the commission would be difficult, not only because Russia and China would resist it.

"In fact, most of Nato's member states weren't enthusiastic about the military intervention from the start. Only six of them took part in the air raids, mostly using British and French war aircrafts."

Paris has been once again talking about a peaceful settlement that is expected to bring about developments that would change the Libyan scene.

In any case, a renewal of the Nato commission will not be an easy task. Those requesting it, mainly Britain, will have a difficult time convincing the Security Council to grant them an extension to the military operations in Libya, especially that it is clear now that their objective doesn't stop at the protection of civilians, but surpasses it to forcing Colonel Qaddafi to step down.

* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk

translation@thenational.ae