x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Unfinished revolutions

In both Libya and Egypt, the forces that sparked revolution lack the popular support to impose their plans, an Arabic-language pundit says. Other topics: Syria and Lebanon and Israel and the Arab Spring

In Libya and Egypt, inexperience and disarray are standing in the face of needed reforms

The current Libyan administration seems to be unable to set the country's future in order, said Abdullah Iskandar, the managing editor of the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat. Every decision taken is soon withdrawn or revoked.

Despite the distinguished political performance that this administration demonstrated during the combat phase against Col Muammar Qaddafi, and despite the National Transitional Council's ability to gain official status as the political decision-maker, the country still lacks a project to supplant the former regime that practically eliminated every state institution in Libya.

"The Libyans have yet to agree on the pillars and the form of rule of their new state."

It is believed that this difficult and complicated situation is essentially caused by the nature of the powers yielded by confrontation with the former regime.

On one hand, there's the modern, liberal political elite that led the diplomatic assault and succeeded in attracting Arab and international support to bring down the regime. But, once victory was declared, those same powers didn't enjoy the strong internal support required to implement the programme they had promoted in their diplomatic campaign.

On the other hand, there are the armed militias known as the rebels. They control the situation on the ground according to their regional and tribal affiliations. These Islamic militias live by a rather simplistic ideology that holds onto the principles of political Islam.

"A conflict emerges between political powers seeking to re-establish the state based on a modern constitution and modern laws on one side, and armed forces that move whenever they deem the laws and the articles of the constitution proposed to be incompatible with their ideology on the other side," said the writer.

Some aspects of the Libyan dilemma can be observed also in the transitional phase in Egypt - despite different details. In Egypt, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is viewed as the sole guarantor of the well-being of the state and its interests in the face of a melange of powers dominated by Islamists.

Clearly, the two main points of controversy now in Libya and Egypt alike are the elections and the nature of the next constitution. "This indicates that the revolution in both countries didn't stem from a reformative project sponsored by deeply rooted political powers that enjoy extensive and convincing popular weight, but rather by an accumulation of sudden surges from which various parties sought to benefit," Iskandar added.

In both countries, reform is a project waiting to be completed by quasi-modern powers without a validating popular base and conservative Islamic and traditional powers with no experience at ruling or coping with the requirements of a modern state.

No Arab Spring with an Israeli occupation

It is baffling to see the Palestinian issue out of the spotlight in the midst of the Arab Spring, opined Adnan Assayid Hussein in the Sharjah-based newspaper Al Khaleej yesterday.

"Can the peoples' pursuit of liberty and justice be dissociated from the Palestinian cause, the fairest of all human causes?" he asked.

"What is the value of justice without resolving this cause and backing the Palestinian right to self-determination? What is the point of freedom for Arabs while Palestine remains under Israeli occupation?"

Arab officials, Palestinians included, are turning a blind eye to the Zionist settlements in Jerusalem. Even when the number of Arab Palestinians has been reduced in East Jerusalem, no attention has been paid and no diplomatic initiative was made.

Where is the false promise of a Palestinian statehood? The US-backed Road Map? The International Quartet and its agendas? Has the UN retract all its resolutions on Palestine since 1947?

The Arab Spring must boldly answer these questions, for there is no true Arab Spring as long as the Israeli occupation - with its racist and Zionist character - continues.

No Arab Spring will work out with sectarian and regional strivings within in the Arab nation, and while Zionists plot to see the Arabs fall into a trap.



Syria standstill affects Lebanon's politics

The conflict between factions in Lebanon is partly attributed to the politics of the Syrian issue, wrote Abdul Wahhab Badrakhan in the Lebanese newspaper Annahar.

Following the failure of the Syrian regime in surmounting the impasse, its supporters find no comfort in the "farcical elections", the writer said, but the regime's opponents cannot expect a quick success.

The stagnant situation in Syria revives the hopes of change in the political equation in Lebanon. The regime's proponents in Lebanon seek to push farther than the current political status, but they are also aware this may backfire, given that the current "stable situation" in Lebanon has been based on precarious foundations.

"[Lebanon] is living in a situation akin to a 'political civil war'," he warned. "The political rhetoric is reminiscent of the one on the eve of the 1975 civil war".

Only the Michel Aoun camp senses an interest in capitalising on the Syrian crisis "in a bid to snatch [the opportunity] before the wind blows elsewhere".

There is an attempt to use Hizbollah and its weaponry to put forth a proposal for an "understanding" with the US to split power, along the line of what has been going on in Iraq.


* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk