x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

West colluded with Qaddafi for money

A round-up of commentary articles in Arabic newspapers.

In an article featured in the opinion pages of the London-based daily Al Hayat, the managing editor Abdullah Iskandar wrote that Col Muammar Qaddafi's downfall these days looks a lot like his rise in 1969: it is characterised by unbridled bloodshed and a heavy dose of charlatanism.

But this "Brother Leader" who refers to Libyans as "rats" and "stray dogs" now that they are revolting against him has succeeded for years in "bringing western powers to collude with him against his people".

"Washington has injected 'new life' into Qaddafi's regime when it accepted his bribe, consisting of compensation for Lockerbie and corporate access to Libyan markets. It was enough for the US to turn a blind eye on the practices he inflicted on his people and his continual breach of human rights."

For her part, Randa Taqiy al Din, a columnist with the same newspaper, said: "Europe and the United States are liable in a major way for opening up to Qaddafi.

"Everyone was in such a hurry to bring him back into the international community. All that mattered was payments be made to the families of the victims and the Bulgarian nurses be freed. As soon as that was done, his large tents were pitched in France and Britain - no questions asked."

Dialogue key to defuse tensions in Bahrain

Bahrain needs all its friends, allies and neighbours in order to get out of the biggest political crisis it has seen in recent memory, wrote Mansour al Jamri, the editor-in-chief of the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat.

Despite deep sorrow, folks in Manama started to cheer up on Tuesday evening when the ministry of interior began to release political prisoners. On the same day, a high-ranking Kuwaiti delegation, assigned by the Emir of Kuwait, visited Bahrain and held meetings with the Crown Prince and key figures from the opposition.

"Based on what a member of the Kuwaiti delegation later told me, the Crown Prince was sincere, abreast of new developments and determined to get out of the impasse through a form of dialogue that is perfectly open to opposed views."

Something similar was expressed by another member of the Kuwaiti delegation, who met with senior religious figures from the opposition. He said they were also convinced that serious dialogue, bolstered by concrete guarantees, is the way out of the crisis.

The martyrs who died and the youth that took to the streets have imposed a reform agenda; for that they deserve reverence and much appreciation. Likewise, we should demonstrate approval of the goodwill gestures from all the parties that want, like us, a better future from all Bahrainis.

Message to all Arab leaders' advisers

A lot of unexpected things have happened in the Arab world since mid-December last year, but it is never too late to take stock, commented Mohamed al Hammadi, an Emirati journalist, in the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper Al Ittihad. So, it is befitting now to send a direct message to those who give counsel to Arab leaders these days so they can remedy systemic malfunctions before it is too late.

"Go tell the rulers that what is happening in Arab states today is real. Do not hide truths or embellish mistakes; don't make them err more.

"Don't advise them to temporise, for that time-worn strategy achieves nothing today. Instead, tell them this is the best time to listen to the people's calls and effect reforms. Tell them any delay or procrastination would not be in their best interest.

"Everything that was in 2010 and before has no relevance whatsoever to what is in 2011 and onwards. The way ruling is undertaken and the way people are handled must change. Go tell them that failure to respond to the people's aspirations or any attempt to repress those aspirations will only lead to more revolutions.

"So go tell them, for some of them are good-doers and most of them don't want to go through the same fate as the others."

US humiliates Afghans one more time

"Gen David Petraeus, the commander of the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan, is said to be one of the most professional US military officers, but news reports about the way he runs the war in Afghanistan undermine this perception and, in fact, prove its contrary," stated the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial.

Several days ago, Gen Petraeus incensed the Afghan government when he said that local parents in the Kunar province, which has been bombed by US planes, were burning their kids alive to raise the death toll in hopes to stop the air strikes.

"Gen Petraeus's statement, which is lacking in taste and humane consideration, has turned officials in the Hamid Karzai government berserk."

Militarily, the US is in a big mess in Afghanistan, but the ethical mess that comes with that is even graver.

"If Gen Petraeus's statements enraged the faithful US ally Hamid Karzai and his ministers, what kind of impact will his words have on Taliban supporters and the rest of the Afghan people?"

The US raids in remote villages in Afghanistan and Pakistan have never achieved the stated goal of reducing the Taliban's encroachment in Afghan territories.

* Digest compiled by Achraf El Bahi