Arabic comment on the brutal crackdown on protestors in Syria

Newspapers also discuss Lebanon's dysfunctional politics, Egypt's polarisation and the emerging splits among Libya's rebels.

End is drawing near for Syria's brutal regime

Even those who were most positive that the Syrian regime was coming to an end did not predict its final act to be the way it is, according to Hussein Shobokshi, a columnist with the pan-Arab Asharq Al Awsat newspaper.

"Even some of Syria's most fervent allies did not expect the regime to be this brittle and this foolish," he said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian revolution is gaining greater impetus, domestically and internationally. Since that fateful "God-is-on-our-side" Friday a couple of weeks ago, many nations started to call explicitly for a peaceful transition of power in Syria and an immediate end to the state-inflicted bloodshed.

"Calling for mere reform became anachronistic as one conviction seeped in: it is impossible for a regime that managed to mess up this badly to reform itself," the writer said.

President Bashar Al Assad has tried to persuade the world and the Syrian people that he is the only good option for reform, but he clearly failed to persuade himself to begin with.

"All he did was deliver speeches that sounded more like college lectures, without taking any part of the responsibility … for this and past failures."

The questions on everyone's mind now are: "When will Bashar Al Assad leave? And how? Will he flee the country with his posse? Will he be assassinated? Will his army turn against him?"

Lebanon: a diehard tradition called sect

What the Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati said recently about political sectarianism - basically calling it the mother of all evils in his country - is nothing but "a scream into an abyss", wrote columnist Amjad Arar in the Emirati Al Khaleej newspaper.

Sectarianism in Lebanon is only worsening. It is clamping down ever harder on the halls of government at a time when all stakeholders in the country must contain it and self-immunise against it, the writer said.

"I'm not sure if Mr Mikati's talk about the need for a period of 10 to 20 years to abolish sectarianism is a scientific forecast or just a gentle glide in imagination land."

There has been a lot of noise lately about the need to form a national commission for the abolition of political sectarianism in Lebanon. The idea is to bring together the country's wise and respected figures to find a way of building a new generation perfectly emancipated from sectarian dogma.

But given that Lebanon's sectarianism has so many layers, problems will not simply be solved by a committee of elders, however wise they may be, the writer went on.

"We're talking here about a historic undertaking that will take a tremendous amount of patience, commitment and tolerance of large pills going down one's throat."

Egypt must not fall prey to polarisation

During any popular revolution, as we have seen in Egypt, most political differences disappear. But as soon as the old regime is defeated, they reappear again, wrote Abdelbari Atwan, the editor of the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi daily.

Six eventful months have passed since the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was toppled. The people won that battle. But today, a battle of a different kind is kicking up the dust, pitting the Islamists (Salafis, Sufis and Muslim Brotherhood) against the secularists (liberals, pan-Arabists and independents).

The topic of "constitutional principles" is the hottest in this respect. The liberals want such principles as "the civil state" to be part of the country's constitution as a pre-emptive move against the Islamists' possible push for an "Islamic state".

"The liberals have their doubts about the Islamists and their future plans for democratisation, and they fear that they might impose their ideology on post-revolution Egypt."

But the political elite in Egypt cannot afford time for politicking now. Its priority must be to focus on rescuing Egypt economically, now that its deficit stands at about $14 billion (Dh51.38 billion). Forget not that "anti-revolution" hawks are still lurking in Egypt, and neither the secularists nor the Islamists must give them a chance to bog down post-revolution reform.

Divisions deepen among Libyan rebels

The dismissal of the 14 members of the Libyan Executive Council (cabinet) by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the chairman of the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC), came to shed more light on the deepening divisions among the Libyan rebels in their fight against Col Muammar Qaddafi's brigades, wrote columnist Mazen Hammad in the Qatari Al Watan newspaper.

The dissolution of the Executive Council comes after the mishandling of the investigation into the assassination of Maj Gen Abdul Fattah Younis, the leader of the revolutionary army, last month.

"It is clear that the inexperience of the (TNC) and the Executive Council works in Col Qaddafi's favour, who must be relishing the confusion of the rebel leaders in Benghazi," the writer said.

Worse still, the decision to sack the council has led rebels in Misurata, the third major city in Libya, to lose confidence in the way things are run in Benghazi.

In recent weeks, tensions emerged within the rebels' army when a fierce competition over leadership started between the late Maj Gen Younis and the Libyan dissident Khalifa Haftar, who returned from exile in the United States.

There is nothing more pressing for the TNC now than to form a new, more efficient cabinet.

* Digest compiled by Achraf El Bahi

Published: August 14, 2011 04:00 AM


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