Geneva 2 ‘a funeral for the world’s conscience’

An analysis on the Syrian talks, by Taoufik Bouachrine in Akhbar Al Youm. Other topics: Egypt's future (Ezzedine Choukri Fishere – Al Masry Al Youm) and the Arab Spring (Hazem Saghiya – Al Hayat)

Powered by automated translation

The Geneva 2 talks that ended on Friday were “the biggest funeral for the world’s conscience, that despite its legacy in human rights and progress, has failed to lend a hand to a people who have been slain for three years now”, wrote Taoufik Bouachrine in the Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Youm.

During the Geneva 2 meeting, representatives of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad’s government would make statements for the world’s media outlets as if they were really officials from a normal state, not a bunch of criminals who have so far killed 150,000 Syrians, displaced 6 million and wounded 500,000 others.

The Geneva talks, it was hoped, would rescue the Syrian people. Instead, all parties have intervened to fight each other on Syrian territory with no moral or human concerns while the Syrians, including children and women, are paying dearly for that in their blood.

The US does not want the Al Assad regime but its enmity towards the Al Qaeda affiliates in the Levant is greater, and so it is not in a hurry and does not mind the current situation. Mr Al Assad is weak and no longer poses a danger to anyone except for the Syrians; the radical groups cannot beat him either, so let them, Washington seems to say, kill each other.

Russia acts like a merchant who is ready to sell poison if that would generate greater incomes. Russia’s main concern is to prove its existence to the Obama administration, siding with the Syrian regime in a bid to have significant clout in the region.

Saudi Arabia, which has armed a large part of the opposition, is not concerned about Syria, the revolution and the Arab Spring. Yet it wants Syria destroyed for allying with Iran as it seeks to curb Tehran’s sway in the region.

Qatar has withdrawn from the war because it became aware of its wrong calculations after the weaponry reached Al Nusra Front and the battle against the regime developed into a larger regional war.

Turkey also backed off when it realised that the West was not serious about arming the opposition and toppling the regime even after the latter crossed the United States’ “red lines”.

There is no obvious way out. Mr Al Assad is not willing to give up by talks what his rivals could not take by arms, especially since international military involvement has been taken off the table. Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition is weak, divided and busy fighting Al Qaeda affiliates.

The Syrian regime will end only when the geopolitical bets behind it end, but by that time, the credence the world’s conscience will have lost will be greater than the Syrian blood.

Egypt needs a new democratic trend

“For three years, I have been saying that a peaceful transition requires a national agreement, involving all political players, on the foundations of the new Egypt”, wrote the novelist Ezzedine Choukri Fishere in the Cairo-based newspaper Al Masry Al Youm.

The military council said in 2011 that this was not likely; the Muslim Brotherhood said in 2012 that it was not important; and the new authorities said in 2013 that it was no longer possible. They all said that and keep sorrowfully asking for a way out of the three-year plague, the writer said.

Change-advocates who took part in, or sympathised with, the January 25 revolution must realise that the goal of all parties working together to build the country has failed.

“No one wants a modern democratic state except us, so we have only ourselves to count on to build a door for our country to get it out of dictatorship and guide it towards freedom and justice,” the writer suggested.

That door does not involve a new uprising, protests or violence to overthrow the regime. The way is by building an organised democratic trend, with a clear vision people can relate to and able to get Egypt off the ground.

This is no easy task; it needs perseverance to get over obstacles and target long-term goals, the writer concluded.

It’s time to replace the ‘inside-out’ dichotomy

Over the past three years, the Arab Spring revolutions have shifted us from the tyrants’ “inside-outside” dichotomy to a new “regime-people” dichotomy, argued the columnist Hazem Saghiya in the London-based daily Al Hayat.

The first dichotomy has long dominated the Arab world. In it, the Arab public were not treated as citizens, but as numbers that must “resist colonisation, imperialism and Zionism” and had to relinquish their rights and accept their brutal regimes only because those regimes resisted, or pretended to resist, outside enemies. Freedom, living standards, education and health had no importance.

Evoking the old notion of Egyptian thinker Ahmed Lutfi El Sayed that without dictatorship there will be no colonialism, the newborn dichotomy has brought a radical change: let’s start with the more visible enemy at home, the one responsible for people’s woes.

However, the picture does not become complete without a third “society-society” dichotomy. True, the departure of tyrants is necessary, but that is not enough, the writer said.

The third dichotomy acknowledges a bad power inside society, created because of longtime tyranny that regenerates violence and repression.

* Digest compiled by Abdelhafid Ezzouitni