Israel losing its power

Recent events on Israel's borders promise a new era. an Arabic-language editorial says. Other topics today; the West's long relationship with Qaddafi, the message of his fall, and Turkish diplomacy fuelling Arab jealousy.

Middle east needs new rules of engagement

Recent developments on the ground in Gaza and Sinai unveiled the hostile intent Israel's radical right government harbours against the Palestinians and the Egyptian revolution, suggested the editorial of the Emirati daily Al Bayan.

At the same time, though, it also revealed the level of deterioration of the Hebrew state, as it failed to conjure up international cover for it assaults. Developing news even suggest that Israel received harsh warning against any escalation in view of the awakening that has been rocking the Arab world.

Benjamin Netanyahu's government plotted the escalation in a bid to escape mounting pressure from internal protests against poverty, unemployment and the high costs of living, and also in an attempt to avoid the anticipated September UN vote on Palestinian statehood. But Egypt's firm response and the remarkable unity between Egypt's people and government were enough to force Israel into an apology.

"This Egyptian lesson to Israel is undeniable evidence that a new era has begun." The aggravation at the Egyptian border reflected on its Palestinian neighbour. There Israel was quick to acquiesce in a truce with the Palestinian resistance despite extensive media pressure.

The rules of engagement have changed. It is now possible to speak of an upcoming era when the Arabs will be able to dictate their will to Israel in a fashion that serves their interests best.

Turkish diplomacy incites Arab jealousy

Turkey's diplomatic movements in the crisis zones across the Arab region have irritated a few Arab countries, the London-based daily Al Quds Al Arabi daily wrote in its editorial.

An aggressive polemic was launched targeting the Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, especially following his recent unexpected visit to Somalia, along with a delegation of ministers and businessmen, to offer financial and logistical assistance to the famine-struck people.

Arab countries, mainly Saudi, view Mr Erdogan's visit and his foreign minister's visit to Benghazi earlier this month as Turkish attempts to consolidate their leadership at the expense of the Arabs.

"Turkey's ambitions are legitimate, but Arab sensibilities towards the issue betray feelings of inferiority and a shocking short-sightedness," said the daily. "Mr Erdogan didn't forbid other Arab leaders from visiting Somalia."

"Arab government are in a state of summer hibernation. They implement the agendas of others and avoid adopting any constructive Arab projects. For this reason a number of these countries are experiencing revolutions and uprisings," the editorial said.

"Those who are jealous of or feel apprehensive about the Turkish ascendancy would be better advised to simulate its diplomacy and effectively champion the causes of Arabs and Muslims."



West cosied up to despotic Arab regimes

Western powers are partly responsible for the durability of repressive regimes in the Arab world, noted Randa Taqiy al Din in the opinion section of the London-based newspaper Al Hayat.

Only now do we hear western heads of state - from the US president Barack Obama to the French president Nicolas Sarkozy - voicing their relief that the regime of Col Muammar Qaddafi in Libya is coming to an end. But it is these same western powers who helped perpetuate the rule of this Arab autocrat and others like him, the columnist said.

Take France, for instance, whose "diplomatic schizophrenia" in dealing with Col Qaddafi is unmistakeable, she went on. "Who would believe that Qaddafi … was Sarkozy's guest in 2007? In fact, a tent was set up in his honour at the historic Presidential Palace [in Paris], and he was received with unparalleled warmth, despite the crimes he had committed against his people?"

Britain's former prime minister, Tony Blair, also had no qualms about opening up to Qaddafi's regime. The Libyan leader's record did not stand in the way of Britain landing handsome contracts.

Tunisia's Ben Ali and Egypt's Mubarak have had this same treatment from western powers. "So, asking questions about the West's condonation of corruption is legitimate and necessary if we are looking forward to the future."



Will others learn from Col Qaddafi's fall?

With Col Muammar Qaddafi's regime now almost fallen, has the message come through yet to other Arab leaders whose people want them out? asked Othman Mirghani, a columnist with pan-Arab Asharq al Awsat newspaper.

Hosni Mubarak, the toppled Egyptian president, did not learn the lesson from the ouster of his Tunisian counterpart, Zineddine El Abidine Ben Ali. And Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh did not learn much from either. Even the assassination attempt that left him with severe burns appears not to have taught him the simple lesson that the people's will always prevails.

It's as if the word "leave" - and its variations - does not mean for people in power what it means to people on the street. Convalescing in Saudi Arabia, the Yemeni president told his people "see you soon in Sanaa".

As for the Syrian president Bashar Al Assad, while his forces were ratcheting up their crackdown on protests in various Syrian towns (and as the Libyan rebels were closing in on Tripoli), he was casually speaking on television about "progress at the security level".

And when asked about the people's calls for him to step down, he answered: "This isn't something to be said to a president who doesn't care about power.


* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk



Published: August 25, 2011 04:00 AM


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