Libya's rebirth rejects US influence

Arabic editorials also discuss Erdogan's popularity in the Arab world and Egypt-Israel tension.

Libya's rebirth may prove extremely costly

The madness that took hold of Libya for nearly six months will soon dissipate. Colonel Muammar Qaddafi is in his final days, maybe his final hours. He is a thing of the past, and the popular revolution is now a reality, columnist Satea Noureddine wrote in the Lebanese daily Assafir.

"As for the West that jumped to assist the rebels without prior planning, it has undoubtedly achieved a humanitarian and moral mission, but its role should immediately be the subject of political discussion," he added.

With the fall of Col Qaddafi's regime, a dark cloud that hovered over Libyans for nearly 42 years is lifted. What started as a national revolution against colonisation soon turned into a gangster state that controlled the minds and fortunes of the Libyan people.

So now there is a second rebirth of Libya and its people, though for years both have seemed to the outside world to be mere risible replicas of the colonel and his sons. This is also, after the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, the third sign of the merit and grace of the Arabs of North Africa.

The victory of revolutions in North Africa shows that US power has subsided, due to its external wars and internal crises. Now western Europe seeks to regain some of its traditional colonial role, as it did by giving military assistance to the rebels. This will surely prove costly if the National Transitional Council fumbles in assessing and regulating its ties with its European sponsors.

Turkey's PM is a master of public relations

"Two years ago, the star of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, started to shine brightly across Arab skies," columnist Abdul Rahman Al Rashed wrote in the London-based paper Asharq Al Awsat.

"The man took the microphone from the Israeli president, Shimon Perez, during the World Economic Forum in Davos and publicly reprimanded him for the crimes his country perpetrates in the Gaza Strip."

The Arabs celebrated Mr Erdogan's feat, faithful to their habit of hanging on to every shred of optimism.

"They are always watching for heroes, even if they always end up realising that these were just paper heroes, just embodiments of some media campaign," the writer said.

Remember Nasser of Egypt, Al Assad of Syria, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Nasrallah of Hizbollah and the list goes on of those who ended up "in the skip of history", he went on.

Mr Erdogan has been enjoying his "hero-saviour" status with the Arabs for a couple of years, and for good reason.

In his latest PR master act, he flew to Somalia to show support for the famine-afflicted people there.

Mr Erdogan has a lot to offer to the Middle East, but he must beware not to go over the top creating fluffy dreams for this region, where people "fall in and out of love too easily".


Egypt redefines rules of the game with Israel

"What is happening on the Egyptian-Israeli border is a test of two Egypts," opined Nasser Fayyad in the Cairo-based newspaper Al Wafd yesterday.

The message to Israel, he went on, is that post-revolutionary Egypt is different from Mubarak's Egypt. It is stronger, self-determined and with an army capable of defending every inch of its territories.

"What has happened on the border was not just a matter of bullets being fired and missiles launched, leaving martyrs behind. In my view, it has marked the start of a new era in the region, facing all its leaders with a real test," the writer said.

True, recalling the Egyptian ambassador from Tel Aviv and summoning the Israeli ambassador in Cairo is standard practice in diplomacy.

After all it is not the first time since Camp David that a border crisis has broken out between the two neighbours.

But it is the swiftness of the Egyptian army's reaction that has made the difference this time.

The Egyptian military command's decision to open fire on whoever trespasses on its territories is a good start in the process of changing the rules of the game with Israel, the writer concluded.

"From now on, Israeli leaders will be thinking it over a million times before deciding on how to deal with Egypt," he said.

A change in Egypt's rhetoric about Israel

"Israel must realise that the time when Egypt's sons were killed without a strong and appropriate reaction are over," presidential candidate Amr Moussa said in response to the killing by Israel of six Egyptians at the Sinai border last week.

In the Qatari newspaper Al Watan, columnist Mazen Hammad commented that "Mr Moussa's statement proves that the Egyptian rhetoric about Israeli provocations has changed, especially since he promised to ally with the Muslim Brotherhood and amend the gas agreement with Israel."

Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak did issue a preliminary apology as Cairo recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv, but the crisis is by no means over.

Egypt is demanding an apology while Israel accuses Egypt of losing its grip on Sinai and the region.

The incident triggered a wave of rage and anti-Israeli rallies in Cairo where thousands of Egyptians gathered outside the Israeli embassy, waving Palestinian flags and chanting "death to Israel."

"Israel has been increasingly concerned with the security issue in Sinai since the fall of the Mubarak regime, claiming Sinai has become a refuge for terrorists."

In light of these developments, we see that this is indeed a new era for Egypt.


* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk

Published: August 23, 2011 04:00 AM


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