Next stage in Yemen is to air audio tapes

Editorials and columns in Arabic-language newspapers comment on the increasing isolation of the Yemeni president, GCC stability, the upcoming declaration of a Palestinian state, and tension between Morocco and Algeria.

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The Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has missed many opportunities to make a soft exit, observed the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat, Tareq al Homayed.

Saleh could quit decently in ways different from those of other Arab presidents, who faced and are still facing massive popular protests against their regimes. Saleh, could, for example, announce early general elections and hand over power without even resorting to external mediation. However, he was obstinate and decided to manoeuvre as usual. Not only did he reject domestic calls, but also he turned down the GCC mediation plan, which was backed by the US and the EU. Thus, he has increasingly become isolated.

The latest incidents showed that many tribes, including his own, have turned against him, while his former allies can no longer stand by him. Even his army cannot provide him cover amid large-scale turmoil.

It is strange to imagine how he failed to realise the changes taking place in the region, and decided not to change his attitude. In the course of events, he continues to miss more opportunities.

He should understand that he is exhausting his manoeuvring room and soon will not be able to show up in public any more.

So what's next? Probably he will address people through an audio tape and say he is still inside their hearts.

The security of the Gulf is with its rulers

"During the 1950s Arab revolutions against monarchies, rebel leaders looked at us as a group of nomads governed by clans. Some even said that in public," commented the Kuwaiti writer Mohammed Saleh al Sabti in a commentary for the UAE newspaper Al Ittihad.

"Those leaders claimed that they were beginning a new era of progress, prosperity and freedom by overthrowing hereditary rule. But these republics turned out to be a striking examples of oppression and injustice."

These regimes exploited the wealth of their countries for their own interests. Meanwhile, the hereditary systems they undermined have proved to be safer and freer. This is because they assured justice for their own people more than revolutionaries did.

To justify their failure to fulfil their promises, republican regimes claim that the welfare enjoyed by the Gulf countries is due solely to oil.

"This is a very wrong idea, which is suggested by leaders of revolutions to cover their shortcomings. The truth that they avoid admitting is that the Gulf leaders have done well in managing their countries. While leaders of revolutions have squandered their riches, their counterparts in the Gulf have turned deserts into gardens."

Anyway, some Gulf states do not have much wealth yet they have diversified their sources of income through good governance.

Announcement of a state is a good step

The Arab Peace Initiative Committee's decision to back the Palestinians' intention to seek unilateral recognition through the UN of their independent state is a good step, noted the Emirati newspaper Akhbar al Arab in its leader article. This needs to be endorsed by both the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the African Union.

The committee said that it decided to address the UN at its next general assembly, in September, to apply for full membership for the state of Palestine, based on its 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Such an announcement will raise many important questions about the reasons why the Israelis have always rejected this proposal.

Thus Israel will be cornered. Probably it will be criticised and pushed to respond positively to withdraw from the 1967 occupied territories. Washington will likely intervene against any sanctions on Israel, but this may not last forever if Palestinians and their allies manage to convey their message appropriately.

If the Israelis continue to oppress others, Palestinians should continue to engage in a civilised political dialogue, using the media and diplomacy.

For peace to happen, a minimum level of stability will be needed.

Morocco accused of anti-Algeria lobbying

The Moroccan lobby in Washington was behind the accusation that Algeria is sending mercenaries and weapons to Libya to support Col Muammar Qaddafi in his war against the opposition, a senior Algerian diplomat was quoted as saying by the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi.

"The official lobby of our neighbour Morocco maintained in Washington that we sent mercenaries and arms to neighbouring Libya," the diplomat said.

The Libyan National Transitional Council had earlier accused Algeria of providing the Libyan regime with mercenaries and weapons. It announced that 15 Algerians had been detained in Ajdebia, and that three others were killed in fierce battles in that eastern city.

The Algerian diplomat stressed that his country respects the UN Security Council resolutions concerning the Libyan crisis, including the implementation of an embargo.

He also stressed the importance of building mutual trust in order to foster good neighbourly relations. He added that although the borders are closed, the volume of trade between Morocco and Algeria is larger than that with any other African country, including neighbouring Tunisia.

* Digest compiled by Mustapha El Mouloudi