Is Israel's apology enough for Egypt?

Arabic editorials also discuss impact of globalisation on Emirati youth, the Syrian regime's mentality and Russia's role in the region.

Israel-Egypt: even an apology may not do it

"Israel did not apologise to Turkey, now would it apologise to Egypt?" asked Mazen Hammad in his column for the Qatari Al Watan newspaper yesterday.

"The question begs after thousands of Egyptians demonstrated in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo to protest the killing of six Egyptian soldiers by Israeli cross-border fire."

The past weekend marked the first friction between Israel and post-revolution Egypt, and it may not be the last, the writer said.

"When the Egyptian prime minister demanded a formal apology from Israel, he did the right thing.

But it's still not enough. The new Egypt being shaped in Tahrir Square is no longer the Egypt of Mubarak, the one that used to stoop its head to Israel."

On another level, killing the Egyptian soldiers presents an opportunity for Israelis to test Cairo and see whether the Supreme Military Council's first instinct would be to escalate or cower.

But even if Israel apologised, it won't be enough. Voices on the street have larger demands now. The prominent Egyptian party leader, Ayman Nour, said after Egypt recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv on the weekend: "What is more important is to revisit the Camp David Treaty, which puts fetters on Egypt's sovereignty over Sinai".

"After Mubarak, Egypt-Israel relations are in for just more ice," the writer concluded.

UAE identity faces globalisation challenges

The findings of a recent study conducted by the UAE University into the impact of globalisation on Emirati youth and national identity are noteworthy as they point to a number of challenges that UAE culture is facing, according to an article published yesterday by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in the Emirati daily Al Ittihad.

The study found that Emirati youth have a strong sense of patriotism and national identity and that their embrace of some positive aspects of globalisation actually benefits them and nurtures their openness to others.

Yet, the truth remains that Emirati society faces a great deal of influence from other cultures living in its midst, and the younger generations are inevitably affected by them. One can see it at the educational level, for instance. Emirati students are "migrating" from government schools to private international schools.

Indeed, Emirati society finds itself forced to give some concessions at the level of native language, local customs, social values and so on. "But such concessions … may lead to the proportional erosion of the features of Emirati identity," the article said.

Considering this, the efforts made by a number of government institutions across the nation to preserve the specificity of Emirati culture are in the right direction. These efforts must be sustained, because preserving one's identity is a constant process.

Syrian regime fights with 1980s mentality

After much patience and hesitation, the West has finally issued its judgement regarding the Syrian regime that has so far demonstrated an extraordinary ability to make enemies and fabricate lies, said the columnist Satea Noureddine in the Lebanese Assafir daily.

The regime's decision to opt for the violent security clampdown united the international community against it. The number of casualties has been increasing to unacceptable levels; football fields were transformed into concentration camps and protesters labelled as terrorists.

"Promises of reform were nothing but a ploy. The regime didn't give the impression of a desire or a willingness to perform the surgical change that the circumstances require." President Assad's recent meeting with the command of the Baath party gave the US and Western nations enough evidence to change their positions radically, as the party in power insisted that the events were the result of an external conspiracy.

"The sudden forced awakening of the extinct party could be even worse than the accusations of conspiracy," said the writer. "The party members came out of the meeting insisting on safeguarding the achievements of the last century in leading the state and the community… to the abyss."

"But the regime that's been fighting with the instruments and strategies of the 1980s still believes that it hasn't lost the war."

Russia is the region's master saboteur

Dimitry Rogozin, Russia's envoy to NATO, criticised the international alliance's position vis-à-vis the Syrian events, and asked NATO to stop seeing the Syrian scene in black and white.

In a comment, Asharq Al Awsat columnist Abdelrahman Al Rashed wrote: "In fact, it is Russia itself that has a distorted the image of our region. It peers at it through the eyes of a scavenger that lives off carcasses."

Russia is still trying to take advantage of the eroded Damascus regime, even at its weakest moment. It continues to transfer funds and sell weapons to Syria, but, in the end, it will participate, along with other nations, to celebrate the fall of the regime.

"Had the Russian positions in Libya and Syria been positive from the start of the revolutions, many hardships and woes could've probably been averted and it may have been possible to save both regimes by putting them on the road to reforms."

By supporting the Qaddafi regime in Libya, Moscow gained nothing but extending the strife.Similarly in the case of Syria, Moscow could have pressured the Assad regime five months ago to offer real concessions at the request of his people. But, Russia is a master of sabotage that has become infamous for supporting bad regimes and projects almost every time.

* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk

Published: August 22, 2011 04:00 AM


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