As cross-border clashes between Israel and Syria continue, the newly founded Syrian opposition coalition is quickly garnering support from Arab institutions, leading Arab news on Tuesday.
“Gulf recognition opens the way for Syrian coalition in the Arab world and internationally,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, featuring a photo of smiling Arab leaders and Syrian oppositionists marching to the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.
The daily begins its coverage by reporting the recognition of the Syrian coalition by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a political and economic union of six Arab Gulf countries, followed by American and French recognition.
Al-Jazeera, a news station based in Qatar, quotes the reaction of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who claims that the make-up and positions of the new coalition are “based on American wishes.” He expressed his sadness at the fact that the coalition seems to prefer “destruction” to “dialogue and political solutions.”
Hazem Saghiyeh, a columnist at London-based daily Al-Hayat, reports on a deterioration in relations between the Syrian opposition and Kurdish groups within the country, which he warns could spread from the limited realm of organizational politics to a societal clash.
“If this happened, it would be no less dangerous to the present revolution and the future of Syria than a Sunni-Alawi deterioration, which is also extremely important.”
“It may not be an exaggeration to say that Arab-Kurdish relations, which dominate the country’s northern borders, are the most vital and dangerous civil relations from a strategic and geopolitical point of view,” writes Saghiyeh.
Meanwhile, Tareq Homayed, editor-in-chief of A-Sharq Al-Awsat, goes from blaming Assad for the flare-up on the Syrian-Israeli border to blaming Israel.
In a Tuesday op-ed titled “Israel is trying to save Assad,” Homayed accuses Israel of attempting “to drown the region in perpetual anarchy.”
Assad has tried to provoke Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon and Jordan in an attempt to draw them into the mess, but they have all shown remarkable restraint, claims Homayed.
‘Although we, the Arabs, created our own problems, Israel does not hesitate to pour oil on the fire,’ writes Homayed.
“But it is strange that with the first provocation by Assad, Tel Aviv moved and responded,” writes Homayed, contrasting Israel’s swift response to Syria as opposed to its restraint during the First Gulf War when dozens of Scud missiles were fired at it by Saddam Hussein.
Israel, Iran and Hezbollah are all essentially allied with Assad, each for their own reasons, writes Homayed.
“Tel Aviv has no objection to the Syrian crisis lasting for years; its fire reaching the region neighboring Syria,” writes Homayed. “Although we, the Arabs, created our own problems, Israel does not hesitate to pour oil on the fire.”
Palestinians adopt UN bid, no matter what
A meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Saudi King Abdullah in the Saudi capital Riyadh Monday occupies the first pages of Arab dailies Al-Hayat and A-Sharq Al-Awsat.
According to Al-Hayat, the two discussed “developments in the Palestinian question,” while A-Sharq Al-Awsat claims they discussed “hurdles in the peace process.” The content of both articles indicates that they are quoting from the same press release, however.
Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera reports that work is under way to open the grave of deceased Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and exhume his body. A documentary aired by the station accused Israel of poisoning Arafat, and his wife Suha has insisted the body be examined for remnants of radioactive substances. The body is to be exhumed on November 26, the channel reports.
Dubai-based news station Al-Arabiya dedicates a report on the divide within Palestinian society concerning the bid to achieve UN recognition as a nonmember state later this month.
According to the station, many Palestinians fear the worst-case scenario, in which Israel freezes PA assets and even personally harms President Mahmoud Abbas.
According to the report, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat recently published a research paper titled “The day after turning to the UN,” in which he predicts that the UN bid will put the PA in direct confrontation with Israel and the US, resulting in the collapse of the PA. Israel may annex parts of the West Bank and withdraw from others, Erekat writes.
Despite this, the PA insists on turning to the UN “and demanding the rights of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian state.”