A summit of Arab foreign ministers on Syria leads the news in Arabic-language dailies Monday, with unequivocal statements by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal making the headlines.
“Faisal: The call for help of the Syrian people is not foreign intervention,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, focusing on comments by the Saudi foreign minister and the head of the Syrian opposition coalition Ahmad Al-Jarba.
The Arab foreign ministers’ meeting — held in Cairo on Sunday as part of the Arab League deliberations on Syria — didn’t give backing to an American attack on Syria, Arab League spokesman Nassif Hitti stresses.
“Faisal: We must not wait until Assad exterminates more of his people,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, featuring a photo of Saud Al-Faisal standing next to Bahraini foreign minister Sheikh Khaled Al Khalifah on the sidelines of the Cairo meeting.
“Following a week of continuous media hype to the sound of the drums of war, the [Syrian] regime breathed a sigh of relief. The regime considered the suspension of military action to an unknown date a victory. Assad told an Iranian parliamentary delegation in Damascus yesterday that Syria is capable of ‘confronting any foreign aggression.’”
“A Saudi-Egyptian alliance supports military intervention against the Assad regime,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, followed by a warning by Iranian parliamentarian Ala-Eddin Borujerdi that Iran will respond “decisively” to any American “stupidity” in the region.
US President Barack Obama does not resemble his predecessor George W. Bush, claims the editorial of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, “but the catastrophic results are the same.”
“Barack Obama’s astounding decision to defer the agreement on a military strike against the Syrian regime to Congress reflects the terrible crisis plaguing his political behavior,” claims the editorial.
“The decision is in line with the pattern of his political personality to which people in the US and the world have grown accustomed to. This personality is hesitant and backs down under pressure (as happened in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) and does not want to bear responsibility for great decisions, neither in America nor around the world.”
“With the exception of the assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the use of drones in Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere, Obama did not engage in military confrontation with anyone, neither in America or outside it.”
Obama sounds like Assad, claims Al-Hayat columnist George Samaan, by essentially saying he will choose “the right time and the right place” to retaliate against the regime.
‘The day will come when the Americans realize that entering Syria is an inescapable security imperative. But until that happens, the Syrian opposition must forget the international role and the American role. It must uproot the Syrian regime with its own hands’
“President Obama could have turned to war without a mandate. He has an extension period of 60 days to return to Congress and explain the reasons for this war… did his courage betray him, or did domestic and foreign positions betray him? Even when he decided to regain a bit of his credibility by changing ‘the rules of the game’ if the Syrian regime crossed the ‘red line,’ he conditioned this change on Congress. He turned his back on the UN and the difficulties of the Security Council, but conditioned his decision on the complexities of internal party politics,” writes Samaan.
The Syrian opposition can rely on no one but itself to depose Bashar Assad, claims A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Abdul Rahman Rashed in an op-ed titled “Forget Obama.”
“Despite the reluctance of President Obama today, I still expect him to do it in the future and play a crucial role in toppling the Assad regime. The reason is not only that the regime in Damascus is wicked and continues to wage a war of extermination against its people, but also because the security of America and its interests will impose intervention.”
“Syria has become the largest farm for growing terrorists and drawing fighters from across the world. Their object is to target strong powers like the United States. The Assad regime has prepared the extremists to enter the war, believing that this will cause the Western nations to support him against them, as they supported Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and others in the past.”
“The day will come when the Americans realize that entering Syria is an inescapable security imperative. But until that happens, the Syrian opposition must forget the international role and the American role. It must uproot the Syrian regime with its own hands. This is its duty, its mission. If only the armed and political oppositions manage to get their house in order, they will be able to overthrow the Assad regime today more than ever before.”