A meeting between Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and French President Francois Hollande leads Arab news on Monday, surpassing reports of civil unrest in Libya and violence in Syria.
“The Guardian of the holy sights and Hollande discuss developments in the Palestinian issue and the situation in Syria,” reads the online headline of the London-based daily Al-Hayat, while the print headline reads: “Hollande following his meeting with the king: We agree on the region’s stability and security.”
‘If you want war, you must build a country capable of waging war even if the airplane’s lights are off. If you want peace, you must prepare for it as well, because unfortunately Israel outdoes us economically, educationally and technologically’
An image of Hollande standing next to the Saudi regent wearing the kingdom’s medal of honor, with the green Saudi flag in the background, appears on the daily’s front page, as well as that of the Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, which reports that the two discussed “Syria, peace and bilateral relations.”
Hollande told the daily that sanctions on Iran will continue until it “forgoes military nuclear energy (sic) which threatens the region and the world.”
Violence erupts in Libya
Armed militias clashed Sunday in the Libyan capital Tripoli as a car bomb went off in the country’s second-largest city Benghazi. The violence came just four days ahead of the swearing-in of Libya’s new government.
The violence, which led to the injury of at least eight people, is “a large challenge” to the recently elected government of Ali Zidan, A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports.
The reason for the clashes were unclear, Al-Hayat reported. Rumors spoke of revenge for a kidnapping or an attempt by local armed residents to drive out drug and alcohol traffickers.
Parliament speaker Muhammad Magariaf said that the new government, including 30 ministers, will be sworn in on Thursday despite public objection to some of the incoming politicians for their involvement with the Gaddafi regime.
However, the country’s most important ministries, including interior, defense, finance and foreign, were given to political independents.
London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi deals with Libya in its lead headline, describing the situation there as “chaos and security deterioration,” with militias clashing in Tripoli using missiles and fighters looting shops and burning a security building.
‘This does not mean that the dictatorial regime was better, but those who succeeded in waving the banner of security, stability and anti-corruption should perform better and respond better to the basic needs of the people’
According to the daily, the country is witnessing the worst security situation since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi last year.
“The resident of the capital Tripoli have been suffering from complete water cuts for over 10 days and an almost entire absence of basic services. Piles of trash have become a common sight, and they grow larger by the day … visitors in Tripoli report that residents have been forced to carry weapons for self-defense against security chaos… as security forces are almost entirely absent from the scene.”
“This does not mean that the dictatorial regime was better,” writes the editor, “but those who succeeded in waving the banner of security, stability and anti-corruption should perform better and respond better to the basic needs of the people.”
Kuwaiti opposition demonstration paralyzes capital
Qatari news station Al-Jazeera reports that the Kuwaiti capital was completely paralyzed on Sunday “for the first time in its history” as a result of a mass demonstration organized by the country’s opposition.
Protesters managed to confuse police by moving the demonstration’s location at the last minute, shutting off main thoroughfares in the capital, the station reported.
The opposition was protesting a new election law approved by the government which will only allow voters to select one candidate in every voting district.
A number of protesters were arrested as they were leaving the demonstration, while others suffered asphyxiation following the police’s use of tear gas to disperse protesters.
Countries who live in glass houses should not harbor arms factories
In a sarcastic op-ed, A-Sharq Al-Awsat editor-in-chief Tareq Homayed pokes fun at Sudan’s interior minister Abdul Rahim Muhammad Hussein, who claimed in a televised interview that the country’s air defense systems did not detect the Israeli planes which attacked the Yarmouk weapons factory because the planes turned off their lights in the dark.
“I do not argue for capitulating to Israel, but war has conditions as does peace, and both are difficult,” writes Homayed.
“If you want war, you must build a country capable of waging war even if the airplane’s lights are off. If you want peace, you must prepare for it as well, because unfortunately Israel outdoes us economically, educationally and technologically.”