A Syrian delay in transferring chemical weapons to the West leads Arab headlines on Friday, as diplomatic talks in Geneva on Syria’s future end with no results.
“International doubt concerning the regime’s commitment to destroy its chemical stockpiles,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, featuring aerial photos of a residential area in Damascus destroyed by the regime as part of its fierce crackdown against opposition rebels.
“American-French angst over delay in handing over Syria’s chemical weapons,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, featuring a photo of Fatima Khan, the mother of British doctor Abbas Khan killed in Syria, shouting at a pro-regime journalist outside the Geneva 2 conference building.
The article quotes US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as expressing American concern over the Syrian regime’s repeated delays in submitting its chemical weapons to an American ship docked at the port of Latakia.
Various Arab outlets highlight the plight of Fatima Khan, depicting her giving a (censored) interview to official Syrian television and running after Syrian officials on the streets of Geneva, demanding to know why they killed her son, the aid worker.
Meanwhile, London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports on its front page on the arrival of a delegation of Christian Syrians to Washington to defend the Assad regime and warn of Islamist terrorism against Syria’s minorities.
According to the daily, the Christian delegation spoke of “85 countries fighting Syria and sending terrorism to it,” calling it “a literal adoption of the official Syrian narrative.” The daily adds that the delegation members, which included a number of different denominations, refused to answer questions regarding “Assad’s role in what is taking place in Syria.”
“The Geneva negotiations end today with no progress,” reads the headline of an article on Al-Jazeera‘s website, a Qatari channel that staunchly supports military intervention in Syria.
“We have not noticed a significant change in the positions of either side,” said UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in a TV segment dedicated to the story. The Al-Jazeera journalist quotes “observers” as saying that the entire conference is a “media show” intended to convey the false impression that the Assad regime is interested in a political solution.
Meanwhile, Al-Quds Al-Arabi compares the civil unrest in the Ukraine — and the oppressive methods employed by the pro-Russian government — to the Arab Spring and the brutal methods used by Bashar Assad.
“The tactics and methods of the Ukrainian authorities are similar to those used by many Arab regimes to bury the revolutions taking place in them: from offering jobs to the opposition, to shooting and killing protesters. In addition, the intentional godfather stirring the revolutions is one in both cases: Russia,” reads the editorial.
“The similar Ukrainian and Arab revolutions… will break the cultural organizations and the political games that strive to confine the revolutions to religious and sectarian wars, when in fact they are nothing but the wish to open up to an atmosphere of freedom and human partnership,” reads the editorial.