Syria’s privately owned daily Al-Watan today covers the veto of the “oust Assad” resolution at the UN Security Council with quite the congratulatory tone.
Despite an acknowledgement of the fact that “the other 13 member-countries voted in the affirmative for the Arab League’s initiative to intervene militarily in Syria,” the front page article focuses on the vetoes from Russia and China. “Russia called for an inner-Syrian dialogue,” explains the paper, and goes on to cover the Russian ambassador’s rationale in depth: “Vitaly Churkin stressed the importance of diplomatic efforts, and informed that Moscow is working tirelessly to try and bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”
The front page also carries an op-ed that is charged with a deep-seated sense of persecution. Headlined “Escalation in Western-Arab pressure on Syria expected,” it depicts at length “the continuous efforts to create a veil of fabrication and deceit by the West and several Arab countries in all matters concerning the events on Syrian land.”
The piece goes on to try and predict the West’s next move: “After the failure to convince the Security Council, one can expect the Western and Arab countries to resort to unilateral sanctions which will only wind up hurting the Syrian people.”
On top of the critique of the West, the op-ed conveys a sense of near-betrayal by the rest of the Arab world — lambasting such countries as Morocco and Tunisia for “joining-in on the sanctions, closing Syrian embassies, and even launching attacks on some of them.”
The themes of this op-ed help make increasingly clear that, on top of a certain national reticence to self-incriminate, a great deal of the Syrian publications’ continued support of the regime is brought on by the perception that certain Western actions stem from unfair attempts to paint Syria with a wide brush without a real understanding of the region and then to castigate and penalize it collectively according to an over-broad standard.
The reverberating massacre at Port Said
The front page of Al-Ahram, Egypt’s leading publication, is still filled with reverberations from the Port Said massacre. The Egyptian Defense Committee – a military sub-division that was founded after the revolution – held its first meeting since the Wednesday massacre and, according to its spokesman, “discussed the protesters’ allegations in length” and “completed an internal investigation of the events.”
However, the results of that internal investigation have not made public – a fact that has left both the protesters and Al-Ahram utterly dissatisfied: “The protesters assembled in front of the Department of Defense to demand the attendance of – at the very least – one member of the Upper Chamber (Egyptian senate) in the committee’s deliberations.” The report from the scene suggests that the protesters’ rhetoric remains caustic, with cries for the resignation of “the minister of defense and the rest of the military government.”
Falesteen covers Haniyeh’s Bahrain visit
The Hamas-associated online publication Falesteen prominently features three different stories about Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s recent visit to the Arab principalities. In Bahrain, it reports, Haniyeh met with the Bahrainian king and informed him of “the electricity crisis in the 5-year-beseiged Gaza” and of the “disconcerting trend of Jewish settlements in Jerusalem.” The king, for his part, was sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and stressed his people’s “firm commitment to support Palestine and help bring the end of the siege on it.”
Al-Jazeera adds some context as to the importance of this recent diplomatic trip. The tour, which included a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, was “only Haniyeh’s second official trip since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.” It may reflect the start of a certain measure of acceptance for Hamas in those parts of the region, now that reconciliation with the Fatah movement is seen as likely.
Asharq Alawsat analyzes the chances of an Israeli attack in Iran
The Saudi publication Asharq Alawsat publishes an editorial in which it attempts to analyze the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran this summer: “Since Israel might not want to leave its fate at the hands of America, it is quite possible that once Iran manages to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel will initiate a strike against its nuclear facilities,” it notes
The paper then goes on to describe some of the issues that might dissuade Israel from striking: “The underground Iranian facilities might make an air strike against the facilities difficult,” it states, adding, “Despite the smoothness of Israel’s 2007 air strike in Syria, it is quite possible that in this case the reaction will lead to a widespread war.”
At the conclusion of the piece, though, it is the American angle that is perceived to be the key: “Ultimately, much is dependent upon President Obama success in stopping Iran’s nuclear aspirations through negotiations.”
Moroccan food helps immigrant acclimation in France
Asharq Alawsat’s Sunday Lifestyle and Culture section features a piece about Moroccan restaurants in France, and the great role that they play in the incorporation of the large North African population in the region.
The article starts out as a typical food review: “The French gravitated to such Moroccan foods like couscous and tajin due to the foods’ cheap price and hearty nutritional value,” it tells us.
However, the piece quickly segues to an interesting cultural analysis: “The restaurants not only help the Arab immigrants financially, but also familiarize native Frenchmen with the Moroccan heritage and culture.” The article goes on to point how this recent boom in Moroccan cuisine is quite possibly one of the most immigrant-embracing social phenomena in recent years in France.