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Note: Using editorials as an indicator, this series presents views, understanding and attitude of the Urdu periodicals in India towards various developments concerning the Middle East. The selection of an item does not mean the endorsement or concurrence concur with their accuracy or views. Editor, MEI@ND

Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (National Sahara Daily), New Delhi
Editorial, 20 March 2011, Sunday
1. Green Signal for No Fly Zone
Finally the United Nations Security Council has passed the resolution for implementation of ‘No Fly Zone’ over Libya. Ten out of fifteen UNSC members voted in favour of the resolution while Germany, China, Russia and India abstained. Two of the permanent members, China and Russia have veto power and they could have prevented the passing of the resolution. That was not to be and the resolution for a “No Fly Zone” against Libya was passed. This means that the Libyan government would not be able to use its air force against the rebels.

Since the protests against Col. Gaddafi started, reports of killing of civilians also started coming. It was also reported that the Gaddafi regime can use force to suppress the rebellion. These leaders termed the rebellion as instigated by Al-Qaeda and the Western design to control Libyan resources. Neither Gaddafi nor his son, Saif al-Islam, gave any indication for their readiness to get into talks with the rebels. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had advised Gaddafi to relinquish power and oversee the transition of presidency through elections. But Gaddafi and his regime gave no indication that they are ready for peaceful transition of power. Rather Gaddafi was reported as saying that he will fight till the last drop of his blood. The world was divided into two groups over the prevailing situation in Libya. Some of the countries were not in favour of a “No Fly Zone” and it took almost a week for the “No Fly Zone” to be finally passed from UNSC. It could have been further delayed or vetoed, but the Libyan leaders did not commit safety of civilians. This is a very unfortunate moment for the people of Libya.

Any slight opposition to the “No Fly Zone” will provide the excuse for external powers to intervene in Libya for which they are already prepared. Earlier, Iraq remained under a “No Fly Zone” from 1991 to 2003 and Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1993 and 1995. According to this, certain areas are barred for use of air for flying. There are certain high security areas in every country over which flying is prohibited; like in India the Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Estate) etc. The difference is that these are for security purpose and self implemented. The “No Fly Zone” over Libya will pave way for external attack on Libya.

The international community has to be patient and be very careful about the security of civilians. The civilians should not become a casualty of the international action aimed at protecting them from the Gaddafi regime.

Dawat Online (Invitation), New Delhi
Editorial, 22 March 2011, Tuesday
2. The Condition in Libya
The public unrest that started on 15 February in oil rich Afro-Arab country of Libya is at a very delicate stage now. The Libyan regime termed this mass unrest as rebellion and reacted expectedly, the ruler tried to brutally suppress it by force. But the ‘rebellion’ further spread with the use of force. The dream of the Libyan ruler of extending his 42 years rule and turning it to a family monarchy seems to be shattered. The ruler is trying to protect his dream using everything at his disposal, loosing little international and domestic support he had in his kitty. Reports have come that the military also has been struck by rebellion and officers have changed their loyalties. The West, however, is not in a position to begin a full-fledged military intervention in Libya due to its involvement in Afghanistan. They want to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible while the withdrawal from Iraq is not complete yet. The economic recession has added fuel to the fire. Arab neighbours are hardly able to do anything in this regard because they themselves have their houses on fire. However, they are against the use of force by the Libyan leader. Even though they are not very enthusiastic about change, they don’t want the use of force at such a delicate juncture of rage among masses. This can further enrage the people. They don’t want use of force by any Arab leader and increase their problems. Further they are facing pressure from the West for not using force which is very clear from the case of Tunisia and Egypt. The use of force by the Libyan leader has infuriated the entire world. The expatriates in the country are also facing danger and countries are trying to evacuate their citizens. Voices have been raised to stop him from using force terming it as human rights violation. The international community should act and force the Libyan leader to respect human rights. The Libyan regime had threatened to burn all the oil wells accusing that all this is a conspiracy to capture the Libyan oil resources. He used all his force and even used his air force against the ‘rebels’, after which the proposal for ‘No Fly Zone’ came in, which was under consideration when Arab League also supported the proposal. It also requested the UNSC to take necessary steps for its implementation. The UNSC then passed the resolution for a ‘No Fly Zone’ over Libya sanctioning use of force in case of violation. Now the US and its allies have a golden chance to intervene in Libya which they would not want to lose. The Libyan regime has paved the way for external intervention like in case of Iraq.

Roznama Munsif (The Judge Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 29 March 2011, Tuesday
3. Governance in Arab Countries
The Arab countries are facing a very troubling situation. The rulers are themselves to be blamed for the situation. The revolution that started in Tunisia now seems will take all Arab countries by storm. After Tunisia’s President fled, the people of Egypt compelled their president to relinquish power through their peaceful protests. The Yemeni President Abdullah Saleh is also trying to save his rule while not shying away from using force. In Bahrain the Shia protests against the ruling family have been suppressed with Saudi help but it can re-emerge anytime. The Libyan use of force against the people has given a window for the West to enter Libya in support of rebels. A UNSC resolution was passed sanctioning use of force in Libya. A ‘No fly Zone’ over Libya has been implemented over Libya. It has been reported that military intervention in Libya would be carried out by NATO. The Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has also lost his senses and is using force against protestors which has further intensified the protests. The people of Syria are demanding freedom. It would be no surprise if mass protest erupts in Algeria as well. The situation in Saudi Arabia looks peaceful but the recent announcement of welfare scheme reflects the desperation among the Al Saud.

The region was divided into several countries after the Second World War, which was a conspiracy to divide the Arab people and also a strategy to stabilize Israel. These small Arab countries remained under the influence of major powers and the governments continued to remain around individuals and families. The region saw monarchy, one-party rule or military dictatorship in the name of governance. Egypt and Syria are examples of one-party one-family rule. Major Powers tried to bring these countries in their influence immediately after the formation of the United Nations at the end of Second World War. The Security Council, Veto power, International Court and all such institutions serve the purpose of powerful countries. The oil rich Arab countries became a battle ground for these rich countries who tried everything to extend their influence in the region. The Arab rulers did not work for the welfare of people rather amassed wealth and worked for individual and familial interest. Rather than promoting democracy and people’s participation they worked against it and curbed freedom.

Major Powers, particularly the West, would certainly try to benefit from the unrest in the region. In case of Libya, they will certainly exploit much more benefit for their help to the rebels now and only the Libyan regime has to be blamed for this situation. The continuing use of force in Syria despite witnessing the situation in Libya says a lot about the governance style of Arab leaders. The end to individual and family rule and promotion of democracy is the most important need of the region; otherwise, the rulers will have to face the ire of people.

Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (National Sahara Daily), New Delhi
Editorial, 29 March 2011, Tuesday
4. India Visit of Imam of Kaaba Mosque
The recent visit of one of the most respected personalities of Islamic world, Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, the Imam of Kaaba Mosque was very fruitful and positive. The Imam in his message to the people of India called for strengthening of India-Saudi Arabia relations. He called on the Indian Muslims to remain united in faith and lead an Islamic life. This was a fruitful visit not just for Muslim institutions but for the country as well.

He had visited India earlier also but this visit was important for he emphasised on doing away with differences among Muslims and appealed for strengthening the Muslims with their faith in one book and one faith. He also tried not to confine his visit to just one group and addressed the faithful under the banner of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (Association of Imams of India). Even on his visit to the head quarters of Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith (Association of the People of Prophetic Tradition, a Wahhabi Association) and Jamat Islami Hind (Islamic Group of India), his message was unity and promotion of unity among Muslims. The Imam also visited Darul Uloom at Deoband and addressed the faithful concluding the enthusiasm among Indian Muslims for leadership is exemplary.

All school of thoughts and their leadership should think about the message of Abdul Rahman al-Sudais. They should work on this one point agenda. Why Muslims cannot come on one platform when different ideologies can come together and different countries can come together for a cause at international level.

This message should be seen in the backdrop of the condition prevailing in the entire Muslim world from the Gulf to the deserts of Africa. The Imam praised Indian democracy, Indian culture and India’s positive role at international platforms. This is an indication of warm relations between India and Saudi Arabia. India will also have to play an important role in its relations with Saudi Arabia seeing its growing stature at international level. This visit would hopefully prove to be another step forward in the longstanding Indo-Saudi friendship.

Translated and Compiled by Md. Muddassir Quamar

Md. Muddassir Quamar is a research student at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Email

As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND: P R Kumaraswamy