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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 Hamara Samaj (Daily Our Society), Delhi
Editorial, 4 July 2011, Monday
1. The Ongoing Wars in Libya and Syria

The scenario in Libya and Syria are deteriorating every day. In both the countries, bloodshed and violence are taking place in the popular rebellion. This is coupled with the destruction that is being caused by the attacks made by NATO troops. In Libya, the political domain of Muammar Gaddafi has begun to shrink and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant against Gaddafi which was rejected by the African Union (AU). In spite of heavy political pressures, Gaddafi has not given up, though many of his family members have been targeted and killed in this fighting while the public protests have become extremely violent. The AU immediately called a meeting and rejected the decision to issue arrest warrant against Gaddafi by the ICC. It took this decision in its session on Friday held in the Equatorial Guinean capital of Malabo. The resolution passed in the session said that the AU members will not co-operate in the implementation of arrest warrant issued against Col. Gaddafi. The AU demand that the UNSC take appropriate measures for reversal of steps taken by the ICC regarding Libya, is significant. Gaddafi must have felt relieved by this decision of the African Union. However, in the light of the continuous severe attack by the NATO troops, improvement in Gaddafi’s position is not expected. In his speech on the national Libyan television, Gaddafi has told the Libyan people not to lose hope. He has threatened NATO troops that the people of Libya would take this forced war on their country to Europe. Addressing the women, he appealed to them to sell their jewelleries and buy green clothes for themselves so that they can participate in the world’s largest Green Flag Campaign. He also told thousands of his supporters gathered at the Green Square that France is dropping weapons for the so called rebels in the Nafusa Mountains (also known as Western Mountains, al-Jabal al-Gharbi) region and they should loot these weapons. He told his supporters to march till the Western Mountains and capture them from the rebel forces, and then if the people wish they could forgive the rebels. Gaddafi in his address clearly wants to give a message that the foreign countries have imposed the war on the people and France, especially, has been providing aid and support to the rebels illegally. France has admitted that it has helped the rebel groups at Nafusa Mountains by providing arms through parachutes, which was criticised by Russia in strong words. There has been no justification for the brutal attacks made by the NATO troops. Gaddafi has given a message to the NATO to enter into an agreement with the people of Libya. There is no doubt about the fact that Gaddafi’s position has been severely weakened and delegitimized, and he is also feeling helpless due to the civilian upsurge against him. There has been enormous loss of life and property in Libya which is saddening; especially the destruction caused by NATO forces is unprecedented and should not be encouraged. A similar chaotic situation exists in Syria where people are being killed in large numbers; thousands of civilians have been killed in the action by armed forces. In spite of the stern military exercises, the popular upsurge could not be quelled. The protestors are demanding President Bashar al-Assad to step down. People have been gathering, especially after Friday prayers, and shouting slogans against President Assad’s regime. In the light of country wide rebellion, prominent leaders of the opposition have proposed to hold a conference on ‘National Freedom’ on 16 July with the aim to find a solution for the political problem in the country. On the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Riad Shaqfa has accused the opposition of having aggravated the rebellious conditions in Syria by proposing negotiations with the ruling group. This is because the ruling regime has itself antagonized the people by resorting to repressive actions each time a demand for making political changes comes up. The doors of negotiations would remain closed unless the government stops attacking and killing its own people. According to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Bashar government has lost its legitimacy and negotiations with the government is only possible after military troops are withdrawn from the towns and cities of Syria, political prisoners are released, attacks on people stopped, and legal action taken against those army men involved in such attacks on people. The demand by Muslim Brotherhood is justified as a regime cannot exist by the sheer use of power nor can such a regime have durability. If Assad is really concerned about the Syrian people then he should step down from his position and reframe the political system, thus striving to make it more democratic. How can the use of force against civilian non-combatants with the aim of thwarting public sentiments by the government ever be feasible? Some of the leaders of opposition are trying to gain international support travelling abroad and they have been successful to a great extent. The conditions for Bashar are becoming more and more difficult. The neighbouring countries have also spoken against the regime of Bashar. The new Moscow policy has also shown tendencies against Bashar. These are signs that he is counting his days in power and that the people’s revolution has entered a decisive stage. In the case of both Libya and Syria, the rebels should clearly understand whether they are the victims of the conspiracies of the European countries and if they are serving the interests of Western nations through their protests. On the other hand, Bashar and Gaddafi should understand that use of force cannot be a solution and there cannot be any scope for war crimes. Rather than resorting to repressive measures, they should seriously try to understand the aspirations and objectives of their people. If they are in the interest of the country and its people then seriously contemplate it through dialogue rather than resorting to use of force!


Roznama Munsif (The Judge Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 4 July 2011, Monday
2. Gaddafi’s Warning to the European Countries

Through a recorded message to his supporters in the Green Square Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has warned that Libya would inflict retaliatory attacks on the NATO countries if air strikes by NATO forces on Libya do not stop. He instructed his followers to march towards the Western Mountains where France has provided aid to anti-Gaddafi rebels by dropping weapons for their use, and told them to take hold of those weapons. He threatened the NATO countries that they would have to face enormous losses if the air raids on Libya do not stop. France has recently admitted of having provided aid to the rebels in the Nafusa Mountain region south of Tripoli. Russia has strongly criticised France’s action. Meanwhile the African Union leaders have rejected the arrest warrant issued against Gaddafi by the International Criminal Court.

The air strikes against Libya are a part of long term Western policy to destabilize and divide the Arab world. The fact is that the short-sighted policies of Arab rulers have also played a major role in furthering the dubious agendas of the West. An overview of the region would make it clear that in the Arab world either the ruling groups are hereditary like Saudi Arabia or else dictatorship exists. These dictators have only tried to create a hereditary rule. Whether it is Libya’s Gaddafi, Syria’ Bashar al-Assad or Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak; all of them have kept the command of government within the family. Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh and Jordan’s ruler Abdullah II would also come within the same bracket. If some kind of Parliament exists in these countries, the members are just coteries of the rulers. Ideally, being Muslim, these countries should have an Islamic form of government. However, the rulers do not seem to have the time to consider it. Democracy, as practiced in the majority of the world, could have been established in these countries leaving the traditional form of governance. But the Arab countries where military overthrew the monarchical regimes, the military leaders who led the revolution became rulers themselves, transformed into dictatorship and thereafter have tried to make the system hereditary. Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi is one such leader.

The history of the West is full of looting and capturing at international level. Most of the Arab countries have rich oil reserves. All the Western nations, including the US, agree that the Arab leaders should be their puppets. They keep on conspiring to further the national interest of Western countries. If only the Arab rulers were farsighted enough to have a social justice system for sharing the national wealth with their people and would not have indulged in suppressive policies then perhaps they would not have been facing these anti-regime protests. But nothing of the sort happened. In fact, in such a precarious situation, the dictators like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are ordering troops to open fire on civilians and trying to cudgel the people through hollow promises. Even if Gaddafi’s threat to attack European countries is considered justifiable, the actual carrying out of the attacks may not be possible. Gaddafi has even proposed negotiations, but it is too late. The NATO countries have decided to compensate the expenses of NATO activities in Libya from the frozen assets of Libya in West.

Whether it is Libya’s Gaddafi or Syria’s Bashar al-Assad or any other Arab ruler; they must internalize the reality that people’s participation in governance is inevitable according to the international standards. It is due to repression of the people and indiscriminate killing that the West has got an opportunity to attack Libya on the grounds of humanitarian intervention.
Therefore, the people of Libya are caught in a two-sided war. NATO troops have no empathy for the Libyan people. Their sole intention is to overthrow Gaddafi from power and put a puppet ruler in Libya who would work for the benefit of the western countries. There is a need to bring change in the political system and ensure people’s participation, which is the need of the hour.

The Siasat Daily (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 10 July 2011, Sunday
3. The New State of South Sudan

People sacrifice even their lives for gaining freedom and democracy. Probably this is the reason that, in order to gain independence from Khartoum centric Sudan, South Sudan had to fight a guerrilla war for the last five decades. More than two million people sacrificed their lives. It is only after this struggle that South Sudan has emerged as a new state on the world map. Juba has been declared the capital of the new state where people are filled with joy and are singing the new anthem, while Salva Kiir Mayardit hoisted the national flag taking the leadership of the nascent state. The 54th African country and 193rd country in the world, South Sudan may have to face immense hardships in bringing development and progress in the country. In order to attain independence this oil-rich country had to face a historic referendum. In this referendum, which was held in January 2011, almost 8 million people participated. Today these citizens must be sensing a special happiness for they are now breathing in their new state, and they must also be feeling relieved from the pain and suffering they have undergone in the last 21 years. Ambassadors and representatives from various states went to participate in the celebrations of the creation of the state of South Sudan. Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari has gone to participate in the celebrations as the Indian representative. Besides, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is also participating in the event together with representatives from many western countries and a dozen African countries restating their support to the new country. There is no doubt that the foundation for the struggle for separation of South Sudan was laid in 2005, when after hundreds of thousands of people lost their life and homes, the rebel leadership decided to come back home and pursue a political solution bringing an end to the 21 year old civil-war. South Sudan had an experience of six years for running its own administration. It has framed its own police policy and has already taken border security in its own hands. The financial situation of the state is still delicate as it has to survive on the investments from private investors of friendly countries and aids from international organizations. South Sudan will have to take special care for the fields of health and education. In order to build a strong base for the country, South Sudan will have to give precedence to having friendly relations with its neighbouring states. There is no doubt about the fact that North Sudan under the leadership of Khartoum has continued to support and extended all co-operation with its new counterpart on every possible aspect because of which South Sudan has now been able to attain statehood. Aspirations of development and prosperity could be seen on the serene faces and anxious eyes of the South Sudanese people who are now celebrating their independence. But they also need to realize that their new state will have to begin development from the scratch. It has been termed as zero development. It is from this layer that Southern Sudan, in its new life, would have to work for the betterment and progress of its poor population because the income of the population of this state is less than one dollar per person. It is with great difficulty that people make both ends meet to sustain themselves. It is for this reason that young students are not able to complete their school education and the infant mortality rate is also very high, even though the country has rich oil reserves with the capacity to produce 375,000 barrels oil per day. Both North and South Sudan have to share the oil wealth through peaceful negotiations. Under the circumstances, international actors would be eager to play a role in the region. But Khartoum should sign agreements on trade and friendly relations with its new neighbour, and South Sudan should also work together with North Sudan in facing mutual challenges and issues. After a struggle of five decades and a 20 year long Civil war, it is necessary that South Sudan’s new leadership work for the betterment of the people transforming the success achieved from this struggle. The international powers who sided with South in its struggle shall now, in the aftermath of the secession, play a rather neutral role in the bilateral affairs of Muslim majority North and Christian majority South. It should be ensured that the new found freedom reaches all sections of society and not remain confined to the few. India has taken steps towards improving ties with South Sudan. It is expected of the international community to play a significant role in actualising the development and security of the new country in the coming years.

Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (National Sahara Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 13 July 2011, Tuesday
4. Libya: Change in French Stand

The change in the French stand towards Libya is both sudden and surprising. The French stand adopted towards Libya and Gaddafi is different from the stand of NATO countries and the US and is a proof that differences among the NATO countries regarding military action against Libya have started to crop up.

France has clearly changed its stand with respect to helping the Libyan rebels by stating that the conflict between Gaddafi loyalists and rebels cannot have a military solution and that they should immediately start direct negotiations. Although France has also reiterated its stand that it wants removal of Gaddafi from power in Libya. The US also has the same instance towards dismissal of Gaddafi regime. This is the reason why the US State Department stated, after the French Defence Minister advocated compromise with the Libyan rebels, that, “the Libyan people will be the ones to decide how this transition takes place, but we stand firm in our belief that Gaddafi cannot remain in power.”

However, the US State Department spokesperson has mentioned about use of political, military and economic pressure on Libya in this respect. This implies that though there is an agreement between the US and France on the removal of Gaddafi from power, they have differences with respect to military pressure on Libya and France is not very optimistic about a military solution of the problem.

Actually, the change in the French stand is a result of the unexpected outcome in Libya. In March, when NATO began air strikes on Libya, attempts were made to convince the international media that it was a matter of days and Gaddafi would be overthrown and rebels would be handed over the power. However, as the war progressed, in spite of support from NATO countries, the rebel forces continued to weaken and Gaddafi’s loyal armies recaptured many of the areas that were taken by the rebel groups in the initial fighting. The NATO bombings have inflicted enormous damage to Libya, especially to the areas occupied by Gaddafi’s loyalists. Gaddafi had to suffer the loss of many of his family members and many innocent children, old people and women have been killed in the NATO attacks. In spite of all this the US and its allies have been unsuccessful in overthrowing Gaddafi from power, whereas the international opinion is turning against foreign intervention in Libya and their failure is under scrutiny. Objections are being raised on targeting of civilians. Under these circumstances, what France has said about negotiations is not a proof of its good intentions and kindness rather is the demand of circumstances. France has quietly realized that it is not as easy to defeat Gaddafi in a direct war and handover the reigns to rebels as it had been anticipated in the beginning. On the face of this crisis, it is better to take the road of negotiations and persuade Gaddafi to step down but the problem is that Gaddafi is not ready to relinquish power in any condition. On the other hand, the rebels stand towards negotiations is that it is not possible unless Gaddafi steps down.

It is obviously difficult to act on the French stand as of now. The problem with France is that it will have to take parliamentary consent to continue with the war and it would be difficult for the French government to convince the Parliament for extending a war that has continued for the last three months without any result. In such a scenario, if French Parliament rejects extension for continued attacks, the rebel position will further weaken in Libya; the reason why France has started advocating for negotiations to resolve the Libyan crisis.


Translated and Compiled by Amna Sunmbul

Amna Sunmbul is a Research Student at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 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