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1-15 April 2012                9-23 Jamadiul Awwal 1433 Hijri

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 with their accuracy or views. Editor, MEI@ND

The Etemaad Urdu Daily (The Confidence Urdu Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 2 April 2012, Monday
1. Iraq, Back in the Arab League
The Arab League summit in Baghdad was a major challenge for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The agenda of the summit may have been different but it indicated  Iraq's desire to have its due place in the Arab League. The question is how many Arab countries want Iraq back? The summit which was suppossed to discuss the ‘Arab Spring’ could focus only on Syria due to the League’s involvement there.

As far as the challenges before Nouri al-Maliki are concerned, one needs to understand the basis of the Maliki government? How transparent is its functioning? Does it treats its people equally? What is the situation of sectarian strife? What steps have been taken to promote integration? Apart from these domestic challenges, the Nouri al-Maliki government faces the challenge of regional instability.

There are Iraqi leaders who pose a challenge to Maliki’s leadership inside Iraq. They have opened a front against his government accussing it of graft and conspiracy and some of those leaders have been arrested. The Kurd leaders want more autonomy that gives rise to racial problems.

Maliki has shown interest in reviving Iraq’s relations with the Arab world. Saudi Arabia and Iraq have signed a security agreement and an agreement on the exchange of prisoners. He has tried to resolve issues with Kuwait including the issue of compensation for the Gulf war. An agreement on the use of air space has also been signed. Such steps will help bring Iraq closer to the Arab countries.

The main agenda of the Arab summit has been to review the situation emerging out of the political turmoil affecting the Arab world. The Arab League has failed in playing a crucial role on issues of regional importance. It requires a complete restructuring if it wishes to play a crucial role in the issues pertaining to the Arab world and to resolving the issue of Palestine.

The Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi, in a statement, has asked the Arab leaders to listen to the voices of the people. He has advised the leaders to promote democracy. However, it will take time before it can show any result.


The Siasat Daily (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 3 April 2012, Tuesday
2. Friends of Syria Conference
International diplomacy and sanctions have failed to yield any result in Syria. The rampant use of force in the name of fighting the rebels has created a lot of problems. If the people have raised their voice against a long ruling family then it should be taken with seriousness, rather, things have taken a very disturbing turn necessitating international diplomatic intervention. The ‘Friends of Syria Conference’ that was held in Istanbul saw the participation of more than 70 countries. The US was the driving force behind the conference. It has its own interest and ulterior motive in Syria. The deliberations in the conference focussed on useless issues rather than trying to find a solution for the real issue. The Bashar al-Assad government has continued to kill the people thus worsening the situation. Cracks in the military have started to show and many soldiers have joined the lines of rebels. The Free Army which is leading the rebels poses a real challenge to the Syrian ruler and Western aid for it only translates into more bloodshed. The issue of protecting the rights of people of Syria should be of utmost importance but unfortunately, it has been pushed back. Saudi Arabia has also played its role in` providing aid to the people of Syria. The efforts of Kofi Annan have also failed. Most of the steps against the Assad regime have not helped much in reducing violence. People’s safety should be the first priority. Other steps should be explored by engaging more with the Syrian regime. It is the stubborn attitude of the Syrian regime that has forced the Arab League and the international powers to back the rebels. If this conference fails, it would be the people of Syria who will face the consequences. Bashar will do well to engage with the opposition and the international and regional powers to resolve the issue.


The Etemaad Urdu Daily (The Confidence Urdu Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 5 April 2012, Thursday
3. The Future of Bashar Government?
Bashar al-Assad should now realise the danger looming large over his government's future. The Gulf states and Western countries have announced their moral support and financial aid for the Syrian opposition after the failure of the formula proposed by the Security Council. The 'Friends of Syria Conference' that was held in Istanbul has failed after the continuous defiance of international diplomatic efforts by the Syrian ruler.

China, Russia and Iran have also grown sceptical of Syria. Russia and China were against the use of force to prevent Syria from becoming another Libya. The situation in Syria is different, and providing moral and financial help to the oppostion cannot be held wrong. The 'Friends of Syria' group has accepted the Syrian opposition as the real representatives of the people of Syria. Bashar al-Assad seems to have accepted the Security Council recommendations to remove the armed forces from civilian areas with the calculation to save his skin and political future.

The change in the Chinese and Russian stand has also helped. The formula proposed by Kofi Annan with the UN mandate should help in resolving the issue. The opposition needs to move swiftly to engage with the Syrian regime. The Bashar government has been completely isolated in the Arab world. He has shown immense brutality towards the Syrian people and has killed thousands of innocent civilians. Turkey has also refused to back Assad. Only Iraq seems to be closer to Syria. The Arab summit that was held in Iraq discussed the Syrian issue.


Compiled and Translated by Md. Muddassir Quamar

Md. Muddassir Quamar is a Doctoral Candidate 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