War : Syria : variety of Arab assessments


Richard Moore


Arab press weighs UN report 

The UN report implicating Syria in the killing of former
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has elicited a mixed
response in newspapers across the Arab world.

Syrian commentators argue that the findings of UN investigator
Detlev Mehlis are politically motivated and part of a campaign
to discredit and destabilise Damascus.

One Lebanese paper welcomes the report as a crucial step
forward, while another forsees trouble for Syria.

Many fear that the report will have dangerous consequences for
the entire region. Commentary in Syria's Al-Thawrah

The report relies on statements and reports by Lebanese
political and media figures that are hostile to Syria... This
shows that there is a premeditated intention to politicize the
investigation and have it take a specific course that serves
the policy of pressure on Syria.

Commentary in Syria's Tishrin

All laws in the world regard a suspect as innocent until
proven guilty; therefore, on what ground is Mehlis
incriminating Syria if he himself says that what he has in his
hands is only 'conjecture?'

Article in Syria's Al-Thawrah

Despite all Syria's cooperation with the investigation
committee, the report alleged that Syria's cooperation was
neither sufficient nor substantial... this just shows
preconceived opinions and prefabricated accusations against

Commentary in Lebanon's Al-Safir The Mehlis report is a
crucial step forward and will not be the last on the long road
to a trial.

Editorial in Lebanon's L'Orient Le Jour

A big sigh of relief at the spectacle of this long-awaited
truth which has risen inexorably to the surface.

Commentary in Lebanon's The Daily Star

The report... makes mixed but powerful political and legal
statements, which spell trouble for Syria and the wider
debilitating tradition of security-run Arab regimes...

The most important question... is whether indigenous Arab
political and legal forces will be able to harness the
credibility, power and courage to continue challenging and
taming the modern Arab security state, now that the
combination of mass Lebanese citizen activism and legitimate
international intervention have paved the way for this
historic possibility.

Commentary in London-based Al-Hayat

This investigation was a historic chance for Lebanon, and it
is unlikely that such an event will be repeated. Those who
were looking for 'the truth' should now use it to restore what
the civil war has destroyed, especially with regard to
people's minds and spirits.

Editorial in Saudi Gazette

The Arabs are in a quandary... The worst-case scenario... is
the well-founded fear among Arabs that the UN report will be
exploited by the US and Israel to further their agenda in the
region, similar to what the infamous UN-led investigation into
Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction has done.

Editorial in Saudi Arab News

When a respected neutral investigator names members of the
inner circle of President Bashar Assad as involved in the
dastardly murder, what Syria must do is to prove the charges
wrong with evidence that will withstand judicial scrutiny.

But its first reaction has been one of angry denials. Damascus
must do better than this, otherwise the serious allegations
contained in the report will be a festering wound opening the
way for further US-led moves for sanctions against Syria in
the UN Security Council.

Editorial in Saudi Al-Watan

The Lebanese and Syrian governments should combine their
efforts to study the report and cooperate, in order to find
the true criminals and bring them to justice as soon as
possible, as this is something in the interest of both

Editorial in Saudi Al-Jazirah

While the Arab League strives to extinguish the eruption of
Iraq's volcano, another volcano is about to erupt... since it
is now expected that the UN Security Council will issue
resolutions against Syria... This new phase of tension will
give rise to violence that will affect the entire Arab region.

Editorial in Egypt's Al-Ahram

The Mehlis report was no ordinary one... and its consequences
will be dangerous... It is important for all Arab countries to
use logic and convincing arguments. As for resorting to the
argument that the report is politicised and is part of a plot
against Syria... these are just words that will not benefit

Editorial in Egypt's Al-Jumhuriyah

The Arab world, if it is truly united, should now stand by
Syria and should not once again make the glaring mistake of
keeping silent.

Commentary in Jordan's Al-Dustur

The Mehlis report, with its suggestions and implied
accusations against Syria, is a new and reasonable pretext for
US interference!... The report is a blatant example of
international arrogance.

Editorial in Sudan's Al Ayyam

There is no doubt that Syria will face hard times in the near
future, and tension will also spread in Lebanon... There is no
other way out for Syria but to stick... to what the report
stated, that is, all those mentioned in the report will remain
innocent until proven guilty.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio,
television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150
countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham,
UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

Story from BBC NEWS: 

Published: 2005/10/22 11:59:43 GMT 



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