Middle East

Daily highlights of Arab press headlines

A summary of stories making headlines in the Arabic press.

Last updated: 20 Apr 2014 13:51
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Rita Faraj: Arab Regimes: Burying pluralism in the name of unity, Assafir, Lebanon

The Arab World is characterised by religious and ethnic diversity that has added cultural richness, particularly during the less eventful periods - rare as they might be - in Arab history.

The protest movements, or the so-called Arab Spring revolutions, have ignited dangerous tensions between various ethnic and sectarian groups. The tensions are attributable to the failure of the ruling regimes to manage pluralism and enact legal and constitutional rules for integrating this rich spectrum of diversity into the state.

The dilemma comes in the absence - perhaps the deliberate absence - of mechanisms for managing pluralism. Such mechanisms exist at the social and cultural levels, but are entirely lacking at the political level.

Arab regimes have deliberately marginalised pluralism under the pretext of maintaining security and stability, purportedly under threat by minority groups seeking to win civil-rights battles. There are three types of  ruling regimes in the Arab World: The first exhibits tolerance for pluralism; the second rejects power-sharing solutions that would encourage the participation of all religions, ethnicities and ideologies; and the third is the type of military/populist regime that speaks for the masses as though they were a single monolithic bloc.

Jaser al-Jaser: The New Gulf, al-Hayat, London

The Gulf states leaders' meeting, scheduled to be held in May, will be a turning point in the history of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The meeting will mark the rebirth of the council; the mere fact that this meeting will be held means that a new GCC chapter will be opened, and many pending files have been addressed or closed.

It will mean that a new Arab Gulf discourse, based on transparency and openness, has been adopted under a common perception of the nature of challenges facing the GCC and the ways and means to address them.

It will mean the GCC will adopt a new structure to combat its slow-working processes and may move into a more united stand, without contradicting the social and economic structures in each country.

Ghaleb Hassan al-Shahbander: Who do we vote for?, al-Mada, Iraq

This question is addressed to the silent majority, because the proponents of ideological, sectarian and ethnic affiliations do not concern themselves with such questions. They will cast their votes to their parties, clans and sects.

I will, therefore, ask voters casting their ballots based on ethnic or sectarian affiliations to give their votes to specific candidates on the electoral lists, and not to the whole list, per se, because this will be the only way to guarantee that honest and efficient candidates will be elected. Not all candidates on this list or that list deserve to have your vote, even if the list represents your ideological, social, religious or sectarian orientation.

Amr Hamzawy: Egypt 2014: Deconstructing the neo-Nasserism myth, al-Shorouk, Egypt

The transformed Nasserist myth has different components and contexts, with the single aim of justifying despotic rule and convincing the public to submit to the military establishment's domination of the state and the society.

The myth calls for support of its hero and saviour, despite the negative outcome of Nasserism in the 1950s and 60s. In addition, circumstances today are totally different.

The risk of handing down a whole country to a ruler who is not accountable for checks and balances - giving a free hand to the authorities, along with allied corrupt economic and financial elites - will be catastrophic. And opponents of the regime will be dismissed, in the name of defending the nation state, as either outlaws or serving foreign interests.


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