Daily highlights of Arab press headlines

Highlights from stories making headlines in Arabic newspapers.

    Dahlia Qazaz: Corona virus a crisis of confidence? (Al-Hayat, London)

    While the Saudi health ministry has said the source of the Corona virus at present remains unknown, it has noted that the rising infection rate came as a result of screening and follow-up. The ministry has reaffirmed that the infection rate is not cause for alarm, as it has not reached epidemic levels detailed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    From 2012 to April 2014, 194 cases of the virus were registered, with 69 of those individuals reported dead. The ministry has said it took the necessary medical measures after receiving the first case from King Abdul Aziz hospital.

    The health ministry has stated it is addressing the outbreak in a methodological manner that is recognized by the WHO, according to Makka newspaper. Concerns remain regarding the credibility of the information published by the health ministry. 

    Samir Attallah: Lebanon’s presidency (Ashraq al-Awsat, London) 

    Every Lebanese citizen would like to see their chosen candidate a winner. Those identifying as independent or non-partisan await a redeeming candidate who could, in essence, "save" them. Some Lebanese want a "strong president", even though the Lebanese presidency has been stripped of all its powers. The silent majority want to have a president who would skilfully lead the country amid this turmoil in the region. 

    Lebanon is divided between the March 8th and March 14th movements. There is an additional group, however, representing the largest segment of the public who are seeking cessation of the issues encountered from the spillover of the war in Syria.

    No country in the world is experiencing a similar influx of refugees, as compared to the population size. The displaced Syrian refugees are adding to tension to already existing sectarian divides among the Lebanese.

    According to its constitution, the country must elect a Lebanese Christian president who is accepted by the public and knowledgeable about Islam. 

    There were previous presidents who were fully conversant in Islamic culture, including Sheikh Bishara al-Khuri or Fuad Shihab. Currently, Lebanon is in need of a combination of these two leaders with a strong political profile and record of embracing Arab nationalism.

    Hani Qasim: Where is the Syrian crisis heading? (Al-Akhbar, Lebanon)

    It is clear that the US effort would focus on keeping the general condition in Syria under a state of attrition to sap the regime’s energy via military operations. With the aim of targeting different governorates, the US hoped to support opposition control over areas such as Raqqa and Der al-Zour.

    The US would make use of the regime to eliminate the "extremist" elements among "Islamist" groups believed be a threat to the US, Europe and the Arab World, as well as Islamic countries. Presently, groups are notably growing in size and becoming more versed in combat.

    We believe the US is attempting to benefit from this situation by provoking observable changes on the ground and achieving marked progress.

    In short, and based on recent developments in the crisis, no breakthrough is within sight. As a result, the Syrian conflict will continue with no resounding solutions in the foreseeable short term.

    Editorial: Yemen and future challenges (Al-Khaleej, UAE)

    Undoubtedly, the Yemeni president is facing a tumultuous legacy inherited from his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in addition to other challenges that emerged in the period following the handing down of power.

    The former regime is showing resistance and believes it may be able to regain power by taking advantage of the laxity that prevails in the political arena. This has been coupled with the president's fear of enforcing decisions to achieve real change through provoking any sort of political unrest.

    The Yemeni president appears to be leading a battle amid resistance by all the parties... The president is doing his best not to appear slanted or biased.

    The rivalry between the political parties in Yemen is undermining [Abd Rabbu Mansour] Hadi’s ability to counter the issuese facing the country, including its security and stability. Some of the parties appear to be obstructing any political or transitional processes by raising various slogans and demands, thinking that Hadi sought to exclude them.

    In the interim, the president is making concerted efforts to calm conflicts in Yemen, using the same political, tribal and military tools that were firmly associated with the ousted regime.

    Basma Abdulaziz: Police and the mechanisms of negotiations (Al-Shourok, Egypt)

    An outstanding and well-organised media campaign was kicked off by Egyptian official radio and TV channels, in an attempt to change the image of the Egyptian police force, presently seen as a tool of repression protecting ruling regimes.

    The campaign aims at tarnishing the image of the January 25 revolution that broke out in protest against police brutality, abuses and human-rights violations.

    The campaign portrays the police force as an institution that has always done its best in performing its duties, facing difficulties with the single aim of providing security to the citizens and without violating any human rights. 

    The campaign has also portrayed the January 25 revolution as a mere conspiracy, led and implemented by a number of Islamic movements. The said movements are depicted as inciting the Egyptian public against the police force by showing attacked police stations, killed protesters... The relationship between the police force and the public has been depicted in the campaign as an amicable and respectable one, with tensions seen as a misunderstanding resulting from a conspiracy.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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