Violence in the region dominated the front pages of today’s UAE papers.
Renewed bloodshed in Syria and Al Assad regime’s dismissal of Arab League demands were reported by Gulf News and The National. Syrian opposition has already expressed its anger at the League’s stance and said a 15-day deadline to Damascus is like a licence to kill, Gulf News’ UAE editor added.
The National said according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 21 people including police officers were killed when Syrian security forces combed several neighbourhood in Homs while seven soldiers also lost their lives in a gun-battle with army defectors.
The Abu Dhabi-based paper’s foreign correspondent also reported violence from Sanaa where 18 people were killed when deeply unpopular President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s troops opened fire on people protestors including women and children. The Yemeni leader also blasted the opposition for conducting a “Military-Islamist” coup.
INDIAN VISA FACILITY
A Khaleej Times report said Indian missions in the UAE will introduce an online application process for foreigners seeking Indian visa from today. The paper quoted the Indian consul general in Dubai as saying that the online process will help reduce waiting time for visas.
Gulf News reported that the online application is optional for now but will become mandatory by 1 January, 2012.
Today’s editorials of both Dubai-based papers reflect the news on the front pages.
Gulf News suggests GCC is right to exert pressure on Damascus while urging the Syrian National Council to embrace the call for dialogue to end bloodshed. “The GCC is right to exert as much pressure as possible on Damascus as little has changed in the past month except for a mounting death toll of Syrians and more blood spilled on the streets,” the editorial insisted while expressing dismay at the stance taken by Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon and Yemen which opposed sanctions or boycott of Syria. “Sadly, their actions will result in more Syrians falling to the bullets of Al Assad’s security apparatus,” the editor added.
Khaleej Times editorial, on the other hand, has taken a soft stance towards Damascus as it urged President Assad to understand where his country is headed under him. While noting that Syria risks regional and international isolation, the article urged the beleaguered Syrian leader “not to miss this opportunity where regional Arab states proffer a viable platform to mediate with the opposition”. The editor concluded by saying that the ball is in his court and “if he chooses to obdurately stick to this line of action” then he must be prepared to “face an inevitable downfall”.
The National has focused its attention on Syria’s neighbour, Iraq, in its editorial. Citing Monday’s news article filed by an Iraqi journalist in which he quoted some Iraqi politicians demanding that the US occupation army leave the country or face consequences. Off-the-record, the same politicians begged the American troops to stay after the deadline. While criticising the two-faced approach of the Iraqi politicians, the editor insisted that the inability of Iraq’s leaders to make tough decisions and whether the political fallout risks the country’s stability.
By Moign Khawaja ~ Editor – Arabian Gazette