Middle East

Mideast press concerned at lifting of EU Syria arms embargo

Syrian rebels take position in Aleppo

Commentators in the Middle East see little advantage in the European Union decision to lift its arms embargo on the Syrian opposition.

Some Arab writers regard the decision as a sign that the West's real aim is to oust President Bashar al-Assad, not seek a political solution.

Other writers worry that the conflict is escalating into sectarian violence, and that Syria has become a "playground in a multi-polar struggle".

"Drums of war"

Abdallah Iskandar in Saudi-owned Al-Hayat

The situation in Syria is heading towards more confrontation and sectarian division… "External" efforts are still under way to find a diplomatic and international solution to the Syrian crisis, but this is accompanied by protecting self-interest.

Editorial in nationalist Al-Quds Al-Arabi

Hopes of holding a second Geneva conference to reach a political solution on the deteriorating crisis in Syria have evaporated. The drums of war have started beating once again, and louder than usual in these past few months.

Mazin Hammad in Qatar's Al-Watan

The important EU decision to lift the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition paves the way for a huge escalation in the war in Syria... Hopes are pinned on the success of the second Geneva conference in easing the deadlock, otherwise the whole region will drown in a wider and more destructive conflict.

Rafik Khoury in Lebanon's centrist Al-Anwar

There is a huge difference between negotiating a peaceful solution, as the regime in Syria and its allies demand, and negotiating the transfer of power as the opposition and its allies insist on... The problem lies not only in the difficulty each side faces in reaching its goal, but also in the fact that the war, for the major players, has not yet fulfilled its mission.

Urayb al-Rantawi in Jordan's Al-Dustur

The ferocious battle fought by Paris and London to lift the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition, while the whole world awaits Geneva II and the political solution... casts doubt on the credibility of French and British talk about Geneva II, the political solution and ending the bloodshed.

Editorial in Saudi Al-Watan

The EU, or in other words the Western camp, seems to be threatening Russia, China and Iran with the possibility of sending arms to Syria... Syria has become a mere playground in a multi-polar struggle.

"Failure for the West"

Editorial in Syria's official Al-Baath

The EU decision to lift the arms embargo jeopardises Europe's security and exposes it to the risk of reprisal terrorist attacks, just like those that have begun in some of its capitals... France, Britain and their US master cannot accept Syria's military victory, because this lets Syria set the rules of the political solution at the Geneva II conference.

Qasem Ghafuri in Iranian hardline Qods

Lifting the arms embargo on the Syrian groups is a great shame and a failure for the West. The Western countries have always claimed that they want to save the Syrian people. With their human rights claims they have tried to line up public opinion with them. Arming terrorist groups is another documentary proof for their false claims.

General Hanan Gefen in Israeli centrist Maariv

It seems that the war in Syria is drifting towards an event that encompasses the whole Levant, and is changing the order of the last 100 years. The political framework of nation states the Western powers imposed in the Sykes-Picot agreements is facing the test of survival.

"Russians smell weakness"

Alex Fishman in Israeli mass-circulation Yediot Aharonot

The central element that influences the survival of President Assad is Russia... The rash, blunt and uncompromising Russian policy in the Syrian affair mirrors the futility and weakness of European and American policy in this matter... The Russians smell weakness.

Amos Harel in Israeli liberal Haaretz

Despite the series of dramatic declarations this week, it seems that the latest developments in the crisis in Syria herald a continuation of the civil war, more than its imminent end... Russia responded immediately to the EU announcement ending the embargo on supplying weapons to the rebels in Syria, after almost two years of agonising, by stressing its commitment to the arms deal with the Assad regime, which includes modern S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems.

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