Some stunned by Gulf states’ demand for Al Jazeera shut down, Jamaica says no to the Gulf’s ‘bullying’ of Qatar, why Macron’s stance on Syria is wrong, why Theresa May’s new coalition could cost her, as war with Islamic State ends, Syria could heat up

A roundup of global commentary for the July 10, 2017–July 17, 2017 weekly magazine.

Osama Faisal/AP/File
Staff members of Al-Jazeera International work at the news studio in Doha, Qatar, Jan. 1, 2015. Doha-based news network Al-Jazeera, long one of the crown jewels of Qatar’s outreach to the world, now finds itself blocked in Arab nations and pushed into the corner in the diplomatic crisis. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal, File) Osama Faisal

The Daily Star / Bangladesh

Some are stunned by Gulf states’ demand that Qatar shut down Al Jazeera

“We are stunned ... by the call to close down Al Jazeera Satellite network and its affiliates ... [to end the] recent boycott against Qatar...,” states an editorial. “The call for shutting down a popular, internationally recognised news network for political reasons is a regressive move on many counts. First of all this is a direct threat to freedom of the press.... Secondly, in a world in which global information is monopolised by western media, to try to ban a news network that [represents] the voices of the Arab world, is short sighted and self destructive.... It is with increasing alarm that we notice ... dissenting voices [and] divergent opinions being ... vilified as ‘false news’....”

The Gleaner / Jamaica

Jamaica says no to the Gulf’s ‘bullying’ of Qatar

“Jamaica has good reasons to pay attention to the row, led by Saudi Arabia, between Qatar and ... its Gulf neighbours.... But there is a larger issue at play ... the matter of sovereignty...,” states an editorial. “Qatar has operated a foreign policy independent of its Gulf partners ... [which is why they] imposed [a] ... blockade against the Qataris, accusing Doha of ... financing terrorist organisations.... [A]mong the demands ... to lift their blockade is the dismantling of Al Jazeera. They also insist that Qatar close [a] Turkish base, severely pare down its diplomatic relations with Iran, end its alleged support for terrorist organisations, and pay reparations for the loss of life and financial losses because of Qatari policies.... [I]t is tantamount to an expropriation of sovereignty, for which no small country can countenance....”

Al Jazeera / Qatar

Much to celebrate about Macron’s victory, but his stance on Syria is wrong

“[French President Emmanuel Macron] seemed to herald a bold new politics that would align power with principle. Since assuming power, however, Macron’s statements have been more equivocal...,” writes Muhammad Idrees Ahmad. “[He recently] emphasised ... [that] ‘We won’t solve the question [of Syria] only with military force.’... [T]he monopoly on violence in Syria is held by the regime and its allies ... [who] are responsible for over 90 percent of all civilian deaths.... The real question is if [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad, Russia and Iran accept that there is no military solution. They don’t.... Macron [has spoken] eloquently ... of democracy, individual freedoms and social justice.... The Syrians who rose up against Syria’s authoritarian regime share these principles. Macron’s words will ring hollow if he allows these people to be crushed....”

Deutsche Welle / Berlin 

Why Theresa May’s new coalition could cost her dearly

“[British Prime Minister] Theresa May could pay dearly for bringing [the Democratic Unionist Party] on board,” writes Barbara Wesel. “The DUP is a regional party from Northern Ireland. Extremely socially conservative, it ... poses problems for a postmodern [Britain].... This is no party London should get in bed with. Doing so calls into question the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.... May needs the DUP’s support most of all for Brexit, especially in getting a deal through parliament.... While the DUP is for May’s version of a hard Brexit, the party also wants to keep the border with Ireland open. This political oxymoron makes compromise hard and restricts May’s room to negotiate, leaving her talks in Brussels even more beholden to goodwill and DUP demands.”

The Japan Times / Tokyo

As war with Islamic State winds down, Syria might be heating up

“The emergence of the Islamic State militant group ... had the salutary effect of uniting the disparate forces in that conflict...,” states an editorial. “It is ironic then that ... there is the equally likely prospect of a wider and more dangerous fight over the future of Syria and the region, a struggle that threatens to pit the West, particularly the United States and its regional allies, against Iran.... Iran, more than any other country, is positioned to exploit the IS retreat.... There is a fear that the defeat of IS will allow Iran to establish a corridor to project its power from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.”

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