Arabic-language papers consider bin Laden's death, other topics

Editorials in the Arabic-language press comment on the crisis in Syria, Lebanon's need for a new cabinet, the surprising change in relations between Hamas and Egypt, and al Qa'eda's confirmation of the death of Osama bin Laden.

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Al Qa'eda settles the controversy

Many a controversy was laid to rest as al Qa'eda issued a statement on Friday confirming the death of their leader and vowing to avenge his killing by waging a series of attacks on US and western targets.

In its editorial, the pan-Arab Al Quds al Arabi noted that the statement cuts short all conspiracy theories that doubted the US version of the event and hinted that Osama bin Laden was still alive.

It was the US administration itself that reinforced the multiplication of conspiracy theories when it refused to release any of the photos of bin Laden's body.

Scepticism was compounded by the unusual burial method within a mere eight hours of his killing under the pretext that no Islamic state would agree to receive the body.

"This seems highly unlikely, that so many Islamic states were contacted in that short period of time." This corroborates suspicions that the US administration has something it wants to hide from its own citizens and the Islamic world.

"The controversial and contradictory accounts confirm the US command's condescending view of the Islamic world and its intention to humiliate Muslims. It strayed from the transparency principle it seeks to enforce in various countries of the world. The same could be said of its respect for freedoms and human rights by killing an unarmed man in cold blood without a fair trial."

Syria reaches the point of no return

For seven weeks running the Syrian people's uprising against the regime continues unrelenting, noted Tareq al Homayed, the editor-in-chief of the London-based Asharq Al Awsat daily.

As it continues to expand geographically and demographically, it reflects the unyielding nature of the movement within Syria and the deep conundrum of a regime that seems to be drowning in quicksand. Protests across Syrian cities on Friday featured escalation of a new kind as the slogans brandished were all directed against President Bashir al Assad himself rather than oppression or the ruling party in general.

"This indicates that the relationship between the people and the command has reached the point of no return. Protesters can no longer be viewed as a same-sect minority since the protests have spread to the largest cities that include Kurds and even Alawites."

What will the regime do next? Will it continue to rule by force, which would eventually cause it to crack and weaken? The rules of the game have evidently changed in Syria. The events of this last Friday foretell greater divisions within the population and the regime. Many usual official faces have disappeared, only to be replaced by statements from various sources.

"This raises questions more than it offers answers and proves that the regime in Damascus is its own worst enemy."

Hamas turns to Egypt as new patron

Prior to and following the signing of the Palestinian reconciliation pact, the most significant event in the process was the radical transformation in Hamas's position, observed the columnist Satea Noureddin in the Lebanese Assafir daily.

Hamas resolved to divorce Syria politically and to distance itself ideologically from Iran in exchange for Egyptian patronage.

The rapprochement demonstrates political realism that was imposed by the critical situation in Syria and accusations of Palestinian meddling in its internal affairs.

The reconciliation also came as a result of the shift in the nature of the Iranian-Arab or Gulf confrontation. To Hamas's surprise, this means it no longer requires any input from the Tehran regime's allies.

"Hamas left the already shaky Syrian-Iranian axis as the Arab wave of change reached the shores of Syria. This forced Hamas to look for an alternative axis in Egypt, now the most stable Arab country and the most capable of forging the Palestinian future."

Hamas returned to the new Egypt deciding to forsake the elements of its traditional political rhetoric, which didn't serve its cause against Israel. The movement has decided to give negotiations a chance and to follow other Islamic movements in the Arab world that are fighting for democratic societies.

Lebanon needs a strong new cabinet

More than 100 days have passed since Najib Miqati was given the mandate to form a new Lebanese cabinet following the coerced resignation of the former Saad Hariri-led cabinet, commented the Emirati Al Bayan daily in its editorial.

Parliamentary blocs in the new majority still can't reach an agreement with the president concerning the distribution of ministerial portfolios. Some observers worry that the indefinite delay might push the prime minister designate to bow out.

"No matter what the reasons and the excuses for such a delay, and no matter what the justifications for the various parties positions, nothing outweighs the need for Lebanon to get out of this crisis."

Prioritising the country's interests above any other personal, partisan or sectarian considerations is the best direction for the future of Lebanon. This is a predicament that can be averted simply if the Lebanese power players decide to forsake their traditional leadership games.

The Lebanese are weary of internal dissent among their leaders. They look forward to the establishment of a solid development-orientated cabinet that can assume the many urgent responsibilities which are being left unattended.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem