Obama and Netanyahu on intertwined course

As they reach their mid-term, will they aspire to see by the end of next year the establishment of a Palestinian state and an end to the Iranian nuclear programme?

As they reach their mid-term, will the US president Barack Obama and the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu aspire to see by the end of next year the establishment of a Palestinian state and an end to the Iranian nuclear programme?

This question was raised by Aluf Benn, the editor-at-large for the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, and was quoted by Mazen Hammad in a commentary for the Qatari daily Al Watan.

According to Benn, Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu have to decide either unilaterally or jointly about easing the grip on the West Bank to enable the Palestinians to set up their sovereign state and about waging a war against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Mr Obama has one year to integrate the Palestinian state into the international community as he promised in his speech before the UN general assembly.

For his part, Mr Netanyahu promised to sign a framework agreement to crown negotiations of twelve months with the Palestinians.

Benn believes that Mr Netanyahu's political agenda is less clear than Mr Obama's, even though he was able to win the support of  influential right-wing political forces in Israel. He may link his approval to stop settlement expansion with Iran waiving its nuclear ambitions. In the worst scenario, if Israel decided to strike Tehran, it would need the support of the US.

Iraq heads towards a bleak future

The new wave of violence in Iraq uncovers the truth that both the internal political establishment and international powers have utterly failed in achieving a breakthrough in the Iraqi political scene, noted the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi in its lead article.

So far 57 persons were declared killed in a series of blasts across the country, not to mention the deadly attack on a church in eastern Baghdad which left scores dead and other injured.

"Invading a church and shooting worshipers is an act condemned by all standards. Houses of prayer must be isolated from political or ethnic conflicts, and should remain a safe haven where people can worship in peace and tranquility."

The deterioration in security should not have happened if the government assumed fully its responsibility to provide protection to its citizens and put an end to massacres. Moreover, as it insists in holding power, the government will not help in bringing peace.

Iraq may even enter a further uncertain phase ahead of the withdrawal of the American troops by the end of next year. Two courses of events are likely in this regard. First, sectarian groupings will emerge as a response to the weak central government in meeting security and other vital needs of the people. Second, more civil frictions will result accordingly, causing further violent episodes that will hamper progress.

Yemen must admit its many problems

Yemen faces a problem today that Saudi had to deal with a few years ago, observed Tareq Homayed, editor-in-chief of pan-Arab daily Asharq al Awsat.

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US, when it was revealed that 15 of the perpetrators were Saudi nationals, the Saudi kingdom was in a state of denial and defensiveness. However, when the Saudis acknowledged their problem, the transformation was great and Saudi security is now at its best.

On the other hand, Yemen is still in a state of denial about the widespread terrorist expansion on its territories. It is unfortunate that some Yemeni analysts are claiming that al Qa'eda is a Saudi organisation funded by Saudi money. Denying the truth will not do.

Instead of acknowledging the gravity of the problem, Yemenis are resorting to disseminating rumours aimed at undermining the Saudi security's feat in foiling the explosive packages operation.

It is also unfortunate that some would pretend that al Qa'eda's widespread operators in Yemen is due to Saudi-funded Salafi schools. It is a known fact that al Qa'eda benefits from the continuing Yemeni political crisis.

Yemen's problem now is its insistence on denying the truth. The first step to confront terrorism is to admit to its existence, for that would prompt others to offer assistance in the form of training and funding.

Rejecting the Saudi invitation is a mistake

At a time when all parties and political factions in Iraq expressed their support for the Saudi initiative, the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al Maliki surprised everyone by turning down Riyadh's invitation on the grounds that political leaders had agreed that the dilemma of forming a cabinet would be resolved internally, commented the Emirati daily Al Bayan in its editorial.

Mr al Maliki's rejection of King Abdullah's offer defeats the Arab consensus to save Iraq by gathering all of its factions around one neutral table in an effort to bring back stability, especially since events over the past few days have proved how precarious the internal situation is.

Terrorists are controlling the field while the conflict over the formation of a cabinet still rages on shamelessly. This is what prompted the Saudi initiative in the first place.

"We don't know who benefits from missing such an opportunity to impartially gather Iraqis or which logic governs reliance on this chaos."

Destruction and death are incessantly reaping lives without prejudice and with no consideration to the country's future, which promises more disparity and confusion, unless consciences are awakened and the country's interests are given absolute priority.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi