Hariri's visit to Tehran upsets Hizbollah

The Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri's arrival in Iran dissipates theories claiming a Sunni exploitation of the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Lebanon.

The Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri's arrival in Iran dissipates theories claiming a Sunni exploitation of the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Lebanon, in contrast to the Shiite exploitation of the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to the country earlier this year, observed Ahmad Ayash in an article for Lebanese daily Annahar.

It is obvious that Mr Hariri's Iranian visit isn't good news for Hizbollah and its allies. Sources from Hizbollah's bloc tried to undermine the official visit's effects, expecting them to be "simple and insubstantial."

Hizbollah and its allies have been repeatedly inviting Mr Hariri to sever all ties with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as a pre-requisite for support and allegiance. Since the request is impossible, Tehran got closer to Mr Hariri.

What benefits would Iran gain from Mr Hariri's visit at a time when its ally Hizbollah is facing a confrontation with the Tribunal and its impeding indictment?

Talk of Iranian extremism or rigidity, reflected in Hizbollah's positions, faded away with images of the sweeping hospitality the Iranian regime bestowed upon its Lebanese guest.

These images serve a purpose that extends beyond the boundaries of Lebanon to reach the world closely watching Tehran's every move in all issues threatening world peace.

Turkey and Iran for a new Middle East

In a comparison between the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's state visit to Beirut recently and the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's official visit to the city last week, "it could be concluded that Turks and Iranians have no intention to go head to head or compete for power in the Middle East," wrote the columnist Saad Mehio in an article for the Emirati daily Al Khaleej.

It is true that both countries differ in terms of direction. However, this divergence isn't translating as a conflict of power in the region. On the contrary, it appears that at this historical stage that both leaders agree on taking their share of the Middle East scene from Israel rather than from one another.

This is creating a unique situation in the history of the Middle East as in the past, the rise of one of these two regional powers necessitated the fall of the other. Otherwise, in case they rose together, confrontation was inevitable.

Turkey and Iran are rising together without any confrontation looming in the horizon. Both nations are keen on cooperation, although the first is a member of Nato and the second is seeking to establish an Islamic military alliance against the West.

The wise collaboration between Ankara and Tehran merits applause since it contributes to the revival of the natural Islamic identity of the Middle East scene.

Copts must be treated as equal citizens

Religious or sectarian clashes are a common everyday occurrence. When they perpetuate and escalate, they become an issue.

Does this apply to the Coptic-Islamic clashes occurring recently in Egypt? asked the columnist Abdul Rahman al Rashed in an article for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

The real crux of the issue is still unclear, but it is believed to be restricted since only a few confrontations took place in the immense Egyptian community where eight million Copts live among a population of 80 million. However, statistics in this case can't be a trusty indicator, as political encounters aren't measured in numbers but in effect.

Eight million Copts form a sizable population that can't be treated as a minority or under the concept of tolerance. The concept of tolerance in this case is offensive. Tolerance is for strangers, while the Copts are no strangers in their country. They are citizens equal in rights and obligations to their Muslim counterparts.

Sectarian discord is the trait of this day and age in our region. It is a natural historical evolution that mirrors internal movements and currents. It becomes serious when overlooked as an unalarming occurrence.

Egyptian authorities must heed the dangers of a possible political exploitation of the Coptic issue to serve opposing internal or external powers.

Putin is preparing to return to the Kremlin

Big dreams preoccupy Vladimir Putin as he prepares to return to the Kremlin at the end of Dmitry Medvedev's term as president of the Russian Federation, observed columnist Mazen Hammad in a comment for the Qatari daily Al Watan.

Mr Putin will not let his dreams slip away; he is working diligently to seize them and transform them into realities that would support his next term in power.

His European dream was to link the European continent's economy to the Russian economy so that together they could form a liberated commercial space that produces trillions of dollars and spans from Portugal to Russia.

Upon a recent visit to Berlin, Mr Putin published an article in a German newspaper that can be viewed as a political statement about his vision for Russia's future relationship with the Europeans.

He believes that the current level of cooperation between Russia and Europe isn't commensurate with the economic challenges they face. A strategic alliance can be reached between Russia and European countries in various fields such as industry, technology, nuclear power and logistics.

Mr Putin's courtship of Europe could prompt independent European governments to join the promise to improve European and Russian incomes.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem