Senate decision at odds with promises
Bucking the trend, the US Senate passed a resolution reiterating its strong objection to unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state outside a negotiated framework between the Israelis and the Palestinians, observed Diae al Fahoum in the Jordanian newspaper Addustoor.
The Senate also urged Palestinian leaders to halt all efforts that obstruct the negotiation process, and called on foreign countries not to grant unilateral recognition without Israeli agreement. The Senate has thus overlooked a basic fact that those who impede the negotiations are the Israelis by pursuing settlements.
"It is a strange decision that we hope the US Senate will review in order to represent the view of Americans, not of Israelis."
It seems that the resolution was oblivious to the US promise of support for an independent Palestinian state. It also undermined the will of most countries, which condemned the Israeli settlement policies, which have so far hampered the peace process.
Many people around the world have become aware that US foreign policy is greatly affected by the Israeli lobbyists. And many more believe that Washington, given its position in the world, should be a guarantor of peace and justice. The latest Senate resolution has just done the opposite; it blew up the promises to support a Palestinian state and promote peace in the region.
Kuwait's government must look to law
"One year after the dissolution of the Kuwaiti parliament and its replacement by a new assembly, it is once again in crisis. The Kuwaiti parliament is seen as the most dynamic among its Arab counterparts," argued Abdul Rahman al Rashed in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.
Since the liberation of Kuwait, its parliament has been involved in endless interrogations but little change has happened. Parliamentarians are mostly to blame.
"But in the last episode of crises, the government is to blame. Attacking members of the parliament is singularly negative. MPs represent the people, and should enjoy state immunity. Moreover, the use of power is not consistent with Kuwaiti culture, known for its openness, tolerance, and the existence of such democratic symbols as the parliament, press and diwans."
Even though the law bans rallies, using force to break up a political meeting of few opposition MPs is unusual in Kuwait. And if the state decides to openly challenge the opposition, it should rather undertake political reforms through the constitution. The government should also think of introducing changes in the legislature to give the executive greater space to operate and be held accountable to avoid being pursued permanently.
Under the current system, a motion by three MPs is enough to call any minister for interrogation, which easily can cripple the government.
Afghan drawdown and Taliban talks on cards
"From a careful reading of the US president Barack Obama's speech on the strategic review of war in Afghanistan, it can be inferred that he thinks not of a decisive war, but of a compromise. He also spoke of a slow and costly war," wrote Mazen Hammad in a commentary article for the Qatari newspaper al Watan.
Mr Obama's remarks resemble a confession hinting at an early defeat. Yet the most important point in the speech was that he did not mention the Taliban, pledging to dismantle al Qa'eda. This means that Mr Obama is likely to propose a peace initiative with the Taliban.
Despite the gains made by the US-led forces in Afghanistan, they remain limited and less likely to continue. What is more, the Afghan war is complex and it is hard to predict its ultimate outcome. Yet the decision of Mr Obama to begin withdrawal is the first declared military decline.
He argued that the decision to pull out came in response to the Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who insisted on the exit of US and Nato troops in four years. By then, he said, Afghan forces will be well-prepared to undertake security responsibilities.
No matter how Mr Obama tried to appear the master of the situation in Afghanistan, any solution depends on a tripartite negotiation, including Washington, Islamabad and the Taliban.
Arabic language in need of resurgence
As the world celebrated Arabic Language Day yesterday, the Saudi newspaper Al Jazeera's editorial said the language has been disregarded by its own speakers.
The newspaper criticised some presenters in particular of Arab satellite channels, who tend to use dialects rather than speak in standard Arabic. This way, they limit the scope of their audience to only speakers of the dialect they use. However, it hailed many foreign Arabic-speaking channels, which are keen to reach wider publics among Arabs and Muslim communities.
As well as being a universal language and a cultural medium for a great part of people in the world, the Arabic language reflects the authentic culture for nearly a quarter of all Muslims. It has earned great recognition throughout history as a language of the Quran, and historically as a medium of communication that enabled the transfer of human knowledge. It also facilitated contact between peoples of the world.
After Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish and Russian, Arabic is the sixth important universal language, and it one of six working languages of the UN. Despite all these attributes, it is still underestimated in media circles, a situation that needs to be addressed by encouraging its strict use.
* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi
Published: December 19, 2010 04:00 AM