A significant message from Osama to Obama

The audio message recently released in which Osama bin Laden endorsed the failed attempt to blow up a US airliner is important in terms of its content and timing, noted the London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi in its editorial.

The audio message recently released in which Osama bin Laden endorsed the failed attempt to blow up a US airliner is important in terms of its content and timing, noted the London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi in its editorial. "First, it is the first time the al Qa'eda leader addressed the US president on an equal basis. The message was titled from Osama to Obama. Second, assuming responsibility over the attempt means al Qa'eda had trained the Nigerian student and similar attacks would be attempted in the future."

Third, linking the terrorist attack with the miserable conditions of Palestinians in Gaza gives al Qa'eda every reason now to take advantage of the growing desperate public feelings in the Arab world. This could empower Palestinian militant groups who are the ideological allies of al Qa'eda. Fourth, the release of the tape coincided with the failure of the US special envoy to the Middle East in striking a peace deal, and with preparations to hold special conferences on Yemen and Afghanistan in London by the end of this month. Bin Laden would clearly like to tell to the world that his organisation is still capable of challenging western security measures.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rushed to distance himself from statements by his cabinet member, Yossi Peled, that a new war against Hizbollah is likely, reported Mazen Hamad in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan. Mr Netanyahu said the Israeli government was seeking no confrontation with any party.

"Yet we cannot take this for granted. The Israeli premier is known for his deep desire to strike Hizbollah and take revenge after Israel's resounding military defeat in the 2006 war." There are several developments that may support the possibility of a new war. The Washington Post reported this week that Hizbollah has moved long-range missile launching pads towards the north of Lebanon and that UNIFIL forces would not be able to prevent the outbreak of a war there.

Political pundits, quoted by the London-based daily Al Sharq Al Awsat, said that both Syria and Hizbollah mobilised their forces in anticipation of an Israeli assault, noting that there were Israeli military reinforcements along the borders with Lebanon. "We do not know what the Netanyahu's government has brewing yet, but for sure, we know that it is busy these days with the settlement issue and on how to get around the true peace requirements."

"Human resources are a true wealth that only can be attained through great initiatives. Great civilisations rested on the contribution of their own people. The unprecedented economic growth of China and other Asian countries is a proof that we also can achieve similar success," remarked Abdul Aziz al Samari in an opinion article for the Saudi newspaper Al Jazeera. "But most of the eastern Arab world economies lack a well trained and qualified population capable of effecting development."

A poor institutional and regulatory basis has exacerbated this situation. "This lead us to pose the questions why, for example, in Saudi Arabia, where the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation has failed, Sabec and Aranco succeeded in developing their staff? And why were medical training programmes successful, whereas technical and vocational colleges have been less able to meet their targets?

The key word here is motivation; most graduates of vocational and technical institutes are neither encouraged morally or financially to achieve their ambitions. The civil service, unfortunately, does not distinguish between technical and office jobs, which remain the most sought-for occupations. To address this situation, a special professional and good pay scale should be devised for vocational occupations in order to attract more people to them.

Some may fear that too much money is to blame for the faulty education of our children, observed Maysa Rashed Ghadeer in an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan. While many parents lavish money to pay their children's school expenses, it is also a double-edged sword. Many parents continue pouring money onto their children as if it is the only way to express love. "We observe teens owning state-of-the-art mobile phones that they use mostly for entertainment. They own luxury cars with chauffeurs at their disposal. The chauffeurs have to obey their orders and drive the way they like. Worse, he should be willing to sacrifice his life if they would like to try driving under his supervision."

Such a luxurious life and limitless freedoms have encouraged these teens to be obsessed with the latest vogue in fashion, movies and other pursuits of life in a manner that "we are no longer able to understand". Their waking hours are filled with phone calls, text messages, and trivial meetings with peers. The result is fewer chances for them to prepare themselves for an active life because they have ignored developing their skills and educating themselves. "For this reason, we can say that money spoils our children."

* Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi melmouloudi@thenational.ae