And now the Somali pirates have oil

The Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al Awsat ran an article by Editor Tareq Alhomayed saying that the world has yet to come to terms with the danger of piracy.

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The Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al Awsat ran an article by Editor Tareq Alhomayed saying that the world has yet to come to terms with the danger of piracy. "A specialist in Somali affairs said that the hijacking of the Saudi Arabian tanker 'looks like a deliberate two fingers from some very bright Somalis'," he wrote in the UK-based paper. "We seem to have forgotten that Somalia is a failed country, without a government or central authority. We were under the impression that we would not have to pay the price for this, as if one could close one's door and not be affected by the neighbours."

Piracy is a primary means of fighting terrorism, Alhomayed wrote, so this phenomenon poses a threat to security. "And so it is up to the countries that border the Red Sea, and the international community as a whole, to find solutions to the problems in Somalia," he wrote. "The danger of what is happening goes beyond the hijacking of ships, and amounts to no less than a real threat to the security of the countries in the region."

Egypt's pro-government Al Ahram daily ran an opinion piece by Mahmoud Muawwad saying considering others was back in fashion, with the Arabs bailing out the collapsed global economy. "Maybe the Arabs wanted to show they understood the reasons behind the forced change that broke and is still breaking all the constant principles," he wrote.

"Why are we all afraid of change, even though it renews our cells, purifies our souls and revitalises our lives and youth?" But hope was alleviating the pain of these questions. "Despite it all, the Arab initiative to recognise 'the other' is positive, because it is the first time that the Arabs have recognised what they had never recognised: the name of the other, in light of the prevalence of the "self", Muawwad wrote, referring to the Saudi plan to recognise Israel in return for it ending the occupation. "This recognition brought a ray of hope to the Arab populations to dream that, like others, they would be allowed to have other opinions, ideas, races and even beliefs, without being accused of disloyalty to the nation."

Ibrahime al Amine, chairman of the board of directors of Lebanon's independent pro-opposition newspaper Al Akhbar, wrote in an opinion piece that there has been less talk about an American war on Iran since Barack Obama's election. "But some factions keep stressing that Israel cannot leave the situation as it currently is because it cannot tolerate having Hizbollah as a neighbour, much less a nuclear power with influence that surrounds it on all sides, a hostile power that calls for eliminating Israel," he wrote.

Many believe Israel will wage a new war on Lebanon, using as a pretext Hizbollah's pledged response to the assassination of its military leader Imad Mughniyeh. But Al-Amine disagreed. "Regardless of the resistance's vigilance and the other factors, it is still unlikely that Israel would wage an attack on Lebanon and Hizbollah," he wrote. "Since it doesn't want to go after Lebanon, and since it cannot attack Iran, Syria remains as the "most suitable" title and the Israeli leaders have enough justifications for such a move."

Saudi-owned newspaper Al Hayat ran an opinion article by regular writer Abdullah Iskandar saying whether or not the observer chooses to believe the televised Syrian confessions by extremists, which held Lebanon's Future Movement responsible for their actions, or to take sides with the Future Movement's newspaper, which holds the Syrian intelligence responsible, a certain conclusion imposes itself.

"The conclusion is that any attempt to exploit radicalism and terrorism will backfire, sometimes faster than expected," he wrote in the London-based paper. "This has been seen in the experiences of those who tolerated radicalism or tried to exploit it for their political purposes, whether in Arab countries or all over the world." As the "war of televised confessions" becomes a "war of recorded calls", with Lebanese newspapers publishing details of criminal investigations and intelligence information, Iskandar wrote, "one must ask about the benefits to Lebanese justice in its efforts to reveal the criminal aspects and actual responsibilities tied to terrorist attacks". * Digest compiled from