Clinton ignores history of 'serious' Arab efforts

In an opinion piece for the Jordanian daily Al Rai, Hazem Mbaydeen addressed the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's call for the Arab states to give a "serious push" to the peace process.

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In an opinion piece for the Jordanian daily Al Rai, Hazem Mbaydeen addressed the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's call for the Arab states to give a "serious push" to the peace process. "Mrs Clinton calls on us to be serious, as if we have been playing since she was the first lady of the White House," he said. She is well aware of the numerous, very serious Arab endeavours to reach an equitable and permanent peace, he continues. Mrs Clinton also knows that the Palestinians have agreed to many painful concessions to reach that goal. She knows that all their efforts did not and will not be successful unless they are matched by a true desire for peace on the Israeli side.

In the midst of growing scepticism toward the peace process, and in view of the inability to move the process forward, the international community must be held accountable for its lenience toward Israel, the writer opined. Washington must exert more pressure on its ally because the administration knows that a return to negotiations will be impossible while settlement plans are still in effect. "The US administration is required to reveal who was responsible for the failure of a peaceful compromise. The United States is aware of the negative outcome that might result from this state of congestion in the region."

In reaction to the calls within the Egyptian parliament for violence against protesters, and the outcome of the Nile Basin initiative in Sharm el Sheikh, Wael Abdel Fattah wrote in the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar that Egypt will soon find itself fighting on a double front: its own people and neighbouring African states. "The war against protesters is already raging, but it is a failed test balloon in the face of a 'conspiracy' to steal Egypt's 'historical right' to the water of the Nile river," said the writer.

In fact, the state is waging an internal war against the enemies of the regime. However, it is failing to defend its water share, a matter of national security, which might lead it into a war to prevent "water starvation". Following the decision of the ministers of the seven Nile Basin states to redistribute water shares, the writer comments: "The regime is paying the price of its absence from Africa." Despite claims of a historical right to the water of the Nile, Egypt's request for an increase of its share was met with brutal opposition from the source states, which led many to claim that this is the outcome of an Israeli plot to tighten its grip on the region. In the war over the Nile, the writer concludes, the regime is pointing its guns in the wrong direction "and that is a predestined defeat".

In her second article on national youth employment problems, Noura al Suwaidi wrote in the Emirati daily Al Bayan that many efforts are being made to facilitate the integration of the young Emirati generation in the workforce.

She focuses on the lack of proper training for nationals about how to make conscious life decisions when it comes to employment. She says: "I don't want to generalise, but it seems many of our youth do not remotely possess the skills that enable them to weigh their opportunities ? and often retreat in frustration and in fear of committing themselves to the responsibility of taking any life decisions."

The writer stresses the importance of the decision-making mechanism among the young generation and believing in their responsibility for their decisions and consequences that follow. She goes on to say that planning for such crucial skills must begin at childhood. Good decision-making is a skill that must be taught in theory and in practice, she opines. It begins with simple steps by teaching a child to decide on his or her favourite colour or favourite clothes. It is the repeated experience that infuses children with the self-esteem and confidence required to determine their future and the future of their country.

Last Monday was a suspiciously fruitful day for the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al Maliki, according to Mazen Hammad, a columnist with the Qatari newspaper Al Watan. The national elections committee bowed to a court ruling to recount the Baghdad ballots on the same day that Mr al Maliki announced the killing of two senior al Qa'eda commanders. "It seems that some concoction took place on the Iraqi scene, and that it wasn't a mere game of coincidence," the columnist said.

Mr al Maliki was proud to announce that Iraqi intelligence, supported by US forces, managed to kill Abu Ayoub al Masri and Abu Omar al Baghdadi in a raid on a residence in Tikrit. "Yet it is no secret that Mr al Maliki is striving these days to promote his image as a strong leader amid a strident row over the results of last month's elections." Both the US vice president Joe Biden and Gen Raymond Odierno, the chief commander of the US forces in Iraq, agreed that the killing of the two al Qa'eda affiliates was one of the most - if not the most - significant achievement against al Qa'eda so far.

Well, that certainly ought to boost Mr al Maliki's popularity and almost guarantee him a second premiership after the recount. * Digest compiled by Racha Makarem