Different standards for Israel and Iran

At the peak of the international outcry following Israel's killing of nine Freedom Flotilla activists, the UN Security Council deemed it the right time to adopt a new round of sanctions against Iran on Wednesday, the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds stated in its editorial.

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At the peak of the international outcry following Israel's killing of nine Freedom Flotilla activists, the UN Security Council deemed it the right time to adopt a new round of sanctions against Iran on Wednesday, the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds stated in its editorial. Granted, the sanctions are meant to punish Iran for its nuclear activities. But those who approved the sanctions knew full well that Israel did not attend the international summit to make the region a nuclear-free zone, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is widely believed to own nuclear weapons, and generally does everything it can to stall all peace prospects in the region.

"This flagrant double standard in dealing with Iran and Israel will not make matters any easier or contribute to security and stability; worse, the very opposite may be true." And the United States in particular is the party mostly to blame. It was the one that persuaded the once-undecided Russia and China to vote for the sanctions and it is the one that constantly acts as the attorney for Israel at the Security Council. "We must remind that this is not to defend Iran, but only to speak out for fairness, neutrality and the general good of the people of the region."

The new Iraqi state still has a long way to go before its officials start prioritising the people's interests over their own, wrote Heewa Othman, the director of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting's branch in Iraq, in the Omani newspaper Al Watan.

"The leaders appear to have no sense of urgency or responsibility to break the current stalemate, despite the announcement from the US vice-president Joe Biden that Washington is determined to pull out most of its troops in two months." The elections in March proved that politics in Iraq are still "personalised" and "recruitment-based" - that is, persons, not sets of ideas, are coalescing or clashing, and that is why Iraq still has no government three months after the elections. All attempts to form alliances and start talks to finally find a government are bogged down by the dogfight over who will lead the country, not who will address the electorate's aspirations.

"With every day that passes, electors lose confidence in their representatives a bit more." Once elected, hardly any parliamentary coalition works to get the other political entities to agree on the major issues that the Iraqi elector wants addressed. That would at least give the Iraqi people the impression that the political process in their country is about politics and governance not about individuals and their power trips.

During its seven-year row with the West over its nuclear ambitions, Iran has been subjected to an enormous amount of pressure and threats, but this is the first time ever it is being formally punished, commented Abdulrahman al Rashed in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat. The fourth batch of sanctions passed on Wednesday against the Islamic Republic will not primarily be enforced by the US as in the three previous rounds. With 12 out of 15 Security Council members voting in favour of the sanctions, this is "the first legal and international breakthrough" against Tehran, the writer said.

"Yet, against common commentary and notwithstanding the great merriment in New York on Wednesday, I think that the new sanctions do not only have a limited effect, they are actually quite beneficial for the Iranian regime." The fact that the Security Council got officially involved in the decision against Iran means that the site of the confrontation has definitively moved to the United Nations, and that is in Iran's favour.

"The decision now grants Iran some tranquility and peace of mind. The Iranians now can go to bed serenely, knowing that stealth aircrafts and Tomahawk missiles won't set Tehran on fire at any moment, since Iran will henceforth be held accountable by the international body and not by the US, which repeatedly said that the military option is on the table."

"Once again, the Egyptian judiciary is in conflict with other parties despite assertions by official authorities that it is independent and above everyone," said Mohammed Salah in an opinion article for London-based newspaper Al Hayat. A recent ruling by the supreme administrative court giving divorced Copts the right to remarry triggered a new wave of criticism against the judicial body. The issue erupted when the Egyptian Church opposed the ruling. Pope Shenouda, the head of the church, asserted that he would not allow Copts to remarry under any circumstances. This isn't the first time that a group objects to a judicial ruling. However, Egyptians can no longer hide their frustration at the fact that the laws of the land can always be bent to accommodate the ruling National Party, as was witnessed during the last Shoura elections, instead of serving the needs of the people in their everyday life.

In truth, Egyptian law as a whole requires revisions and amendments to comply with the nature and the evolution of this era. Outmoded legislation is engendering socio-political conflicts that escalate to the point of threatening national security. Judges are required to conform their rulings to inadequate laws without regard to universal common sense. This must change. * Digest compiled by Achraf A El Bahi