Salem Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority's prime minister, appears to be convinced that a Palestinian state will be established by the end of 2011, wrote Saad Mehio in his column for the Emirati newspaper Al Khaleej. "The birth of the Palestinian state will be celebrated next year as a day of joy for the entire community of nations," the columnist quoted Mr Fayyad as saying in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Friday.
But where did the Palestinian premier come up with this assurance to announce a date for celebrations? "Of course not from some hope that the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will budge on any of his positions. The man has recently proven that he will fight the two-state solution to the last breath, even if that entails standing up to his chief protector, the United States." Likewise, the internal strife between Hamas and Fatah is not indicative of any uniform intention to work jointly towards the greater good of the Palestinian cause. So how can a Palestinian state see the light amid such dim prospects? "Well, only the Obama administration could provide such a guarantee." But would a promise from the US president be sufficient, especially with congressional elections, which the Israeli lobby can significantly influence, approaching? "The answer is: a big 'no'."
In his comment piece for the Emirati newspaper Al Bayan, Mohammad Salman al Aboudi compared the situation between Iran and the West to two trains on a collision course.
Other nations, frustrated with the US, and often bystanders rather than active players in this scenario, might be eager to see Washington suffer more losses in the Middle East with a new confrontation in the region. This is an aspiration shared by Tehran which is using its nuclear programme as bait to lure its nemesis into a tedious struggle to deplete its resources. Iran is seeking to form alliances with Russia and China. That would ensure the achievement of its nuclear plans on the one hand and aid both countries' dreams of hegemony in the Middle East, on the other.
China has an economic need for the Islamic Republic that could make it a strong ally in the region. In a blatant disregard for the western community's campaign to hinder any nuclear aspirations in the region, Iran and China took the first steps to begin negotiations for future co-operation on many levels. Such a coalition with China provides Iran with protection against any punitive actions that might be taken against it in the near future.
The latest Israeli air strikes on Gaza, coupled with continuous provocations by Hamas and other Palestinian factions, are meant to achieve one goal: invite Palestinian rockets into the country to justify yet another Israeli war on Gaza and, by the same token, elude growing international pressure, commented Khaled al Hroub in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat.
"The Israeli provocation, up to this point, has not yet succeeded in eliciting the desired response. No rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip yet, which is worthy of praise." Israel seeks a tailored, snappy battle, either with Hizbollah in the north or Hamas in the south. Such a war is currently the only way out for Israel from its current diplomatic isolation. Perhaps for the first time in the history of US-Israeli relations, we are hearing senior US officials saying that ending the Israeli occupation is in the US national interest, and that the Arab-Israeli conflict jeopardises the safety of US troops around the world. "The wisdom and self-restraint currently exercised in Gaza in the face of Israeli taunts must absolutely be maintained." Hamas, if they want to further strip Israel of arguments, can begin by dropping unnecessary anti-Jewish clauses from its statutes and starting to conceive of confrontation in more political terms.
Delegations from western countries, including the US, are currently in Sudan to discuss the country's upcoming elections which have morphed into a crisis, according to Jihad al Moumni, a columnist with the Jordanian newspaper Al Rai.
Steadily the situation in Sudan has gone from a "shaky unanimity" over election process to a "decisive division". In the last couple of days this has snowballed into premeditated withdrawals from the elections, foreboding the failure of the peace process as a whole. "This is the general picture of this otherwise promising Arab state, which has been at war for two decades now." Although France and the US are pushing for the elections, there is a sense that "what's on their tongue isn't rooted in their hearts".
Since the Darfur crisis erupted, many western organisations started operating in Sudan. The West at this stage is betting on a number of political forces, including the opposition parties, to cause the elections to fail, hence denying the ruling party a chance to win again. * Digest compiled by Achraf A El Bahi @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org