Obama's approach to Afghanistan fails

In an opinion piece featured in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan, Waleed Nouayhed wrote that the failure of Nato's military action in Afghanistan would have political aftershocks affecting the US president Barack Obama's reputation.

In an opinion piece featured in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan, Waleed Nouayhed wrote that the failure of Nato's military action in Afghanistan would have political aftershocks affecting the US president Barack Obama's reputation. "President Obama, during his campaign for the presidency, publicised his ability to end the crisis in Afghanistan and dry up sources of terror. His views regarding the issue were  shortsighted, however. Mr Obama  favoured a military solution and ended up making the same mistake as his predecessor, George W Bush."

Moving troops from Iraq to Afghanistan for the sake of reinforcing Nato's military presence was the wrong decision at a time the security situation had not yet stabilised. It is similarly wrong to depend solely on power to settle deeply rooted disputes in Afghanistan where anarchy prevails and where it is hard to determine who is the loser and who is the winner. Crises in the greater Middle East, if not addressed comprehensively by way of diplomacy, will tend to persist. Rather, they may take new and unexpected turns. "So far, it appears that Mr Obama has failed in his mission in Afghanistan, and that may cause internal conflicts to deepen even further in a race for power once a security vacuum emerges."

Although Hamas's position about Palestinian national reconciliation has changed, at least at first view, as it joins the same line as other factions, it needs to take bolder steps and subscribe to the national project of establishing an independent Palestinian state, wrote Khayr Allah Khayr Allah in a comment article that appeared in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai Alaam.

"Hamas should know that the only true reconciliation is the one that serves the Palestinian people first and contributes to the establishment of state institutions. And the true resistance is the one led in the West Bank, which spared Palestinians the burden of slipping into misadventure. The question remains whether Hamas is likely to join the genuine resistance, which has preserved the Palestinian national identity in the hardest of times, or will it continue behaving in a way that feeds radicalism within Israel?

"If Hamas is really looking forward to engaging in real reconciliation, it should be able to untie its odd alliances. It should likewise consider reconciliation as a national strategic option and not as an escape from its own problems." The starting point for this project should stem from the political programme of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the efforts invested by the Palestinian Authority in this regard.

The London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi, in its editorial, described the move by Israel to build new housing units in one of the settlements near Bethlehem as provocative. The newspaper indicated that this irresponsible act came at a time when the US special envoy was holding discussions with both Israelis and Palestinians in preparation for a new round of indirect negotiations. This daring step is intended to convey three key messages.

First, the Israeli government would like to tell the Palestinian Authority that it is moving forward with settlement plans no matter what, and will not yield to any external pressure. Second, the Israelis would like to tell the Americans that the promise to freeze settlement activities for some months is not binding at all. Therefore, the US envoy George Mitchell should forsake his ambitions about discussing a future independent Palestinian state on the grounds that it is up to the Israelis to decide about the issue according to their own view.

Lastly, Israel would like to tell Arab governments and the Arab peace committee, which gave cover to Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, that they have no weight or influence. And that the peace initiative they propose is of no value. The voice of logic now says that the Arab foreign ministers should withdraw their approval of negotiations.

Much has been said about the desire of Iraqis for change, yet sectarianism will remain a determining factor in shaping the Iraqi political landscape for years to come, remarked Qasim Hussein in an opinion piece for the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat. Preliminary results showed that public support mainly went to two main lists: that of Iyad Allawi who, although a secular Shiite, is backed by Sunnis. The second bloc represents the Shiite population and is headed by the present prime minister Nouri al Maliki.

"Except in the north, which has been governed by Kurds for two decades, the voting turnout was high, especially in western Sunni provinces with 60 to 70 per cent. Some observers attributed this to the desire of people not to repeat the mistake of boycotting the election." The overall high rate of participation in different provinces demonstrated the growing awareness among Iraqis that their country has endured enough wars and conflicts, and it is time to make a change. They now feel convinced that the current politicians should establish a good future for future generations by promoting democracy and the alternation of power and governance.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi melmouloudi@thenational.ae