Sudan arrives at a crossroads

"Sudan is facing immense challenges, but most important of all is safeguarding national unity in line with a comprehensive peace agreement."

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Jamal Adawi wrote in an opinion piece for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan that Sudan is facing immense challenges, but most important of all is safeguarding national unity in line with a comprehensive peace agreement. The writer warned against the country's dismemberment as the crisis deepens because of the various obstacles that have constantly impeded the course of peace. This is evident in the fact that "the national efforts have shifted  focus towards ensuring stability in the eastern provinces and particularly in Darfur at the expense of comprehensive political action."

Many observers have endorsed this view, fearing that Sudan is entering a chronic situation of instability with all its  security, economic, social and political implications. As a remedy, Sudan needs to find a solution for its political differences and then boost favourable political action. This can be done "by inviting different political forces to take part in a serious reconciliation effort in addition to putting the interests of the Sudanese people and the country first". Sudanese political actors need likewise to interact positively with international, mainly Muslim and Arab, initiatives and mediations. Overall, Sudanese political forces and the people alike should keep in mind that it is their own responsibility to restore peace and maintain their national unity.

In a comment piece that appeared in the Jordan-based daily Al Rai, Mohammed Kharroub wrote: "Ahead of President Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo next month, it is expected that  Israelis would dismantle 26 settlements described as illegal, which  implies there exist others which are more legal  on the  Palestinian  occupied lands."

It is also expected that settlers represented by their Yesha Council would fiercely confront the Benjamin Netanyahu government, especially its minister of defence Ehud Barak. In this situation, both Mr Netanyahu and his defence minister would tacitly agree on a deal regarding the issue of settlements in exchange for a stricter US policy towards Iran and its nuclear programme. The scenario envisaged is that of  "media relayed" scenes of evacuation to show to the world and especially America that the Israeli government is serious about achieving peace and is ready for further concessions. By doing so, Israel would  show its good intentions to build mutual trust with Palestinians and Arabs. When the scene is ready, or "prefabricated", President Obama would be tempted to call on Arabs to further normalise their relations with Israelis by opening representative commercial bureaus and other liaison offices.

The Saudi daily Al Watan carried a leader in which it evoked the 19th anniversary of Yemen reunification, celebrated this year amid rising secession sentiments in the south of the country.

"Truly, Yemen's unity has undergone the test of time. Yet challenges facing Yemen as a harmonious state have reached their height following the economic crisis that hit the country coupled with a drain by efforts to fight al Qa'eda which is seeking to transform Yemen into an operations platform. "By and large, separation is beneficial to none." In this context, all Yemeni  constituents, political and social, need rather to be vigilant and stand together. "Yemen direly needs a sincere national dialogue that brings together the government and all opposition forces. While doing so, it is so important that the government listens responsibly to the opposition's claims and demands."

No matter how various and conflicting these views are, they should be considered as legitimate as long as they are raised without prejudice to the founding principles of the nation. Furthermore, it is necessary to  develop the current political system by rendering the very idea of unity an attractive and workable concept for all. "To achieve these goals, the government has to address pressing issues of unemployment and poverty as well as to create favourable conditions for sustainable development."

The London-based Al Sharq al Awsat featured an opinion article by Abdul Arrahman al Rashed who wrote: "Many may have reached the same conviction as that of  judges in the court of Cairo that the Egyptian tycoon Hishaam Talat Moustafa deserves the death penalty. Many others who are also convinced he is guilty may have feared that the death sentence, the stiffest penalty in criminal law, would not apply to people like Talat Moustafa. Many also may have feared he would reappear again after some few years driving on the streets of Cairo."

The court's decision ended these speculations once and for all. The judges have accurately interpreted the law and reached their decision based on the compelling evidence at hand. So far no crime has attracted as much attention as this one in which the murderer was a successful businessman, the victim, Suzanne Tamim, was a famous singer, and the act of murder took place away from London or Cairo so as to avoid any suspicion. In convicting Talat Moustafa, the Egyptian judiciary emerged firm at a time the public has been impatiently looking forward to achieving justice.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi