Turkish army lost out in nomination battle

For the first time in modern Turkey's history, the army has been forced to consider the views of political authorities when deciding about new promotions to senior positions within the military apparatus.

In a comment piece for the Qatari newspaper Asharq, Mohammed Nouredine pointed to a change in the relationship between the political and the military establishments in Turkey, with the balance of power tipping toward the former. It was not uncommon for the Turkish army to marginalise the political authorities in managing day-to-day affairs and making major strategic decisions.

But for the first time in modern Turkey's history, the army has been forced to consider the views of political authorities when deciding about new promotions to senior positions within the military apparatus. This happened when the prime minister Tayyip Erdogan rejected the nomination of Gen Hasan Oigsiz for the position of infantry commander-in-chief, the second most important position in the army. The same stance was taken by the ruling party, the Justice and Development Party.

The government's decision is symbolic as it expresses a clear attitude against those who plotted the coup d'etat of 1980 and a desire to build a modern state with clear separation of powers. "The outcome of the latest debate between the politicians and the army during the latest consultative military council was truly a battle for the rebirth for Turkey, which has come to restore the core democratic values of the state."

Nobody should panic about what's happening in Lebanon, as the country is still stable despite the fuss that politicians and observers are making, noted the Lebanese newspaper Al Anwar in a lead article. The recent developments in Lebanon have been solved, showing that the country is safe from anything that could jeopardise its stability.    When the crisis broke out between the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and residents in the south about a month ago, some analysts went so far as to say that an imminent withdrawal of the troops could lead to a new war. Nothing has happened, as a settlement was reached in no time. The Al Adeisa incident was also feared to trigger a new military confrontation, but this was avoided thanks to an attidude of mature self-restraint.

Quite often Lebanon's problems are irrationally inflated, prompting many observers to posit bleak scenarios. They overlook the fact that similar events can take place in other countries, but most of the time they manage to survive their crises. Analysts need, therefore, to be very cautious when expressing their opinions about any given incident in Lebanon, or elsewhere. Taking a retrospective look at past situations and events, one can notice that many of the analyses and predictions turned out to be false.

Sudan's decision to end direct press censorship is a great step towards achieving press freedom, and one that should be imitated by the rest of the Arab countries, declared the editorial of the Emirati daily Akhbar al Arab. This decision comes in agreement with Arab demands for spreading democracy and opening new windows for Arabic public opinion. The Sudanese press community has been complaining for a long time about "nightly visits" from military officers who crack down on any content that does not comply with "government policy". These incidents annoyed newspaper owners because by the time the government interfered, it would be too late to change anything, which then left them no choice but to cancel printing, subsequently incurring huge losses.

The decision to ban censorship has put an end to the suffering of newspapers across the country. A number of publications, which were suspended by the government, can go back to business now. "This decision promotes unity and freedom of speech, and we don't think that any newspaper would object to this concept. This is a step towards the unity of Sudan. We will see the tangible effects of this decision when the newspapers, which were once muffled, resume business and start producing new issues again, without fear of any government interference."

Arabs have been shocked by the US president Barack Obama's poor performance, as he did not live up to his promises regarding Middle Eastern issues, commented Mohammed Yamani for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat. "After being fooled into thinking that Mr Obama, with his magical powers, could wave away their problems and help them stop Israeli aggression, Arabs' hopes were dashed by his inability to stand by them. More and more, they grew aware of the fact that his powers are strictly governed by laws and subject to negotiations with many state institutions."

Indeed, the nature of Mr Obama's jurisdiction will make him unable to accomplish what everyone is expecting of him.  He has already failed in getting the Congress's approval on debatable domestic issues. And it is most likely that various US institutions will oppose strategies that run counter to Israeli interests, which are intertwined with those of Washington in the Middle East. For these reasons, it is true to describe Arabs as too hopeful about what Mr Obama could accomplish. The Middle East's problems are very complex and need more than just the performance of a one-man show to solve them.

* Digest compiled by Keltoum Ahfid @Email:translation@thenational.ae