"The spectre of war is clouding Gaza's sky. And the general atmosphere is akin to the one preceding last year's assault on the Strip. This time, however, the US president Barack Obama looks like he has already given the Israelis a green light to act against Hamas," wrote Satea Noureddine in a lead article in the Lebanese newspaper Al Safeer. Mr Obama has exhausted his efforts to convince the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Nethanyahu to resume negotiations. Last week, he told foreign ministers from Jordan and Egypt that reviving peace talks should start with direct talks with Israel because they share the same concern: Hamas and its control of the Gaza Strip.The US rejection of Arab requests for a solution was so uncouth that Mr Nethanyahu considered it as an implicit permission to wage war. He immediately ordered his army to standby readiness.
A strike against Gaza would have a wide effect on the prisoner exchange deal, the position of the Islamic movement and its relations with the Palestinian Authority, as well as on Arab and regional attitude towards the situation in the Strip. "It may also change the course of the Palestinian cause and the balance of power in the region, including the increasing role of Iran in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."
"There are two major views on how to handle the war on terror in western countries," observed Abdul Rahman al Rashed in a comment article for the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat. "One, motivated by security concerns, believes in continuous prosecution of suspects as a means to prevent terrorists from operating on their territories. According to the second view, the war on terror should be a sustained action aimed at winning the trust of Muslims by involving them in fighting terrorism and drying up its sources."
Members of the second group have succeeded largely in the last three years in changing many of the taboos, including easing visa regulations, co-operating with Islamic centres and allowing thousands of Muslim students to study in US universities. The last decade should have taught everyone that the West and the Muslim world were not caught up in a religious war as al Qa'eda has targeted both Muslims and non-Muslims. Moreover, the number of Muslims killed outnumbers westerners. Security authorities in Muslim countries have also contributed enormously to the war on terror by providing strategic information that has saved the West from many imminent terrorist operations. "Today we are faced with an ideological war that should be addressed ideologically. This is no less important than tracking down terrorists."
"During the economic boom, Jordanian companies raised capital through public and private subscription. The aim was to get as much liquidity as possible to sustain growth. Now with the recession and the losses that followed, are they going to reduce their capital?" asked Issam Qadhmani in an opinion piece for the Jordanian daily Al Rai.
These companies, in fact, exaggerated their estimates when they went into a frenzy looking for more cash. Any attempt now, however, to cut the size of their monetary assets could harm the companies first, then their shareholders, and ultimately the whole national economy. During prosperous times, some companies moved away from their main core business and heavily invested in equities. They became financial portfolios, which led them into trouble when the stock market dropped in value. Now there is a need to control the behaviour of companies. There is also a need to hold shareholders accountable and make them responsible too. "We saw them happily ignoring all irregularities and risks undertaken by their companies when they were making a profit. But as soon as losses began, they started complaining. To pull these companies out from their crisis, they need not only review their plans, but also assess their total assets and review their investment policies on a performance basis."
"In an unprecedented manner, the situation in Yemen is under the spotlight these days because of security, political and social crises that will become worse if no action is taken," remarked the UAE newspaper Al Khaleej. "We are holding our breath because of what is going on in Yemen, a reminder of the chaos in such countries as Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan after the US interfered in their security issues. It is as if Washington is aiming to turn entire countries into laboratories at the expense of their stability."
There is a fear that Yemen may be drawn into a chaotic situation. But so far the Yemeni government has done the correct thing by rejecting any American interference in its internal affairs. Yet rejection of US intervention should be followed by tangible action to block any such attempts in the future. While Yemen is under serious threat, Arabs seem oblivious of the extent of the crises that that country is undergoing. "It is time to take a decision in order to overcome these hard times. Opting for a political and peaceful approach, such as national dialogue, could help Yemen maintain its unity and avoid falling into the trap of chaos."
* Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi email@example.com