Hot off the Arab press 374407

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East.

US president Barack Obama addresses reporters in the White House press briefing room, (photo credit: REUTERS)
US president Barack Obama addresses reporters in the White House press briefing room,
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Fighting isis without the Arab League? Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, August 29 When US President Barack Obama admitted to not having a clear strategy against the Islamic State, he did, however, claim his administration is busy putting together a list of military options. His goal is to organize an international coalition to fight the extremist organization. But it is ironic the US is talking today about the importance of an “international alliance” to save Iraq, while its 2003 unilateral invasion of this country is the main reason that ISIS was formed to begin with.
Obama is reluctant to put boots on the ground following the heavy price paid by Washington for its previous invasion of Iraq, though he is well aware of the fact that defeating ISIS from the air is virtually impossible.
What is missing from this complex scene is an Arab coalition: an understanding by Arab leaders that they – not anyone else – are standing at the forefront of the threat imposed by ISIS, not only in Syria or Iraq but also in Turkey, Lebanon and elsewhere.
The American approach hopes to include all Arab countries as active participants in the war against ISIS. Unfortunately, the Arab meetings that took place were not conducted under the auspices of the Arab League, an organization that has become a passive bystander witnessing its member countries struggle to survive. Will ISIS benefit from this miserable scene? Will the “international coalition” succeed in “eradicating the cancer,” as Obama put it, or will this “surgical intervention” end up killing the patient instead of saving it? A new diplomatic la nguage Al-Watan, Egypt, August 28 When the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement urging American authorities to practice restraint in dealing with the Ferguson demonstrations, the government was trying to illustrate a new era in Egyptian diplomacy: Cairo’s return to its historic position as regional leader, following four years of domestic turmoil. Egypt has embraced a more powerful and assertive diplomatic tone in recent weeks, as can be seen in its role as lead negotiator between Israel and Hamas. Egypt was the only party accepted by both sides as a mediator, and the only regional power able to bring about a cease-fire in Gaza. On a different front, Cairo is leading diplomatic efforts to solve the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam water crisis, which seems to be nearing an unprecedented breakthrough.
A state cannot exercise influence outside its borders as long as it is domestically unstable. The return of Egypt to its traditional diplomatic role symbolizes its slow yet steady recovery from the disease it has been suffering from since the 2011 revolution. Egypt’s influence overseas might have declined in recent years, but the statement issued last week seems to announce that era is over. Egypt is now speaking a new diplomatic language.
ISIS’S Horses and Obama’s Carriage
Al-Hayat, Saudi Arabia, August 31
If Ukrainians were waiting for Obama to help them stop Russian President Vladmir Putin’s armed incursion into their country, they will likely continue waiting for a long time – just like the Syrians did when Obama promised that “there is no room for murderous dictators like Bashar Assad in this day and age.”
Obama claimed he does not want to put the cart before the horse; that is, he does not want to make rash decisions in Iraq. But the problem with his approach is that the cart is not static, but moving and surpassing the president. If things continue this way, Obama’s second term in office will be concluded with devastating results in the international arena – mainly the strengthening of Arab extremism, at the expense of the stability and security of moderate regimes.
There is very little confidence among regional leaders in the American approach. Today, Middle Eastern leaders increasingly feel that collaborating among themselves might bring a more effective solution to the Islamic threat, without the help of Obama and his “cart” – which has become a disabled vehicle with its horses running wild, far off into the horizon.
Gaza cease-fire: peace or a new war, and heavier price
Al-Nahar, Lebanon, September 1
The question still not answered is whether this one-month truce between Israel and Hamas will last, or will it be breached yet again? A former ambassador to Lebanon who asked not to be identified said that following any war, there is always a big debate on the winners and losers. But in order to win this war, one must achieve the two-state solution, which is the only way to allow countries in the region to live within their safe borders. Without this solution, Israel will remain on the losing side and pay the cost of war.
Both sides lost this war: the Israelis lived in bomb shelters for two months, while the Palestinians suffered heavy shelling for 50 consecutive days. Israel lost billions of dollars in tourism, industry and trade, while the Palestinians lost more than 2,000 of their people.
If the Palestinians use this truce to rebuild their military infrastructure and strengthen their arsenal for a new war, Israel will continue constructing settlements and occupy ever more land. The Israeli public needs to pressure its leadership to start focusing on a comprehensive peace deal, not conflict management – which will allow for two states to live side by side.
The Palestinian people have paid a heavy price for their national goals, a price which has brought them back to square one. The time has come for the Palestinians to wage a joint war, together with the Arab states, against the State of Israel – a war that will not be stopped until a comprehensive peace deal is achieved.