Hot off the Arab press

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

Hassan Rouhani (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hassan Rouhani
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Id Is here
Al-Watan, Egypt, October 2
This year, Id al-Adha comes at the worst time for Arabs and Muslims around the world. Granted, every year we complain that the situation is the worst it has been, and every year we speculate that things cannot get much worse. But this Id, conditions are the worst they have ever been: The Arab world is suffering from continuous deterioration in coexistence, and it is be - coming the first nation in history to be both the kill - er and the victim in its extinction. Id is coming, and there is no regime in Yemen, there is a civil war in Syria, there is turmoil in Libya, and Iraq is falling apart.
Id is coming and there is a Lebanese Republic with no president for eight weeks; the borders of Egypt are threatened by Hamas, Sudan and Libya; and the borders of Saudi Arabia are threatened by Iran and Yemen.
Id is here, and the tribe has become more important than the nation, and ties with foreign investors have become stronger than ties with the homeland. Id is here, and there are military sorties in the skies above Iraq, Syria, Libya and Sinai. Our enemy is not external.
It is unfortunately among us, within us – it is us.
Iran Is still the biggest challenge for America
Asharq al-Awsat, London, October 1
Many voices in the United States now call for America to cooperate with Iran in the fight against Islamic State. One of these calls came from none other than Secretary of State John Kerry, who insisted that the exclusion of Tehran from the Paris Conference “does not mean that the United States is opposed to the idea of Iran joining the conversations in the future.”
Seemingly this is feasible – as both Iran and the United States want to defeat the radical Islamist group. But it would be wise of us to take an important fact into consideration: Kerry’s remarks are based on a wrong ful assumption of Middle East politics wherein “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” We should not let the fluctuations in the Middle East hide the fact that the Iranian theocratic regime is trying to change the regional order and cut off America’s influence. With the exception of arms sales to moderate Arab countries and attempts to allay legitimate Israeli concerns, the United States has not made significant efforts to isolate Iran. Instead of continuing the illusion of cooperation with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Washington should address the manipulations and maneuvers carried out by the Iranian regime – from the slums of Baghdad to the battlefields in Syria. America and Iran stand at two opposing ends of the Middle East political spectrum, which makes them very unlikely partners in any way.
The fight against Sunni extremism should not blind us to the constant threat imposed upon the West by the ayatollah’s regime.
A Palestinian Tipping Point
Al-Safir, Lebanon, October 1
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the United Nations denoted a moment of truth, a moment of a long-awaited change, and a tipping point for the Palestinian people. Abbas’s stance completely rejects President Barack Obama’s request to return to the negotiating table, and demands that the UN come up with a firm timetable to end the Israeli occupation.
The era of American-mediated brokering of the peace process has come to an end. This should have happened long ago, in May 1999, which was set as the target date for the conclusion of negotiations under the Oslo Accords. Instead, these accords led to the deepening of the occupation, to the expansion of settlements, and to increasing racism and hate against Palestinians.
The importance of Abbas’s turning point is that it publicly calls to stop wasting time on using old methods and old tools that have proved unworthy. It is time to be brave and form a strong Palestinian national unity government, on the basis of real political partnership.
It is time to mobilize all the tools and power available to the Palestinians in order to bring change. This tipping point can shift the balance of power in this conflict, and finally bring an end to the suffering and undermining of Palestinian rights.
Israel Intelligence and the Peace Treaty
Al-Ghad, Jordan, October 4
When Israel and Jordan signed their peace treaty in 1994, both sides expected to put an end to all forms of hostility between the two countries. In the public’s opinion, of course, this was not the case, but the treaty was ratified and anchored by law in both Jordan and Israel. Ending the state of hostility included, among many other things, the liquidation of all preexisting intelligence materials and devices that were built or collected during the previous decades of fighting. We do not know whether the Jordanian negotiation team did, in fact, research this topic before signing the Arava Valley Treaty. But it turns out today that the recently discovered intelligence devices, placed in Jordan by Israel, have only been detected by chance – due to an unintended explosion on the side of a highway. These re - cent developments teach us that Israel took advantage of the chaotic years Jordan experienced in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and planted numerous listening devices on Jordanian soil. This is despite Jordan’s cooperation with Egyptian military experts, who together discovered and thwarted numerous Israeli espionage devices.
We can also learn that the “clever” Jordanian negotiators did not pay attention to this possibility, ignored decades of conflict with Israel, and hastily rushed to sign a peace treaty with Israel – without committing the latter to disclose its breach of Jordanian national security. Can Israel’s non-disclosure of its previous espionage devices be considered a violation of the peace agreement? I do not know, but the least we can do is take note of this possibility