Hot off the Arab press

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

A Saudi man explores the Web on his laptop, in Riyadh in February. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A Saudi man explores the Web on his laptop, in Riyadh in February.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A development more dangerous than Bin La den Al-Hayat, London, October 25 Western governments should put aside their physical attacks on jihad targets in Syria and Iraq, and start fighting Islamic State on a different front: the Web.
The Internet has become the main platform through which these extremist organizations proliferate their ideology and recruit new personnel.
The Web is what allowed a person like Michael Zehaf- Bibeau, the Canadian parliament gunman, to meet jihadists and follow their ideology. It is what compelled Zale Thompson to attack a police officer in Queens, New York, with an ax, under the pretext of jihad – never having visited a training camp in the Middle East or in any other area.
The age in which Osama Bin Laden sent tape recordings to Al Jazeera’s offices, hoping for them to be released and reach the public, has long passed. Today’s terrorists rely on Facebook and Twitter, and all other forms of social networking. What was supposed to be a noble development in the way we communicate has also brought dangerous risks with it.
Western intelligence reports claim that more than 3,000 Islamic State fighters came from the UK, Germany and France. It is no longer enough to strike the hills of Tora Bora; unless more serious and severe measures – just like those used on the ground – are taken, this war will be lost.
It is time to monitor and limit such activity on social networks, just like terrorist movement is contained and restricted on the ground. Cyberspace is our new threat; more developed and dangerous than Bin Laden.
Some view Oba ma as a failure Al-Shuruq, Egypt, October 25 Recent studies show that Arabs, like Americans, are divided in their perspective on US President Barack Obama’s performance, with some 52 percent rejecting his policies. Obama, who was elected at a young age, immediately began pushing for his doctrine of minimizing American forces overseas and avoiding armed intervention in foreign countries – unless American national security interests were directly put at risk.
Following the Arab Spring, Obama enjoyed the rare opportunity of changing the Arab discourse regarding the US, and in Cairo delivered his placation speech to the Arab world, calling for democracy and civil rights.
But the Egyptian case has taught us that American political reality is miles away from the ideals and principles it claims to support. The same US administration that welcomed the democratic election of president Mohamed Morsi also accepted his ousting, and the rise of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a year later.
In Libya, Obama has preferred an international coalition in place of an American one against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. In Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, Obama chose to deploy drones instead of soldiers; in Syria, he chose not to intervene. All of these actions influenced his diminishing popularity in the Arab world.
But when we describe these choices as failures, we forget to view them from the American standpoint. As far as Obama is concerned, there are three important US interests in the Middle East: continued flow of oil to world markets, thwarting terrorism attempts against US targets and the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation.
As far as the US is concerned, Obama’s doctrine takes care of all three.
Unfortunately, Arabs do not want to be masters of their own fate, and do not work to better their lives.
Instead, they look to Washington to make the hard decisions for them. Perhaps the problem does not lie with Obama – perhaps it is us.
Ma king the Gaza fund-raising conference work on the ground Al-Quds, Jerusalem, October 18 The “Reconstruction of Gaza” Conference held under the joint chairmanship of Egypt and Norway concluded in Cairo last week. It was a great success for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded in raising $4.5 billion, half of which will be allocated to the reconstruction of Gaza, with the other half set to aid the PA.
Egypt played a crucial role in organizing the conference, and President Sisi’s keynote address reiterated his country’s commitment to the Palestinian cause and standing by their side. Norway, too, was a crucial player, as it solicited the partnership of numerous European countries after publicizing the immense damage inflicted upon the people of Gaza in 50 days of intense war.
There is no doubt that diplomatically, this conference was a great Palestinian success – with over 50 countries committing to help, in addition to some 20 local and international organizations. Practically, however, we must ensure that its implementation works well on the ground. We must ensure that the national unity government is able to exercise its full powers in Gaza, and that the split created between government institutions in Gaza and the West Bank is immediately eliminated.
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s recent visit to the Gaza Strip should serve as a prelude to what is yet to come: a full Palestinian reconciliation without any delays or excuses. This is the only way we, the Palestinians, will be able to march together towards achieving our political goals of proclaiming an independent state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with Jerusalem as its capital; together, united, with support from the international community.
Women of our country Al-Itihad, United Arab Emirates, October 25 Women read more than men. This is not the writer’s personal opinion, but the data presented by polls and global reports. Such studies also reveal that women are statistically more capable in dealing with money than men; they also realize greater success in the field of media and communications – in writing, conversing and delivering speeches.
Today, Arab women are interested in political and social issues more than ever before. Therefore, it is time to stop limiting us to shallow women’s magazines and TV shows, which seem to be taken from the 1st century.
We have read enough about the kitchen, fashion and makeup; pretending we are intrigued or that we care. It is time that we are acknowledged, and that our capabilities are recognized – just like men.
Women who pursued careers in culture, sport or politics have excelled in their fields. We no longer spend day and night in front of a mirror, fixing our hijab or redoing our makeup. We deserted these preconceived notions of gender in order to indulge in real and meaningful daily life.
It is time to stop the undermining of women and bring an end to TV programs and publications aimed at diminishing our intellect and power.