Hot off the Arab press 382370

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East

Family members of security forces killed in Sinai react near an army vehicle as they wait for the bodies of their relatives at Almaza military airbase in Cairo on October 25. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Family members of security forces killed in Sinai react near an army vehicle as they wait for the bodies of their relatives at Almaza military airbase in Cairo on October 25.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Al-Safir, Lebanon, November 11
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the Egyptian jihadi group ac - tive in the Sinai Peninsula, pledged its allegiance to Islamic State in a recorded message posted online this week. The message, which promises to follow the rule of caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also contained harsh criticism of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, for adapting what it calls the “shameful path of peace and democracy.”
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis first came into being following the Egyptian revolution of 2011, focusing most of its ef - forts against Israel and the Egyptian-Israeli gas pipeline in Sinai. Following the ousting of president Mohamed Morsi in June 2013, the group toughened its stance and began operating against Egyptian targets as well.
The group’s decision to join Islamic State is somewhat surprising, given its recent public denial of joining Baghdadi’s forces. Moreover, unlike Islamic State, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis does not enjoy a full-scale army or control over vast lands. The timing, however, is understandable: the Egyptian army has waged a fierce cam - paign against the jihadis in Sinai, just like the Western coalition did against Islamic State. – Mustafah Bassiouni
Al-Doustour Jordan, November 13
Last night I had an interesting conversation with my daughter, who is enrolled in an English class with a British professor. “My teacher,” she said, “has been living in Jordan for three years now, and never wants to leave.” She was surprised by her teacher’s devotion, given the increasing amount of young Jordanians who will do anything they can to leave the country. My daughter was torn, describing how her professor had lived in Britain, the Gulf and Lebanon – but did not feel at home until he arrived in Jordan. Only here, he said, were the people around him warm, tolerant and accepting.
Like most people her age, my daughter looks at the glass as half-empty. She has not visited any other Arab country, and did not witness the internal conflict surrounding us in the Arab world. She does not understand that Jordan has its problems, but its list of virtues would take days to write. In the face of the Zionist attempts to desecrate al-Aksa Mosque, Jordan has been the only country to confront Israel and demand justice.
Our people have the right to aspire to more and to criticize our country’s shortcomings; but we also have to remember the merits we have, and the important role our nation plays in the Arab world. As the old proverb says: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” – Helmi al-Asmar
Sayidaty, Saudi Arabia, November 13
Domestic violence, perhaps the most common type of human violence of our time, has been a major focus of the Saudi government in recent months. The kingdom recently announced a new legislative initiative designed to legally fight the phenomenon, scheduled to be implemented in the spring. The new program will standardize punishment for such crimes and allow all courthouses throughout the kingdom to follow a single law. The legislation will advance the protection of women, children and vulnerable groups by clearly defining what constitutes domestic violence, in a legislative process that takes into consideration both Islamic and international law. The Saudi Justice Ministry also announced the appointment of 150 new judges trained to deal with such cases in family courts.– Sayidaty staff
Al-Ahram, Egypt, November 14
Egypt’s geographical location has played a crucial role throughout its history. Pharaohs were among the first to realize this, as they took advantage of its strategic location and formed one of history’s oldest civilizations. About a century and a half ago, another development occurred: the building of the Suez Canal.
Thousands of Egyptians dug this vital transportation artery, enabling world markets to come together.
Today, some 145 years later, the world has changed.
The progress we once made has been lost, partly due to reasons outside our control, partly due to our lack of vision and imagination for so many years. We failed to turn the canal into a source of economic and social growth for our million of citizens. Instead, we brought it to the point wherein its revenues barely suffice to cover our annual food imports.
And now, after this long recession, the time has come. The new Suez project, aimed at reviving the canal, has been finally introduced. This is a real chance to ensure our future and serve the global economy as a whole. The rejuvenation of the Suez Canal can turn Egypt into a modern version of Hong Kong or Singapore, and once and for all, change our living conditions, education system and health services. Our past has proven that when we join forces, we are capable of achieving great results. Are we ready to put our future to the test? – Al-Ahram editorial staff
Asharq Al-Awsat, London, November 14
Saudi Arabian Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz arrived in the Australian city of Brisbane to participate in the G20 Summit, and was immediately confronted with a storm of questions and speculation regarding the trajectory of oil prices worldwide, as related to Iran, Russia and the US.
At this year’s G20 meeting, which brings together leaders of the 20 largest world economies, representatives have been particularly concerned with the politics behind oil prices. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest oil exporter, is not a fan of mixing oil and politics.
Realizing the livelihoods of its people depend on oil, it views such politics as a dangerous game that might threaten the kingdom’s future. Therefore, the prince was quick to deny accusations that Saudi Arabia deliberately lowered oil prices to harm Russia and Iran, or in order to battle US oil exports. Instead, he cited “market powers” as behind the constant decrease in oil prices – which have reached an all-time low of $80 a barrel.
Riyadh understands the world market for oil has changed: the US has shifted away from oil imports to - wards oil exports, China is on a constant search for oil, and many marginal countries have recently discovered oil reserves. In order to ensure future economic well-being and domestic stability, Saudi Arabia cannot afford to risk the market of its biggest natural resource.
Whatever the reason for the fluctuating oil prices, the kingdom views oil as an immensely precious resource that should not be politicized or tampered with.– Abdul Rahman al-Rashid