Hot off the Arab press 453213

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

A cafe employee smokes a water pipe while waiting for customers in the Red Sea resort of Sharm e-Sheikh, in November, 2015 (photo credit: REUTERS)
A cafe employee smokes a water pipe while waiting for customers in the Red Sea resort of Sharm e-Sheikh, in November, 2015
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Russian airliner and the future of Egyptian tourism
Al-Anba, Kuwait, April 30
The Egyptian tourism industry is still suffering from the billions of dollars lost since the downing of a Russian airliner in October 2015, which brought to a halt all commercial flights to Sharm e-Sheikh. Very few tourists have since visited the Sinai Peninsula, putting hotel and resort owners out of business. Sadly, the victims themselves, the Egyptian tourism workers, are those being punished for crimes committed by others.
Yet this was not the case in other incidents of aviation disasters.
In December 1988, a bomb on a Pan Am flight caused it to crash over the Scottish city of Lockerbie, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members on board. The investigation revealed that the bomb came from a suitcase that was loaded onto the plane in Malta, only to be later transferred to the Pan Am flight to London. Despite the fact that the plane took off from Heathrow, flights to and from London continued as usual. Fingers were not pointed at British officials, and the British tourism industry did not suffer from boycotts.
This incident shows that it is not only possible, but also likely, that a bomb loaded onto an aircraft in one airport can explode after a takeoff from another. It corroborates the Egyptian authorities’ claim that the bomb on the Russian plane was not planted in Sharm e-Sheikh, but rather made its way onboard from Russia.
Even the investigation carried out by international experts following the crash supported this claim, after it revealed that the bomb was stored underneath the aircraft’s tail – a remote area deep inside the cargo compartment. Thus, it becomes highly unlikely that Egyptian terrorists managed, within less than an hour of layover, to smuggle the bomb into the airport, load it onto the plane, clear the cargo compartment of other suitcases, place it underneath the tail, and leave the scene unnoticed.
Yet, for an unexplainable reason, Egyptian airport workers were immediately blamed. This double standard should concern all of us, but most importantly, it should concern security officials in Cairo International Airport.
Hundreds of flights arrive to Cairo daily from Gulf capitals, where screening methods and technologies might be looser. These countries must cooperate to screen every handbag and every piece of cargo loaded onto their planes, even for short-distance flights within the Egypt and the Gulf. Egypt cannot risk facing another aviation disaster. It is one thing to halt the flow of airplanes into Sharm A-Sheikh. It is a much bigger problem to completely seal Egypt off to incoming passengers. — Sami al-Nassaf
The Destruction of Aleppo – until when?
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, April 30
Aleppo is one of Syria’s biggest cities, and it has been under constant bombardment in recent weeks. On any given day, it is targeted not only by Assad’s forces, but also by Russian warplanes flying over Syria.
The chosen targets are not accidental: hospitals, clinics, schools, and civilian homes. All of these left the city’s population in a dire situation. People are not even attempting to rescue their loved ones from underneath the rubble, since the intensity of the attacks does not permit one to step outside his or her shelter.
So far, hundreds of people have died – mostly women and children. Even those who want to flee cannot do so, as the roads surrounding the city have been completely shut down or damaged beyond repair.
What is most striking about this terrible situation is the complacency of world actors. The United Nations reneged on each and every one of its guarantees, and did not deliver any humanitarian assistance to the besieged population. The United States has been watching the destruction from afar, while refusing to send troops to the region. Turkish forces are bombing Kurdish targets on Turkey’s borders. Gulf States refuse to take any action as their brethren are killed in the hands of the Islamic State.
What is most absurd is that since the signing of the cease-fire agreement, more people have died in Syria each day. This confirms the belief that negotiations are achieving nothing but support of Assad’s regime. The international community is not only standing idle. It is actually making the situation on the ground much, much worse. – Abd al-Rahman Rashed
One More Extension
Al-Nahar, Lebanon, April 29
The political deadlock in Lebanon is entering its third year. Since May 2014, no consensus has been reached by the Lebanese parliament regarding the identity of our next president.
What is most frustrating about this situation is that the so-called “dialogue” between political parties is not based on reason or logic, but rather on narrow political interests. At the end of the day, it is the Lebanese public – which, at this point, has completely lost faith in its leaders – that pays the price. No one is willing to make concessions for the sake of political stability.
Every party works to promote its own individual interests.
In the meantime, our state falls into disorder and dysfunction.
However, there is a way to move forward. By now, our political leaders have realized that no solution will be found without all parties working together to make concessions. Even Hezbollah, with its strong military power, came to this understanding a long time ago.
Therefore, members of parliament must make their discussions on this issue public, allowing the Lebanese public to judge who’s at fault. Whoever impedes the process of electing a new president will be made publicly known to all.
All too often we hear the calls for “just one more extension.”
Enough is enough. Let us finally elect a president and work to stabilize our political system.– Naila Tawini
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