The exchange of accusations between Iran's former foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, and the country's president and his spokesmen is especially amusing for observers, as it helps in clarifying the truth about the conflicts among the elite in Iran, observed Tareq al Homayed, the editor-in-chief of London-based daily Asharq al Awsat.
Mr Mottaki, the man whose task was to polish the image of the Iranian regime, recently issued a statement confirming that he wasn't duly notified of his removal from office. He called on the government to "stop lying, as such behaviour doesn't become the Islamic regime and the dignity, culture and modernity of the Iranian people". He further added that he received word of his removal from a Senegalese official during a diplomatic meeting.
However, sources in Iran speculate that the real reason behind Mr Mottaki's discharge was a message he had sent to the Supreme Leader protesting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's appointment of private delegates. Such actions, the letter claimed, undermined the foreign ministry. That message of criticism allegedly led to the decision to remove Mr Mottaki from office.
One wonders if the Iranian president is enjoying more power than the rest of the world is led to believe. "Sources say the events taking place in Iran reveal something much bigger happening behind the scenes."
US-China agreement is a deterrent for war
After one rough week overshadowed by threats of an impending war on the Korean peninsula, Washington found itself on the same page with Beijing, reported the columnist Mazen Hammad in an article for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.
US administration officials state, with a degree of satisfaction, that the Chinese government embraced a plan set up by the US to pressure North Korea into reconciling with South Korea following the artillery attack it recently waged upon it.
Washington believes the Chinese were successful in their efforts to bridle North Korea's aggressiveness, which explains why the North didn't respond to the South's military manoeuvres despite threats by Pyongyang to wage a "holy nuclear war" on the South if they were to conduct manoeuvres with live ammunition.
Americans found proof to the change in Chinese politics in the remarks of the Chinese foreign minister encouraging North and South to a dialogue, which is a clear break from Beijing's previous North Korea-biased reactions.
A rapprochement in views between China and the US also raises hope for a possible resumption of talks between Washington and Pyongyang. Last week's biggest gain is that the Chinese finally realised that matters were about to get out of control and the Koreas were on the verge of a destructive war.
Saudi schoolgirls banned from sports
In a comment on the Saudi Ministry of Education's decision to ban sports for female students in public schools, the columnist Daoud al Sharyan wrote in pan-Arab daily Al Hayat that the girls' sports issue is once again in the limelight. Foreign newspapers published reports about the ministry conducting investigations into infractions by public schools in Jeddah, which organised sporting competitions among female students without prior authorisation.
"The event should have been an opportunity to review the decision to deny Saudi girls the right to practice sports. Instead, it was turned into a medium to consecrate old traditional attitudes."
The ministry tried to mitigate the shock caused by this position, which harms Saudi's image, claiming that the ministry is conducting a serious study aiming to develop new regulations in this respect.
The kingdom has yet to resolve its position in the matter of women's sports. However, a closer look reveals that the kingdom contradicts itself in this matter. Just last August, Saudi Arabia competed in the Equestrian Olympics in Singapore, where the Saudi female contestant Delma Melhes ranked third.
Such ambiguity should end soon, as Saudi Arabia is under pressure from the Olympic Committee which threatens to ban the kingdom from future competitions unless women are allowed to compete.
Iraq's unity guarantees its future
The birth of the new Iraqi cabinet is a big achievement after the strenuous labour during a formation period that lasted nine months, declared the Emirati daily Al Khaleej in its editorial. But the real and durable achievement would be if the cabinet is able to function and fulfil its duties, since the same balances of power that controlled its formation can also control its operations.
Iraq, still suffering from the chaos of occupation, needs colossal efforts to return to its due course: first to end the occupation, then to remove its traces, and lastly to struggle against corruption, internal conflicts and sectarian seditions that are plaguing Iraq.
The cabinet's tasks are far from easy, especially in this period where the entire region teems with crises and challenges which can only be confronted through serious and efficient efforts within Iraq to put an end to internal power conflicts.
Regulating Iraq's internal issues is the strongest deterrent to any intentions to extend occupation under any circumstance. Internal reconciliation would reflect positively on the country's reconstruction and reform programmes.
Iraq's roadmap and future must be drawn by the Iraqis themselves. Will they be up to the task?
* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem