The Algerian Echourouq al-Yawm daily carried a piece by Miloud Ben Ammar, who argued that the outcome of the presidential elections in Algeria has been decided even before the presentation of all the candidacy files. The candidates, he added, have already aligned in two categories: the president, independent candidate Abdul Aziz Bouteflika, and all the other candidates, heads of parties and those who are referred to by the Algerian public as being "rabbit candidates". It also looks as if no one, whether from the political class or the people, will be surprised by the results which will be announced by the constitutional council before the end of the week, except maybe at the level of the exclusion of some candidates due to their non-compliance with legal conditions. In light of this scenario, the Algerian voters, he said, will not be very surprised to see who the winning horse is on the eve of April 9. "For the third time in a row, it seems that the decision-making circles in Algeria are aware of these facts, including the president of the republic, himself which is why he has been concentrating in his appearances on one thing: pushing towards securing the widest participation in these elections."
In the Jordanian daily Al-Arab al-Yawm, Fahed Al-Khitan argued that the Jordanian government listens to external voices and provides deaf ears to internal ones. "No Jordanian government has ever embarked on reformative steps in the economy and politics unless this reform was a demand by foreign sides or as a condition to receive aid and loans. This track can be seen in Jordanian policy ever since the nineties." After the economic crisis and the bankruptcy of the central bank, he explained, Jordan was subjected to economic reform imposed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Successive governments were committed to implement the reform programmes drafted by foreign sides and they would not have implemented them had it not been for the crisis and the external pressures. "In order to face external pressures, the governments in Jordan and the Arab world used to raise the slogan of reform at home, but that was only ink on paper, because these governments realise that it is always easy to contain internal pressures, while it is hard to contain external ones because they are linked to aid and political roles."
The Iraqi Al-Sabah newspaper carried an opinion piece by Sa'id Nehme that explored the challenges facing the Iraqi workers' movement. "Today, six years after the occupation and the toppling of the regime, what has changed? Were the violated rights of this class restored? Were the freedoms of the unions unleashed? Did the violations perpetrated against this class cease and were the workers allowed to join union organisations based on the international agreements of the Labour Organisation which Iraq is part of? Definitely not." When the sectarian ruling council was founded, he said, Decision No 3 of 2004 was issued, disbanding all former professional organisations and unions and securing the formation of temporary committees until the elections are held. Afterwards, the ill-reputed Decision 16 was issued during that same year, stipulating that formation of the general syndicates union in Iraq "headed by the legitimate and legal representative of the working class, Rassem al-Awadi", thereby excluding all the other unions and syndicates from this process and depriving them of this right. "How did he become the representative of the working class," Nehme asked? "Were elections held with the participation of all the workers? Certainly not."
"If Benyamin Netanyahu succeeds in getting enough votes to form the Israeli government, then the Arabs have only one option left to them: they have to wash their faces to erase all the remnants of the dreams about peace because the man is as clear as sunlight and is a perfect Zionist," wrote Khalaf Al-Harbi, a regular columnist for the Saudi newspaper Okaz. "He believes that the Palestinians have no right to their stolen land and he cannot countenance any political solution less than expelling them to Jordan. The Arabs, Al-Harbi said, "will discover that Netanyahu is a very candid and practical man because he has not come to talk about the lost rights of the Palestinians and the international plans for peace since he has already decided in regards to this issue. He is only concerned with working to transform the oil rich Arab world into an Israeli playground." A new plan "must start with reinforcing the Arab reconciliation effort and the effort to heal the Palestinian divisions. The Arabs must also think long and had about returning to support the Palestinian resistance." *Digest compiled by www.mideastwire.com