"One cannot dissociate the Israeli military exercises that started yesterday from other events taking place in the region, especially the forthcoming visit of the US president Barack Obama to Egypt and Riyadh," reported the leading article of the Saudi newspaper Al Watan. The right-wing government in Israel expects that the tense relations between Tel Aviv and Washington may grow worse. It also expects that its Washington lobby is less likely to produce support for its uncompromising policy.
"Contrary to some beliefs that Israel exerts pressure on US foreign policy decisions, the turn of events suggests that Israel is no more than the echo of US policy. As such, Arabs are now in a better position to consolidate their ties with Americans concerns over many issues, particularly the Arab peace initiative and the right of return of Palestinian refugees. "There are deep differences between the US president and the Israeli prime minister on many aspects of the peace process that impede the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital." While Israel is still counting on the support of former US officials, and especially the neoconservatives, now is the right time for Arabs to benefit from President Obama's administration, as it is more considerate of the Arab peace plan and serious about stability in the region.
"It is paradoxical to see the remarkably calm response of the Syrians and the overreaction of Iranians following the deadly blast in a mosque in Zahedan. Iran vehemently accused the Americans for being behind the bombing," wrote Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief of the London-based daily Al Sharq al Awsat.
While Iran lashed out against the United States, accusing the latter for "messing with" its security, Syria praised the US president Barack Obama and called for removing obstacles in the relationship between the two countries. "The change in Syrian discourse dates back to the meeting of Organisation of the Islamic Conference ministers of foreign affairs held in Damascus, where president Bashar al-Assad said: 'We should not permit our sovereignty and integrity to be violated, but we need the support of our friends and brothers all over the world.'"
This shift of attitude has been reinforced by statements of US officials who consider Syria serious in its pursuit of peace. The position would weaken the Iranian plans of regional hegemony. An American presidential adviser, Martin Indyk, said that Syria today is more flexible than it had been before, adding that if Israel recognised Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Syria would be ready to negotiate all other pending issues.
The Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai al Aam carried an opinion piece by Mesfir al Naees who wrote: "Regardless of the opinions about the new Kuwaiti government, one must stay optimistic. As long as the government persuades the parliament about its development programmes, it is most likely to receive wide support." The next few days are expected to see some kind of "push and pull" situation between the legislative and executive powers, which is normal. "Yet what is unacceptable from both parties is to engage once more in an empty debate at the expense of the national interest. It is of no importance to make a fuss about names. The focus, rather, should be on projects and output.
"It is a new opportunity for the government and the parliament alike to co-operate for the sake of Kuwait. They need to do so in order for the country to achieve development in all areas of life. Kuwaitis are truly fed up by successive political crises, regardless of who instigated them. What matters, indeed, is a grace period for the new government so that it can prove itself."
"The reunification of the Republic of Yemen 19 years ago was then a remarkable event as it marked a new political reality that Arabs had long yearned for," wrote Subhi Zuaytar in a comment piece that appeared in the Saudi daily Al Watan. "Unfortunately, though the event was a decisive milestone in the country's history, the joy was short lived. Very soon afterwards, the streets of Aden were transformed again into a battlefield between brothers and compatriots."
And even though the advocates of unity were able to control the situation eventually, the seeds of secession remained intact. "Separatists, opportunists as they are, have resurrected themselves anew. This time their pretext is the unbalanced development between different parts of the country. This is nothing but a baseless claim. "What happened this week both in Dalea and Hadramout regions confirmed a basic fact that separatists are still lurking everywhere in the country. The government therefore has the obligation to address secessionists with a strong fist by swiftly acting to immobilise them."
* Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi email@example.com