Recent attacks in the south against the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon were carried out by forces determined to ruin a fragile peace, comments Randa Takyeddine in pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat. The attacks are couter-intuitive. When Israel first launched its war against Lebanon in 2006, France was the principal lobbyist calling for a halt in aggressions against its Arab ally. It was also the first ally to send its troops south under UN resolution 1701.
It's clear, then, that the recent attack demonstrates a willingness of opposition parties including Hizbollah, to derail the existing security agreement between the Lebanese Minister of Interior and his French counterpart. The anti-French camp also asserts that President Sarkozy fomented a deal with Israel in the eventuality of a war against Lebanon. The attacks mark an attempt to isolate the country from its western friends and change its course in favour of a nuclear Iran. The recent struggle may also be a warning against the forthcoming findings of the interational inquiry into the late prime minister Rafiq Hariri's assassination. Either way, attacks against France and the West are futile. More violence would only ratchet up the instability and uncertainty in a country where peace is long-overdue.
The Arab region is caught in the midst of major discord between heavy-weight Muslim clerics over national security issues, London-based Al Quds Al Arabi said in an editorial. Many of Egypt's state-sanctioned scholars have weighed in with legal opinions or "fatwas" that serve and justify the interests of the regime. A recent, noteworthy fatwa was issued by Dr Yusuf al Qardawi, chairman of the International Association of Muslim Scholars, who is also known for adopting controversial stances.
Several days ago, he issued a definitive condemnation of all calls to visit the Muslim sacred sites of Al Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem whilst it remains under Israeli occupation. He asserted that such visits are a disgrace and give legitimacy to occupying forces. His legal opinion came in response to the announcement by the Egyptian Minister of Religious Affairs as to his request for an Israeli visa to visit Jerusalem in support of the Palestinian cause. The minister intends to go as a representative of Egypt, a state with strong ties to Israel on political, economic and diplomatic levels. Visits by official and religious scholars to the occupied territories endorse the occupation and depict Israel as a tolerance state, despite its plans to destroy the holy mosque, concludes the article.
It should come as no surprise that the International Criminal Court, under intense international pressure, has issued a new warrant against the Sudanese president Omar al Bashir. The ruling falls in line with policies pursued by most superpowers, led by the US, towards what many call rogue states, noted the Emirati newspaper, Akhbar Al Khaleej.
Towards the end of the Bush regime, the Arab world believed that the US would roll back its neoconservative strategy once the hawks had left the White House. But changes have merely occurred at the level of rhetoric, with no change in core policy. The new administration has shown that nothing has really changed at the top. Iraq, for example, is still under occupation and Afghanistan is enduring a tragic war, without end in sight. Uncertainty continues to underscore US approaches in the Middle East.
As part of its opaque policy agenda, Washington has pursued what appears to be a legal avenue by asking president al Bashir to appear before the ICC to respond to charges of war crimes brought against him. As such, we cannot trust the ICC's to be fair, as it continues to purposefully ignore the brutal crimes of occupation committed by the Israelis in the Palestinian Territories. In sum, this leads us to believe that the warrant is solely politically driven and meant to serve US interests in Sudan, the piece concludes.
Israel's military investigation into its naval assault on the Freedom Flotilla came close to recommending that its government should reward the very troops that fired at activists with medals of merit, commented Rajeh al Khouri in the Lebanese Annahar, following the report's publication two days ago. It was never in doubt that an Israeli committee headed by a retired army general would acquit the criminals. It is alarming, however, that the report's summary also described the crime as commendable - in view of what it claims was falsified evidence of activists attacking the commando fighters.
Reserve Major General Giora Eiland asserted that Navy Commando soldiers operated properly, with professionalism, bravery and resourcefulness and displayed proper decision making in the report. The inquiry further determined that the use of live fire was justified and the entire operation was worthwhile. The report stands in insolent regard for an ugly crime that shocked the world, and is clearly devoid of any remorse. Other investigations are jointly underway in Israel with foreign observers, but the result's won't be more satisfying.
* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem email@example.com