The London-based Al Quds al Arabi carried a lead editorial that said there is no doubt that interference in Palestinian affairs is "rejected, provided that this rule applies to all other states, whether they are big or small, regional or international, Arab or foreign". However, the paper said, it seems that the head of the authority in Ramallah, Mr Mahmoud Abbas, has another opinion or rather another interpretation of this golden rule.
"Yesterday, during a press conference held in Ramallah as he was receiving the American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mr Abbas called on Iran not to interfere in Palestinian affairs. This talk, or rather this accusation, gave the impression that the American interference in Palestinian domestic affairs was allowed, while any other interference was banned. What was also noticeable however, was that the statements of President Abbas were issued less than three hours prior to the issuance of similar statements by Mrs Clinton, revealing a tight coordination between both sides, making us think that the American secretary dictated these accusations to the Palestinian president.
"We hope that President Abbas will realize this obvious truth after he's done showing admiration to Mrs Clinton and upon the end of his first meeting with her."
The Saudi daily Al Watan carried a lead editorial commenting on the International Criminal Court's decision to issue an arrest warrant against the Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir on charges related to crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. "Even though the leaders of the African Union countries and many Arab leaders expressed their concern and their opposition to the issuance of the arrest warrant against the Sudanese president, taking into consideration the negative repercussions that this decision could have on the Sudanese domestic situation and the African continent, the court decided not to listen to these leaders under the pretext that 'justice' should take its course.
The issue at hand, the paper added, is not about convicting or acquitting someone, but about preserving the security, stability and unity of Sudan, considering that all the information points to the possible emergence of dangerous repercussions on the ground, particularly in Darfur. But the decision also raises another issue: "If the international community really wants to allow justice to take its course and really wishes to get the criminals regardless of their positions, why is it not pursuing the war criminals in Israel who perpetrated crimes before the eyes of the international community?"
Dr Wahid Abdul Majid, a regular columnist for the UAE's Al Ittihad daily, wrote that the mutual visits between Saudi and Syrian officials gave rise to varying expectations about the future of Arab and regional relations in the coming period. "The most optimistic expectations are that a reconciliation is at hand and it will melt all the ice and end the divisions that appeared most clearly during the war on Gaza." In any case, the author continued, the new atmosphere between Riyadh and Damascus has restored hope that the differences that distanced the two countries have now been overcome even though one of them is still being described as a "moderate" while the other is described as a "extremist" in the context of the wider Arab-regional divisions.
"We must discuss here a question that is rarely asked in this context: did Iran cause the Arab-regional divisions, or did it just exploit them and feed them?" The likeliest answer, Abdul Majid said, "is that Iran nourished, with its regional ambitions, the divisions which were started by the Arabs themselves." The Arab order depended for more than a decade on the Egyptian-Saudi-Syrian axis which faced two serious earthquakes: the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, then the war on Iraq.
Saleh Ibrahime Al Tarifi, a regular columnist for Saudi's Okaz daily, wrote that "whenever I read in our newspapers a title that includes the words 'deluded' or 'an alien phenomenon in our society', I feel that our media insists on using this murky term in order to help us avoid looking into the mirror to see ourselves as we truly are, and not as we dream of being."
Whenever some Saudis are arrested in Iraq or any other suspect spot, the titles of the newspapers come out all the same: "a new chapter in the tragedy of the Saudis deluding themselves into going to Iraq". But some of those Saudis have bachelor degrees from our universities, Al-Tarifi said, which means that they are no longer youths and they should have enough maturity to guard against enticements and to distinguish between right and wrong, "except if our universities are producing minds that cannot distinguish between good and evil."
The conclusion, the author continued, is that the first step towards solving any crisis is recognising that there is a crisis and that "we are somewhat responsible for that crisis". * Digest compiled by www.mideastwire.com