The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said in a recent speech in Isfahan that the wars the US and its allies have waged in the Middle East over the years are religiously motivated, wrote Tariq al Homayed, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab daily Asharq al Awsat. "The untold reason why they have been launching all those attacks is based on their conviction that a man from Prophet Mohammed's lineage will appear one day in the region and destroy all the world's oppressors," the editor wrote, quoting Mr Ahmadinejad. "And Iran has documents to prove that."
"Is this not the peak of political hallucinations?" the editor asked. In fact, this is not the first time Iran's leaders have resorted to such hallucinatory statements. Mr Ahmadinejad has talked before about some sort of halo that he felt was surrounding him while he was in New York a couple years ago. The fact that all this sensationalism on the part of the Iranian system is coupled with constant threats to the country's opposition and systematic insulation from the outside world calls for pessimism when it comes to the possibility of solving the issue of Iran's nuclear programme, or any other regional issues that involve Tehran including Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
Europe was born once again after the Lisbon Treaty came into effect early this month, commented Nassif Hitti in the opinion section of the Emirati newspaper Al Bayan. The Lisbon Treaty came to bolster the institutional personality of the European Union as an international political bloc, granting more power to the parliament and other EU agencies. But, more importantly, the treaty guarantees the EU a stable presidency for two and a half years and a more powerful foreign affairs arm.
Still, the selection of the EU president - who is a former prime minister of Belgium - and the foreign affairs secretary - who is not a well-known British official - confirms three main conclusions: first, the EU member states did not want high-profile personalities who may eclipse the individual leaders of each state. Second, the German-French duo have played a key role in the election of the two new officials, which actually marks the relaunch of the joint leadership of Berlin and Paris after a period of relatively cool relations between the two capitals. Third, Europe wants a trial period to test the EU's new modus operandi and assuage the apprehensions of some of its member states. So, as much as the Lisbon Treaty was a prerequisite for a stronger Europe in world affairs, there is still much political will needed among Europeans for a landmark transformation.
This time around, none of those Muslim activists who have taken it upon themselves to launch boycott campaigns on the internet against Switzerland - because its people voted in favour of a ban on building minarets in the country - will see their efforts bring any results, wrote Khalaf al Harbi in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida.
"Calling on the Muslim masses to stop buying Swiss products does not make sense. Switzerland exports deluxe watches, premium cheeses and refined chocolates, all of which are products that do not belong on the list of the poor Muslim's list of basic needs." Yes, this is the bitter truth: the overwhelming majority of Muslims have actually been boycotting Swiss products for decades due to poverty not heroism. All the Swiss people did was go out and take part in a referendum, which is their natural way of taking a national decision. "Popular votes in the Muslim world, on the other hand, take place every five years and the citizen's options are limited to a yes." Muslims must realise that the glory of Islam is conditioned by the dignity of its followers, and fighting for a Muslim's dignity in the land of Islam is far more important than a couple of minarets in Switzerland.
The Sudanese capital of Khartoum will wake up to one of two scenarios: one of serenity and the other of havoc, depending on the government's reaction to a demonstration organised by the opposition in front of the parliament, wrote Hashem Karrar in the comment pages of the Qatari daily Al Watan.
The opposition is set to call on the government to pass a law on democratic change, amend the elections law, the penal code and the criminal procedure law and make sure that all effective legislation in the country is compliant with peace treaties and international conventions. The Sudanese constitution grants the right to organise peaceful demonstrations and voice grievances. On that basis the Sudanese government must guarantee the safe progress of the demonstration.
Similarly, the opposition must make sure the demonstrators stay under control and avoid rabble-rousing slogans. "Sudan is going through a major and complex crisis these days, and this cannot be helped by another crisis. Everyone will be looking at Khartoum, waiting to see if it'll show proof of good sense or an inclination for chaos, violence and bloodshed." * Digest compiled by Achraf A El Bahi