"It is as if we are not suffering enough from the collapse in the property market, the lack of financing, and the evaporation of our money in both the established and young stock markets," wrote, on Sunday, Dr Sayf al Islam Bin Saud Bin Abdul Aziz in his regular column for the Emirati newspaper Al Ittihad. "It is as if all the above problems are not enough for the pirates who stalk our tankers and ships, which carry the lifeblood of the world's economies and of our annual budgets."
According to Abdul Aziz, the Arab countries affected by the pirates have several options. "Either they call for international or Arab intervention, or they send every ship with a bag full of money to pay to the pirates and prevent shipping delays." But an Arab solution is unlikely because the Arab nations have never been able to agree on anything, Abdul-Aziz wrote. "A waste of money, time and effort would be the only result if the Arabs decided to discuss a concerted effort to deal with the pirates."
The Palestinian daily Al Hayat al Jadidah ran an opinion piece by Hassan al Batal this Sunday, praising the Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Sinoura's decision to establish diplomatic relations with the Palestinians. "The timing of the Lebanese diplomatic decision constituted a shrewd gesture, because it was issued on the day of the international decision to partition the land of Palestine," he wrote.
"However, its political timing is also significant, because it would not have been issued had it not been for the Syrian-Lebanese agreement to exchange ambassadors and launch bilateral negotiations aimed at demarcating the border between the two countries." It was no coincidence for the two acts of normalisation affecting Syrian-Lebanese relations and Lebanese-Palestinian relations to proceed in parallel to one another. "As for the future of Syrian-Palestinian normalisation, it will remain in the realm of brotherly political hypocrisy until Damascus stops toying with Palestinian factions and harbouring Fatah al Intifada and Fatah al Islam, as though it was a game."
"Our colleague Dr Khalaf al Harbi condemned in a recent article the revival of tribalism and the tendency to put the tribe above all else, including the country and its unity," Ali Khafif wrote in his regular column for Saudi Arabia's newspaper Okaz on Sunday. "We must continue discussing this issue until the problem is corrected and until loyalty to a tribe and tribal identity returns to its natural borders, which do not supersede the unity of the country or loyalty to it."
The media space given to tribal poetry is one factor that perpetuates tribalism, he wrote. "Thus we now have a whole generation that was raised with a strong link to their tribes. This strengthened their identification with their tribe and weakened their loyalty and sense of belonging to their country, which is a very dangerous development." The existence of citizens who do not belong to any tribe and look down at anything Arab or tribal is another factor. "In both cases, we have the either side feeding on sentiments and emotions that are destructive to the social fabric and weaken national links."
Syria's daily newspaper Teshreen ran an editorial by Ezz al Din Darwich on Sunday warning Barack Obama of the George Bush's insistence on victimising Syria during its last days.
"The conservative and war-obsessed Bush administration, which claims to maintain ties with Heaven, does not want to leave the White House peacefully," he wrote. "One of its top priorities is to punish the countries that resisted its policies and held hawkish positions in the Arab region, namely Syria." That is why the Bush administration is accusing Syria of developing a nuclear programme and trying impose resolutions via the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"In his last days in office, Mr Bush is devoting considerable time to coming up with accusations against those rejecting his policies and imposing them through America's military and economic might in a primitive way that does not match the status the US should assume," Darwich wrote. * Digest compiled from www.mideastdigest.com