Kuwait's Al Ra'y daily carried an opinion piece by Sami al Zubeidi who wrote: "Journalists are not entitled to assume the role of historians, for if they were to, they would be twisting history's neck to exploit it in serving their preconceived ideas. This is exactly what Egyptian journalist Muhammad Hasanayn Haikal did, for he took over the role of a historian and exploited the documents he possessed to serve his extremely narrow perception and attack Jordanian historical symbols, as though he wanted to save the honour of the Nasserite era which was soiled with the mud of the 1967 defeat. "In the end," the author wrote, "Haikal's positions did not come as a surprise, considering he has always tried to expand the base of those responsible for the great defeat, even though history was decisive enough in judging the entire Nasserite era as being the era of instincts and of words when it was impossible to accomplish anything through war."
The London-based Al Quds al Arabi daily carried a lead editorial that said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently going through a difficult labour, "considering that numerous forces and movements enjoying different opinions, sources and directions are interacting in an unprecedented political and social action. There is thus a liberal movement led by some liberals and modern princes wishing to develop the country to take it out of the state of religious strictness currently controlling its capacities, focusing on unleashing women's freedoms to allow them to partake in the building of the community, assume important positions and drive a car." On the other hand, the paper said, there is another extremely conservative movement led by clergymen resisting this liberal openness and considering it as a divergence away from the prevailing traditional Wahhabi ideology in the country. "Now, the struggle between the conservative and liberal movements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has generated a massive polarisation within the community, and while members of the ruling family are supporting the liberal movement, another wing is supporting the religious conservative movement."
Ibrahime al Amine, chairman of the board of directors for Lebanon's Al Akhbar daily, wrote that the American President Barack Obama's message to Iran and the response presented by the Supreme Guide of the Iranian Revolution Sayyid Ali Khamenei "opens the door to a new period in the American-Iranian confrontation in the region. In this new period, the confrontation might take on a different form and fall in different contexts, but it will continue to carry the same essence and concerns which do not stop at the borders of the two states." Can anyone answer the major questions concerning the American message? al Amine asked. "Is America this deep in trouble? Does Washington feel besieged on all flanks to the extent that it was forced to open a dialogue with those that it wanted to eliminate from the earth?" Al Amine suggested that the real question is: "Will Iran and the factions allied to it exploit this atmosphere to go on an offensive with their own dialogue initiative to reassure their Arab opponents and to break down the wall of sectarianism? Or will the resistance axis resort to more caution and keep its doors locked in front of the western winds?"
Jordan's Al Arab al Yawm carried an article by Rana Sabbagh who noted that a few days ago, Osama bin Laden accused the leaders of the "so-called countries of Arab moderation of collusion with the Crusader-Zionist coalition in the Israeli war on Gaza. He said that the coming attack to liberate Palestine would be launched from Jordan. The author said: "Maybe bin Laden forgot that there are no pillars for al Qa'eda in Jordan or in the West Bank. He forgot the close security cooperation between the United States and the allied Arab and foreign intelligence agencies in their war on terror since the earthquake of September 11, 2001. Everybody has built up experience over the past years. "He also overlooked a set of international changes, which are now working against al Qa'eda. Bin Laden today is closer to someone who is seeking desperately to recreate himself and reinforce his image in the region after his terrorist movement received painful attacks in all of Jordan's neighbouring countries, starting with Iraq, including Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, and ending with Syria."
* Digest compiled by www.mideastwire.com