Arab responsibility to relieve Somalia famine
"The humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Horn of Africa, especially in Somalia, needs the international community - specifically Arabs and Muslims - to respond quickly and efficiently to rescue millions from certain death," wrote Barakat Shalatweh in the comment pages of the Emirati Al Khaleej newspaper.
Hunger is threatening the lives of about 12 million people in the Horn of Africa due to a catastrophic drought, the worst in six decades, the writer said. Prices of foodstuffs, which are already in short supply, have gone up 270 per cent. Yet the symptoms of this humanitarian crisis were detected months ago, and shouts for help ignored.
"Reports from the refugee camps in Somalia and Kenya are enough to shake up our benumbed sense of empathy … scenes of heartbroken mothers holding emaciated children who look more dead than alive," the writer said.
"If we have ever laid claim to the spirit of Arab solidarity, Islamic fraternity and human values, we must not rest before fulfilling our obligation towards the hungry populations in eastern Africa."
"Humanitarian organisations are playing a shy role so far", he said, while the crisis is already turning into full-blown famine in many districts. The Arab League has pledged to disburse funds to relieve those affected without further delay. Much more is still needed.
Syrian regime wallows in spiralling delusions
The actions of Bashar Al Assad's regime continue to confirm that the guardians of the political establishment in Damascus are suffering from delusions, opined Mohammed al Rumaihi, a columnist with the London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper.
Among other delusions, the regime still maintains that there are guerrillas hiding in towns and villages, opening fire at Syrian army forces and protesters alike. Before such a claim is believed, a simple question must be asked, the writer said. "Why don't these guerrillas ever fire at pro-regime demonstrations?"
Mr Al Assad regime's second delusion lies in thinking that the "police solution" will eventually bear fruit - a claim that contradicts history. "At best, a police solution buys time, but it always fails ultimately. Anyone could cite dozens of cases of past failures when the people were handled in that manner."
A third delusion is the regime's conviction that "Syria is different" from Tunisia and Egypt. In fact, the clampdowns on freedoms in both countries before their revolutions was no different from the one that has been enforced in Syria.
A fourth delusion consists in the government's belief that the opposition seeks to polarise the country's sects. "That couldn't be farther from the truth," the writer said. Syrians from all sects, even Alawis, take part in the protests.
Israel housing protests reflect poor priorities
"Tens of thousands of Israelis hit the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest against rising prices of housing, restaurants, fuel and other commodities," reported Aziz Abu Sara in a commentary for Al Quds newspaper.
Some placards held by the demonstrators drew parallels between the Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, the ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and the currently embattled Syrian president Bashar Al Assad. Some protesters urged Mr Netanyahu to resign.
The Israeli people are paying the price for their right-wing government's determination to continue the occupation. "For it's not only the Palestinians who suffer from the occupation; it's just that they pay the price first-hand," the writer said.
Indeed, in modern-day Israel, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Yet many Israelis still do not realise how their country's occupation of Palestinian land ends up affecting their own livelihoods, he noted.
"What I find staggering is … the Israeli people's inability to see the links between their internal problems and the occupation. While Israel continues to focus on building new settlements, Israeli cities suffer from a sharp shortage in housing supply.
"The Israeli government prefers to build in the West Bank than in Tel Aviv. Israelis endure their government's fixation on settlements at the expense of other regions."
Egypt's military shows its decades-old power
Hosni Mubarak was ousted. He was hospitalised. Members of his family and staff were arrested. But it is his phantom that continues to rule Egypt, which will not return to stability any time soon, observed Rajeh Al Khouri in an opinion article for the Lebanese Annahar daily.
The people who thought that they had toppled the old regime are watching as the regime reconstructs itself with minor modifications, retaining the army as its backbone.
"Do you remember how powerful the military was in pre-Erdogan Turkey? That's how things might end up in Egypt," the writer suggested. "The balances of power is this; the military that has been ruling Egypt since 1952 isn't merely a strong bloc that suddenly woke up to the protests of Tahrir Square. It can't be expected to simply hand the power to youngsters."
Thousands of protesters marched from the famous liberation square towards the ministry of defence and 309 protesters were injured in confrontations with the authorities in Abbassiya Square. Even worse is the mutual accusations of sedition between the army and the April 6 Movement. It's obvious that the unity between the people and the army has evaporated.
Egypt's spring may have entered a long winter of disappointment.
* Digest compiled by Translation desk