Israel's provocative air raid on Sudan sends a message to Khartoum, Egypt and African states
Mystery still surrounds the Israeli raid against an "alleged" arms plant in Khartoum: the Israeli government has not admitted responsibility, and the Sudanese government only reported that two were killed in the air raid, threatening unspecified retaliation, the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi said in an editorial.
Many reports about this issue are leaking into the Israeli media.
One said the bombing targeted a shipment of advanced weaponry from Iran, including long-range missiles, that was crossing Sudan on the way to Gaza.
Another suggested that the raid was practical training in preparation for an attack on Iran, given the 1,900km distance between Israel and Khartoum and the need for mid-air refuelling.
The first of these accounts rings hollow, the paper said. Why should such a shipment be in a factory and not in the airport or Port Sudan or any other city?
The second explanation also needs further examination, because Israel could use the Mediterranean Sea for long-range training, and has a record of doing such training exercises jointly with European countries, the editorial observed.
The Khartoum government was probably the target behind the air raid, and probably Egypt as well. The Israeli aircraft that took off from occupied Palestine flew near two Arab countries - Egypt and Saudi Arabia - before reaching Sudan.
"Israel also seeks to send a message to African countries controlling the Nile River's sources, particularly Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda," the paper went on. This message is "that Israel is not far away, and can stand by them in case of a conflict with the downstream country, Egypt, or the midstream country, Sudan, over redistribution of the river's water," the editorial said.
"We cannot say where and when Sudan will strike back. But the retaliation will certainly be delayed, as Sudan faces immense regional and western pressure, especially in Darfur where a western conspiracy is under way to split it from Sudan, and on the southern borders with the newborn South Sudan."
The newspaper said Sudan will probably reply by providing greater support, and facilitating arms smuggling, for militant groups in the Gaza Strip.
"This raid has not revealed how strong Israel is. Its strength is already a known fact. It has shown its growing concern over mounting threats to its security and stability following the loss of its strategic ally Hosni Mubarak, and its inability to sort out the issues of Iran's nuclear programme and Hizbollah," the editorial went on.
Israel bombarded what it claimed was an arms shipment from Sudan heading towards Gaza, but the attack on Sudan is a provocation not only of Sudan but of all Arab countries. And so they must not remain inactive, the newspaper concluded.
'Lack of diligence' in EU report on UAE
"We were extremely shocked by the European Parliament's recent stance on the UAE - and not merely because it was critical of the Emirates," wrote Mohammed Al Hammadi, an Emirati journalist, in yesterday's edition of the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper Al Ittihad.
It was the lack of diligence in data collection that was most shocking, coming from an institution "that we thought was a model of meticulous parliamentary process", he said.
An EU Parliament resolution this week criticised the UAE's human rights record, calling on the country to respect the rights of prisoners, women and migrant workers. The Federal National Council dismissed the resolution as "baseless" and "lacking objectivity".
As for the more-than-60 prisoners on trial on charges of devising plans to undermine the UAE's national security, the columnist said the EU Parliament should show more respect for the UAE's judicial system.
"The European Parliament … ought to respect the judicial authority in the UAE and not intervene in a case that is still in court," he said. "Ans since the EU Parliament claimed that torture was involved, it must present evidence of this."
Greater effort to get an accurate picture of the human rights situation in the UAE could have helped EU parliamentarians avoid their "colossal blunder", he said.
What's behind cut-off of gas flow to Jordan?
In recent weeks, without any real or convincing justification, Egypt stopped pumping gas to Jordan, noted Tariq Al Homayed, editor of the London-based newspaper Asharq Al Awsat. This happened despite binding agreements between Cairo and Oman.
This week, Egyptian sources have said the gas flow would resume. But why was it interrupted in the first place? the editor asked. "There were no security reasons for such a measure."
To complicate matters, figures close to the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan reportedly offered to mediate between Amman and Cairo. "This behaviour is an alarming indicator of the shape relationships among Arab countries may take in the future. It sounds the alarm about the way the Brotherhood is managing its power in the region," he wrote.
Targeting the Jordanian kingdom at this time and on such a crucial issue is worrisome.
It is no secret that the Brotherhood in Jordan is attempting to drag the country into the Arab Spring club.
The interruption of gas pumping may have been aimed at causing an internal crisis by stirring public opinion.
The unjustified provocation is a message to everyone, especially to Gulf states that are keen to protect Jordan's security and stability, the writer concluded.
* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk