Bomb attempts to increase sectarian violence were foiled by Lebanon's resilient national unity
August was an exceptionally bloody month for Lebanon, columnist Masoud Daher wrote in the Dubai-based Arabic daily Al Bayan.
A lot of blood was shed in three separate bomb explosions, the first of which occurred in the Hizbollah stronghold in Beirut's southern suburb with a predominantly Shiite population. That one killed 27 people and injured hundreds.
The twin bombs that followed a week later were set off minutes apart in the city of Tripoli, 70km from the capital Beirut and with a predominantly Sunni population, with a devastating toll of 47 killed and hundreds more injured.
The immediate consensus among the Lebanese people was that the same perpetrator was behind both crimes and that the real objective was to aggravate sectarian ill-feeling between Lebanon's Sunnis and Shiites.
A recent resurgence of sectarian tensions in Lebanon has been fuelled by the war in Syria, where the president, Bashar Al Assad, is fighting a largely Sunni-led rebellion.
Both Hizbollah and radical Sunni groups in Lebanon have sent fighters over the border to support opposing sides in Syria, the writer noted.
The bomb crimes backfired. Surprisingly, the reactions of the Lebanese, mainly afflicted families and religious and political leaders in both areas, were highly reasonable and foiled the perpetrators' scheme. Leadership in both sects abstained from pointing fingers at any party within the small country.
In Beirut's southern suburb and in Tripoli, martyrs were buried quietly and nationwide mourning was observed. No angry protests or retaliatory actions followed.
"Despite staggering fatalities and extensive devastation in Beirut and Tripoli, leaders and the general public realised that the ultimate purpose of the blasts was to bring destruction to Lebanon," the writer opined.
Popular reactions to both tragedies were remarkable as the families of victims were the first to hold on to national unity and coexistence among all sects.
Fifteen years of sectarian strife have taught the Lebanese their lesson the hard way. People don't want to see a return of bloody confrontations. Despite the losses, they come together in times of calamity.
The protection of the principles of coexistence is the sole guarantee of safety for the Lebanese. Many regional and international powers seek to bring instability to Lebanon to serve outsiders' schemes, "mainly to guarantee the security of Israel", he wrote.
The perpetrators' goal is to spread the fire of sectarian strife throughout the Arab region to fragment it and set up a new order in the Middle East," the writer added.
But, despite the blasts, the Lebanese remained united.
Putin isn't prepared to support Assad fully
On Wednesday, a day before the start of the G20 Summit in Russia, President Vladimir Putin surprised the world by announcing that he does not rule out backing a US-led military operation in Syria - if the Kremlin gets concrete proof that a chemical attack was committed by Bashar Al Assad's government against civilians last month.
In interpretation of the Russian leader's statements, Tariq Al Homayed, a contributing columnist with the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat wrote: "Putin's statements reveal that Moscow didn't entirely change its position, but that the Russians aren't prepared to go too far behind Mr Al Assad's suicide operation."
Moscow is accelerating efforts to reach a political deal on Syria with the West, namely with the US president, Barack Obama. Mr Putin will use the G20 Summit that began yesterday to attempt to persuade western powers to negotiate over Syria.
Mr Putin wanted to make it clear that he isn't prepared to follow Mr Al Assad till the end. He seems to be seeking a middle position for his country, while working on entrenching differences within Europe over the feasibility of a military strike.
"Mr Putin's statements don't matter much. What matters are actions. Moscow wouldn't have made such statements if it weren't for the serious international plans for a military strike in Syria," the writer said.
Al Jazeera is finally banned in Egypt
On Tuesday an Egyptian administrative court banned the Egyptian-based affiliate of Qatar's Al Jazeera news network from broadcasting. Three other stations were also banned.
Egypt's Al Ahram daily wrote in its editorial on Wednesday: "The decision warms the hearts of many who have been calling for it for some time. The channel's performance is provocative and its efforts to spread sedition and enmity among Egyptians are deliberate, as it insists on being a mouthpiece for the Brotherhood in Egypt."
When Al Jazeera launched, many hoped that it would serve as a respectable professional media platform, but it has deviated significantly from that course. Politics mean it seeks only sedition, as witnessed previously in other Arab countries.
Some may argue that the ban constitutes a breach of freedom and democracy, but every freedom exists within a regulatory framework. There is no such thing as absolute freedom even in world's biggest democracies.
This may also be a good opportunity for media officials in Egypt to review their own outlets and make them more attractive to viewers. After all, people followed Al Jazeera because they found it to be faster in broadcasting news and closer to viewers in various provinces.
* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem