x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

After 7,000 years, change arrives

An Arabic-language commentator argues that the Pharaonic political culture of rule for life has been ended. Other topics: The trial's effect on Egypt, Iraq's timid diplomacy, and Islamists in Jordan.

Jordan must accept a role for Islamists

Thanks to their political experience, Islamists are aware that their participation in Jordan's current transitional phase is necessary, argued Hussein Al Rawashda in an opinion piece in the Jordanian newspaper Addustour.

Any attempt to exclude them from the political scene might lead to undesirable results, jeopardising any reform efforts.

Islamists have always been part and parcel of the political equation in Jordan, and they have a considerable weight among Jordanians. Known for their loyalty to the nation, they have an open and national political platform.

In recent years, some parties campaigned against them to weaken their position. Some considered them a threat. Islamists then retreated from government and worked on building their internal strength by increasing their popularity among the public.

Recently, there have been some attempts to integrate Islamists into politics, but those remained limited and were driven by short-term interests. Many Islamists forces avoid political initiatives, believing there is not yet a conducive atmosphere for fully engaging in dialogue. They also believe that there are no enough guarantees that they will be "partners" and not just "auxiliaries".

Resuming dialogue with Islamists on equal terms will help achieve a national consensus and address the public's demands.

Iraq's timid response to attack from Iran

Kurdistan province has been under shelling by Iranian artillery, causing the death of three people and displacing hundreds of families, wrote Fayan Farouq in an commentary for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.

The Iranians claimed they were pursuing members of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK).

It is strange that Iraq did not respond immediately to such incidents. The response came late, when the government formed a fact-finding committee to check the affected places. And this came only after some pressure exerted by the public through protests and through Iraqi and international media. Most comments described the Iranian incursion as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and a severe threat to the lives of citizens.

It is ridiculous to set up a fact-probing committee to inquire about what happened to Iraqis in Kurdistan, knowing that the Iranians admitted they had entered Iraqi territory. In any case, the government should not need anything more than the reports of its own local representatives.

Iraqi diplomacy and the parliament were also impotent in this regard. This leads us to think of how weak Iraqi policy towards Iran is, which has for long obstructed the course of a democratic evolution in Iraq.

This weak Iraqi diplomacy costs the country dearly, as successive governments have failed to handle relations with the neighbours appropriately.

Egyptians shake off 7,000 years of history

In Egypt time is normally measured in centuries, but Wednesday marked a major moment that broke with what has been recorded on the Nile River for more than 7,000 years, observed columnist Stea Nourredine in the Lebanese daily Assafir.

Over centuries, settlements along the Nile River have always produced Pharaonic models of ruling. This concept has formed the Egyptian character, which evolved over generations, to accept a strong central government, which drew its strength from the great river and from domination of the riches it brings.

Through the use of a feudal system, rulers have been able to enforce their control on the land and people while ensuring the flow of wealth to their palaces.

Until yesterday, this distinctive and long-lived Egyptian character started to dissolve for good. The old rule of the game was: that a king remained king and a president a president; only death or a coup or a revolution could change the regime.

Wednesday was, however, a precedent. It was the first time Egyptians could behold a former ruler, still alive, brought to court for trial.

At this moment, a new Egyptian character was born, one that will gradually free itself from the authoritarian burden of 7,000 years.

It was a moment for Egyptians to turn their backs on the tyrannical Pharaoh culture and embrace something new.

Mubarak trial likely to boost confidence

Cairo captured the attention of the media with the start of the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and his sons and top aides, remarked the Qatari newspaper Al Watan in its lead article.

This marks an important step toward a new political system in Egypt.

It was the moment that people have awaited since the success of the revolution early this year.

Under the provisional government in both its military and civilian branches, Egyptians are, however, looking forward to applying principles of justice to all those who are found guilty of perpetrating various crimes, whether corruption or killing people.

The way the first hearing was conducted made many feel confident about the integrity of the Egyptian judiciary.

The Court was committed to transparency, an important step that will help build a state of law after long decades of injustice and corrupt institutions.

The trial, as followed by observers in Cairo on Wednesday, is just a beginning of a process of law and justice in state affairs.

It is likely to inaugurate a new political phase that will encourage Egyptians to feel confident about the honesty of their future leaders.



* Digest complied by Mostapha El Mouloudi