The relationship between Algeria and Tunisia has never been warm, as no single course or destiny united them ever since they gained their independence, the Lebanese daily Annahar observes.
Tunisia and Algeria unite as 'one force'
In the minds of many, the name Algeria resounds with violence and instability, observed the columnist Amine Kamourieh in an opinion article for the Lebanese daily Annahar. As for Tunisia, it has always been thought of as a place for cheap summer vacations. The relationship between the two countries has never been warm, as no single course or destiny united them ever since they gained their independence.
Official warmth has always been missing, either for ideological reasons or simple lack of chemistry between the rulers.
However, the differences between the two countries may be deceiving. There is a crucial common denominator between their peoples who find themselves united today by a popular insurgency and claims for decent livelihood.
The protests in Tunisia and Algeria prove that both countries are united by anger, hope and a phenomenon of self-sacrifice. They also share many aspects: the economic crisis, unemployment and corruption.
People are members of a majority that decided to express its anger against tyrannical regimes that practice oppression and murder to silence their peoples.
The situation in Algeria is reminiscent of the 1988 insurgency that drowned the country in a sea of violence, while the Tunisian escalating protests bring back to mind the events of 1975-1976 that led to the toppling of the former president.
Early retirement hurts human resources
In a comment article for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan, Maysa Rashed Ghadeer wrote that the newspaper is against the early retirement of working Emiratis.
"The UAE still needs to benefit from the expertise of its people and invest in them. We oppose this trend because there is an increasing number of young professionals who apply for retirement across various federal and local departments."
Many of them are still in their thirties with less than 20 years of civil service. Their decision to quit early costs the state dearly, as it perpetuates the trend of relying on expatriates while paying pensions at the same time. The biggest loss is a drain on a valuable expertise that disappears with those departing their jobs. At the peak of their career, they are supposed to help develop their place of work, but not to quit and use their accumulated experience elsewhere.
It is true that the cabinet approved voluntary retirement for those who have spent 30 years in federal departments, yet there are civil servants who resort to ways to justify their departure. Many utilise medical certificates.
This issue needs to be addressed firmly and retirement applications should be processed carefully. Competent authorities should motivate employees by transferring them to other departments or changing the nature of their jobs, but not letting them go for frivolous reasons.
Hamas is not genuine in peace efforts
"Hamas is busy inciting the other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to a truce with Israel in the best interest of the Palestinian people, according to a spokesman of the Islamic movement," observed Abdullah Iskandar in an opinion piece for the London-based newspaper Al Hayat.
This came following the launch of rockets at Israel and clashes with the Israeli army, prompting the latter to threaten to launch a massive military operation in the Strip. This means Hamas has reached the same conclusion as the Palestinian Authority years ago - a situation that is likely to help promote the inter-Palestinian dialogue and eventually national reconciliation.
It was the first time Hamas took this stance regarding Israel in Gaza, but, at the same time, it called other factions to continue resistance against the occupation in the West Bank.
Hamas is not truly pacifying Israel, but seeking by all means to survive in Gaza. In the meantime, the Palestinian Authority will have to implement the security agreement it signed with Israel by chasing factions that might undertake violent actions. This will affect its public image as an ally of Israel if it is involved in massive efforts to suppress operations.
Hamas succeeded once in dragging the Palestinian Authority into open clashes with Palestinian factions, which led to an increase of suicide operations against Israel.
Arabs need successful summit in Baghdad
To recognise Iraq's Arab nature isn't enough; such recognition must be practiced effectively on the ground, observed the columnist Mazen Hammad in the the Qatari daily Al Watan.
The only way to implement this concept is through a collective Arab insistence on holding the ordinary Arab Summit this upcoming March in the Iraqi capital.
This is an opportunity not to be missed if Iraq was to remain an efficient member of the Arab League, especially following a western propaganda aiming to denude Iraq of its Arabism and substitute with a Kurdish identity.
Arab leaders have to convene in Baghdad to discuss the challenges ahead. Threats from terrorist organisations such as al Qa'eda must motivate them to meet in Baghdad rather than intimidate them.
"We are confident that the Iraqi security authorities are capable of setting the ground for a successful summit that would pave the way for the revival of Arab national security,"observed the columnist.
Attending the Baghdad summit might require bold decisions from Arab leaders, especially since non-attendance would translate into a victory for terrorist organisations that have threatened to target members of the Arab League in Baghdad.
Digest compiled by The translation desk