After the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the conflict in Central Asia came down to a violent clash between western-funded jihadists and the communist hegemony.
So who really created al Qa'eda?
Now that it is has become clear that al Qa'eda kills more Muslims than so-called "infidels, atheists and snobs of the western world", there is a great necessity to shed light on the phenomenon of violence and terrorism in modern times and determine who benefited from it most, wrote Saleh al Qallab in the pan-Arab daily Asharq al Awsat. During the Cold War, the secret services of West Germany and the US's Central Intelligence Agency created in Pakistan alone more than 50,000 schools, called katateeb, which fostered jihadist ideology with the aim of launching attacks against the Soviet Union by causing Islamic republics within the USSR to turn against it.
But after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, 30 years ago, the conflict in Central Asia became clearer; it came down to a violent clash between western-funded jihadists and the communist hegemony. At that point, the interests of oppressed Muslim communities, willing to staunchly defend their religious beliefs, and those of the US and its allies, who were ready to do anything to break the Soviet Union, were the same. Al Qa'eda was thus a product of that global conflict, and more specifically, the brainchild of the CIA in the Peshawar camps in Pakistan.
"How will Ayatollah Hussein Montazeri be remembered in the annals of history?" asked Saad Mehio in his comment piece for the Emirati newspaper Al Khaleej. His opponents would say, as Ayatollah Khamenei did in his condolence letter, that he had committed a sin by publicly criticising Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989. They would also depict him as stubborn, gullible and too lenient with the opponents of the revolution.
His supporters will claim, as Ayatollah Ghirani did, that he is a "chaste and spotless man" who relinquished the position of successor to the Supreme Leader to preserve his values and principles. "These last attributes, coupled with the fact that the man remained the foremost exponent of human rights, civil liberties and the restricted rule of the Supreme Leader, guarantee that he will remain an icon of integrity to large portions of the Iranian population."
Ayatollah Montazeri always imagined that the system of government in a post-revolution Iran would resemble the one that was created by the Prophet Mohammed in Medina, a system that promotes ethics and justice. "Mr Montazeri was the proverbial idealist who takes part in a revolution - and who subsequently loses his battle against 'the realists' who use the scales of power, not those of justice."
Earlier this week it was rumoured in the Pakistani capital Islamabad that a military coup was in the works, reported Ahmed Amorabi in the Dubai-based newspaper Al Bayan. "The rumour was perhaps false, but there is a lot on the ground to justify it." The rumour mill started spinning right after a court repealed a major decision that had been made by the former Pakistani president Gen Pervez Musharraf to pardon a host of politicians, businessmen and high-ranking officials involved in corruption cases, including Asif Ali Zardari, the current Pakistani president.
Mr Zardari is a key US ally in Pakistan, and this may lead the US administration to try and convince prominent figures in the military to conduct a coup in order to save a valuable partner, the writer argued. This makes sense because a number of top military officials would directly benefit from a major disruption in the country as their names appear on the long list of those accused of corruption. "Indeed, Pakistan is at the crossroads again. The court ruling, which was issued by 16 of the most eminent Pakistani jurists, seems to reflect an increasing trend in popular frustration with the US intelligence and military presence in the country," the writer said.
It looks as if it would be far easier for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to divide Jerusalem or bomb Beirut than release Palestinian detainees. That is how the Israeli newspaper Haaretz ironically described Tel Aviv's inability to reach a compromise with Hamas to bring back the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, according to Mazen Hammad, a commentator at the Qatari daily Al Watan.
Gilad Shalit has preoccupied the Israeli government and public since June 25, 2006, the day he was held hostage by Hamas after a skirmish in the Gaza Strip. The prisoner exchange deal has been stalled for too long now by heated disagreements within the Israeli government over its terms and conditions, pushing the German mediator who has been appointed to facilitate the prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas to set two to three weeks as a deadline for reaching a compromise.
Mainly, the deal is bogged down by Israel's determination to separate 100 to 130 leading Palestinian prisoners from the several hundred who are part of the deal, and deport them to Gaza or elsewhere and bar them from entry to the West Bank. * Digest compiled by Achraf ElBahi @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org