Talal Salman, editor in chief of Lebanon's independent leftist newspaper As Safir, wrote an ironic article saying that it might be time to redefine "independence" in order to clarify that foreign occupation might be a factor that helps it.
The US-Iraq treaty rewards aggression
Talal Salman, editor in chief of Lebanon's independent leftist newspaper As Safir, wrote an ironic article saying that it might be time to redefine "independence" in order to clarify that foreign occupation might be a factor that helps it. "A simple choice was forced on the Iraqis under the American yoke: either a series of never-ending civil wars between the various parties, tribes, ethnicities, religions and sects, or an American "military presence" to safeguard Iraqi national dignity!" he wrote. US voters punished the Bush administration for its occupation of Iraq. "As for the Iraqi political class, which was brought to power by the occupation, it opposes the American voters as it wants the American soldiers to stay put," Salman wrote. "All those in power today in Iraq under the American occupation are equally responsible for the [security] treaty and no Arab or Kurd or Sunni or Shi'i can say otherwise. This is the biggest proof that the only thing all those Iraqi politicians agree on is the treaty with the occupation!"
"Algerian President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika managed last week to amend the constitution and got the parliament to ratify the amendments," Adlan Maddi, an Algerian journalist, wrote in Lebanon's independent pro-opposition newspaper Al Akhbar. Bouteflika lifted the two-term restriction on the presidency. "This amendment highlights the president's desire for a third term in office. The amendment also created the office of prime minister and deputy prime minister while annulling parliamentary supervision of the government's actions," he wrote. An activist in the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights said the president had centralised power to a dangerous extent. The League recorded in a 2003 report the president had breached the constitution 63 times. "President Bouteflika has always complained that the 1996 constitution restrained his presidential power," Maddi wrote. "Opposition parties considered that the president's decision to resort to the parliament, instead of the people, to ratify the constitutional amendments is a severe violation of the constitution.
The Palestinian-owned Al Quds al Arabi daily ran a report by Khalid al Hamadi saying: "The acuteness of the political rhetoric between the authority and the opposition in Yemen rose in the last two days, generating fears vis-a-vis the future of the coming parliamentary elections, which should be held in April." Both sides stress the need to hold the elections on time, but the escalating disputes between them are pushing Yemen in the opposite direction, he wrote. Political observers told the UK-based paper the Yemeni situation was heading toward two options. "Either the authority will decide to hold the election on time without the participation of the opposition, a thing which would be politically stupid because it will cost the authority its constitutional legitimacy," Al Hamadi reported. "Or the opposition will decide to boycott the elections in what constitutes political suicide that would cost it its opposition role and freeze this role during the coming electoral stage." The two main players seem indifferent toward the seriousness of the situation, despite widespread fears the country will be pitched into the unknown.
Jordan's pro-government Ad Dustour daily ran an opinion piece by Muhammad Hassan al Tall saying the Jordanian government has relinquishing its role to a group of traders, leaving the people orphaned. "What happened yesterday in Amman and in all the areas and villages of Jordan in terms of the intentional hiding of oil by most gas station owners, while the government stood by and watched, pointed to a major flaw," he wrote. "The people yesterday saw sights they had only seen on satellite channels in underdeveloped countries where chaos is prevailing. No one ever expected this would happen to us, in a state of law and institutions." The government has urged the traders to lower the prices of oil and consumer goods, but not attempted to force them, al-Tall said. "For our part, we call on the government to hurriedly regain control to restore normality before things get out of hand. It should uphold the popularity it has earned throughout the last few months, after the people felt it was connected to their concerns, before they go back to missing the days of martial law." *Digest compiled by www.mideastwire.com