Alif

The flotilla card
Fawwad Subhi writes a provocative article in Palestine’s Firas Press about the recent Gaza flotilla raid. He says that the Arabs and Muslims have reacted with anger against Israel’s raid—Egypt and Jordan have recalled their ambassadors and some have demanded that Egypt not send to the people of Palestine food or fuel supplies, but rather its army to force Israel to break the Gaza embargo.

However, the writer says, many of the protesters don’t know that it would have been possible to avoid this incident, had the organisers of the flotilla accepted Egypt’s offer to supply their aid to Gaza residents via the Rafah border crossing. This was rejected because the goal all along was to exploit and media-manage the incident to project Israel as a monster. Mr Subhi asks why the organisers rejected Egypt’s offer and insisted, instead, in transferring supplies via the Mediterranean Sea. He questions if there was a connection between the incident and the internal disputes between Turkey’s prime minister on the one hand, and the army and opposition on the other. Mr Subhi asks whether there was an attempt by Turkey to draw focus away from its own internal discord by inflaming religious passions of Arabs and Muslims against a “common enemy.”  The writer sympathises with the people of Gaza and hopes that the siege will end some day; however, he attacks Hamas, calling its actions “more cruel and vicious” than those of Israel. He suggests that Hamas has hurt the people of Gaza, socially, intellectually and economically; he urges Gazans to dismiss the Hamas leadership and to reinstate the “legitimate” President Mahmoud Abbas, through a united Palestine.

Tilt meter
In its editorial on June 5th, Pakistan’s Nawa-i-waqt opposes statements made by Hillary Clinton that the United States was committed to considering India’s membership in the UN Security Council. The editorial says that India and the US share common views on terrorism and that there is now a significant defence partnership between the two countries. It notes that President Obama set aside protocol to visit the State Department to personally speak to the Indian delegation while such a welcome wasn’t accorded to previous Pakistani delegations.

At the same time, the editorial points out, Mr Obama has called India a responsible power, while preaching Pakistan to “do more” on the issue of terrorism. The editorial opines that the India-US alliance has grave consequences in the neighbourhood and to the Muslim Ummah. It points out that were India to become a member of the UN Security Council, Pakistan’s narrative on Kashmir and its ability to push for a plebiscite would be compromised. The editorial suggests that India has been opposed to the state of Pakistan from the very beginning and has relentlessly pursued its vision for an  “Akhand Bharat.” The India-US nuclear deal and India’s import of state-of-the art military technology can mean nothing but trouble for the rest of the world. The paper calls for the Muslim world to unite against the venomous alliance of India, US and Israel.

Taliban? where?
A Roznama Ausaf editorial criticises Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik for suggesting that the Taliban had overrun South Punjab. The editorial says that extremism is something that all of Pakistan is confronting; it suggests that the term “Taliban” isn’t defined by identity—Taliban are not Punjabi, Sindhi or Balochi—it is a mindset, that both the members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda subscribe to. The editorial clarifies that the people of South Punjab are mostly subscribers of the Barelvi school of thought, whose ideology does not tie what that of the Taliban.

The editorial disagrees with Mr Malik on the issue of the presence of the Taliban in South Punjab—it asks that if the Taliban was indeed present in South Punjab, why hadn’t the Interior Minister taken action against them in the past, why haven’t the alleged “Taliban” been arrested and why haven’t weapons and suicide vests ever been recovered from the region.

The paper fully supports Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s objection to Mr. Malik’s comments. It argues that the Taliban were present even during the Afghanistan wars, although they were of several nationalities. The United States, the article suggests, then tried to distinguish between the “good” Taliban and “bad” Taliban and attempted to reconcile with the “good” Taliban. Mr Malik is advised not to issue such statements and Mr Sharif is cast as a patriot and a visionary.  The editorial concludes by saying that those individuals who toe the American line are more interested in US interests than in Pakistan’s interests.

Stabilising Iraq
An article in UAE’s al-Bayan newspaper tackles the challenges facing Iraq’s new parliament. It says that that several challenges face the new parliament, including electing the next Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The article comments that sensitivities of the various political parties and key challenges are well known, but they must all be dealt with, as Iraq is battling a surge in violence in the absence of governance.

It suggests that Iraq cannot afford further conflict and that it has already paid a significant price as a result of the war.  The article points out that Iraq is about to enter a critical phase, with the withdrawal of 40,000 US combat forces next September. If previous elections are an indicator, the article suggests, then it could be months before a new government is formed in Iraq. The article urges all the political parties to work together towards national reconciliation so that a new government can be formed and begin to function as soon as possible.