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August 1, 2010

Alif

Twitter trouble
CNN had sacked Octavia Nasr, its senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs, for condoling the passing away of Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah (whom many consider the spiritual force behind Hizbollah).

In al-Youm as-Sabah (Egypt) Said Shuaib opines that many in the Arab would now question if the concept of “freedom of the press” in the West is in fact “a big lie.” He cautions against such arguments, however, saying that there is no such thing as absolute freedom and that media houses have policies on coverage, which employees of that media house must follow. However, he argues, since Ms Nasr chose to express her opinions on Twitter, rather than on CNN, it would be unreasonable to expect her to seek permission from CNN before publishing her message. Mr Shauib says that a journalist should be held accountable for his or her journalism, and not for personal opinions expressed.

He contends that CNN would not have terminated Ms Nasr had she instead criticised Mr. Fadlallah on Twitter. He makes the case for his issue to be taken up by the Arab Journalists’ Union and all Arab trade unions and civil society organisations. Shuaib believes that Arab journalists must not idly stand by while the rights of one of their own are violated.

Keeping Hizbollah
an-Nahar’s (Lebanon) Emile Khoury rejects calls for the integration of Hizbollah under the armed forces of Lebanon. Hizbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has resisted political pressure calling for such an integration.

The writer opines that just as Hamas has resisted integrating with Palestine’s security forces under the command of Fatah, so too must Hizbollah resist pressure to integrate with Lebanon’s defence forces. Mr Khoury urges political parties in Lebanon to evolve a consensus that would keep Hizbollah separate from the armed forces of the state because its role as a resistance force would be seriously jeopardised were Israel to launch another military campaign against Lebanon.

The writer says that Syria rightly rejected an agreement with Israel that would require it to prevent the passage of arms and ammunition to Hizbollah through its territory; similarly, talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel over the initial two-state solution failed when Israel suggested that the Palestinian Authority work to disband Hamas. Mr Khoury contends that Hamas and Hizballah will continue to exist so long as Israel continues its “illegal” occupation of Palestine and Southern Lebanon. He urges political parties to realise that Israel does not seek peace with its neighbours; he points out that despite withdrawing from areas that it had previously occupied, Israel continued its attacks in Palestine and Southern Lebanon.

The Americans did it
In his July 5 opinion piece in Nawa-i-Waqt (Pakistan), Mohammad Ajmal Niazi asks if the terrorists gained anything by attacking the Data Sahib Darbar shrine in Lahore, which resulted in over fifty deaths. The writer argues that it was now clear that terrorism is being spread globally and in the Muslim world by the United States.

First, Mr Niazi contents, the US exploited differences between Shias and Sunnis in Iraq, who later turned on the Americans. The US, the writer feels, has in the process, lost several battles against Muslims. The hartals against the United States, India and Israel following the Data Darbar attacks are sufficient to make them aware of prevailing sentiments in Pakistan. He emphasises that Maulana Muhammad Hanif Jalandhari (a cleric of the Deobandi Wifaq ul-Madaris al-Arabiya Pakistan) and Maulala Muhammad Hanif Tayyab (Nizam-e-Mustafa party chief and Barelvi cleric) have both indicated that Shias and Sunnis, Barelvis and Deobandis were united in their condemnation of the Data Darbar attacks.

Mr Niazi contends that it was only after the attacks that the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, Imran Khan and celebrities decided to visit the shrine. In his view, the people have risen against the terrorists, which was proof enough to indicate that the designs of Pakistan’s enemies had failed. He is encouraged by the fact that the youth of Pakistan, which had been criticised for distancing itself from from the affairs of the state, showed up in numbers to offer namaz at the shrine in the aftermath of the attacks.

The attacks on Data Darbar were a warning; India, he says, is Pakistan’s enemy, and the United States is not a friend. Those who killed innocent civilians on orders issued by Pakistan’s enemies were not true Muslims and that they should be ashamed of themselves.

Canned edit
In its July 10 editorial, Roznama Ausaf (Pakistan) recaps the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.  It indicates that Pakistan’s foreign ministry had voiced its concern over the situation in Jammu & Kashmir. It also takes note of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s ‘Prime Minister,’ Raja Farooq Haider who urged Pakistan to request a special United Nations Security Council meeting on the on-going events in Jammu & Kashmir.

The editorial suggests that on the one hand, India signed up to combat global terror, but on the other was perpetrating state-sponsored terrorism. It argues that India has continued to oppress the Kashmiri people, in direct defiance of UN resolutions and international human rights laws. Every Kashmiri, it claims, hopes that Kashmir would one day become independent and that India’s crimes and oppression would end.

The editorial regrets that Pakistan’s media, officials and government have not come out strongly enough in opposition to India’s actions. It urges Pakistan’s government to desist from following General Musharraf’s policies on Kashmir. It further urges the government to request a United Nations Security Council meeting on the on-going security situation and asks the government to raise India’s oppression and crimes against Kashmiris on all international forums.

an-Nahar’s Emile Khoury rejects calls for the integration of Hizballah under the armed forces of Lebanon.  He indicates that Hizballah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has resisted political pressure calling for such an integration.  The writer opines that just as Hamas has resisted integrating with Palestine’s security forces under the command of Fatah, so too must Hizballah resist pressure to integrate with Lebanon’s defence forces. Mr. Khoury urges political parties in Lebanon to evolve a consensus that would keep Hizballah separate from the armed forces of the state because Hizballah’s role as a resistance force would be seriously jeopardised were Israel to launch another military campaign against Lebanon. The writer says that Syria rightly rejected an agreement with Israel on the condition that Syria would prevent the passage of arms and ammunition to Hizballah through its territory; similarly, talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel over the initial two-state solution failed when Israel suggested that the Palestinian Authority work to disband Hamas.  The writer contends that Hamas and Hizballah will continue to exist so long as Israel continues its “illegal” occupation of Palestine and Southern Lebanon.  He urges political parties to realize that Israel does not seek peace with its neighbours; he points out that despite withdrawing from areas that it had previously occupied, Israel continued its attacks in Palestine and Southern Lebanon.


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