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September 1, 2010

Alif

As usual, “the Americans did it”
Reporting about an air crash near Islamabad involving a private airline, Pakistan’s Nawai-Waqt said that the flight crashed because it had been hijacked by two Blackwater commandos, who intended to ram it into Pakistan’s Kahuta nuclear plant.

The newspaper cites an anonymous Pakistani civil aviation official, who said that these circumstances were well known to Pakistan’s leaders, who have chosen to hide the truth from the citizens. The article indicates that the pilot of the ill-fated airline, Pervez Iqbal Chaudhry was a devout Muslim who resisted the Blackwater commandos’ orders to fly into the Kahuta nuclear plant, and instead chose to crash his plane into Margalla Hills.

Kahuta is only a few minutes away by air from Islamabad and that Margalla Hills are a no-fly zone. The article suggests that the truth behind the plane’s crash will be revealed once the last 30 minutes of conversations in the plane’s cockpit from the plane’s recorder are analysed.

Cordoba House
Weighing in on the controversial Islamic centre project in New York city, Manar al-Shorbaji criticises US politician Newt Gingrich for attacking not just radical Islam but also Islamic Sharia. In Egypt’s al-Misr al-Youm, she says that it would be a mistake to dismiss Mr Gingrich’s comments as having no weight in the United States, warning that he might choose to announce his candidacy to run against Mr. Obama in 2012. Ms al-Shorbaji says that US neocons have waged a perpetual war against those they consider their enemies—in the beginning, this was against communism, and with the fall of the USSR, the target is Islam. She states that Mr Gingrich’s arguments are fallacious and dangerous, and that he is new using the Cordoba House (which seeks to build a mosque, two blocks from where the World Trade Center stood in New York City) to fuel hatred of American Muslims. She argues that while she supports religious freedom, she never quite understood the demands of some American Muslims to build a mosque in that area of the city. She believes that this will further marginalise the American Muslim community and allow right-wing politicians such as Mr. Gingrich to gain popularity in the country. The writer says that communal disharmony will only grow further were Mr Gingrich to ever assume the office of president.

Criticising Cameron
Commenting on David Cameron’s comments in Bangalore, Pakistan’s Daily Express says that American and British leaders have a tendency of going to India and speaking India’s “language,” but when they come to Pakistan, they say something else. Its editorial reminds its readers that Pakistan has played a pivotal role in confronting terrorism in the region, for which it has played a heavy price. However, it says, the West continues to demand that Pakistan fight terrorism, without confronting the root cause of the problem, which is Jammu and Kashmir. The editorial blames Britain as being the reason why the Kashmir problem exists today, and feels that if London so chooses, it could resolve the issue between India and Pakistan.

The editorial is in agreement with the foreign ministry’s statements indicating that Pakistan has confronted terrorists and condemned terrorism in all its forms, and that Mr Cameron’s comments were unacceptable. It suggests that both the United States and Britain show the same enthusiasm for resolving regional issues such as Kashmir as they do for blaming Pakistan for not doing enough to confront terrorism.

Squeezing Lebanon
The UAE’s al-Bayan has criticised the United States’ decision to deny weapons earlier promised to Lebanon, because of the latter’s recent border conflict with Israel. The paper argues that Israel’s decision to not respect Lebanese sovereignty resulted in a brief exchange of fire between the two nations. However, only Lebanon’s funds were frozen until the United States determined to what extent Hizbollah was involved in the incident. It argues that Washington’s position could have been acceptable, had the party involved in the conflict with Israel been the Hizbollah. This, the editorial says, was never the case, and it is clear that only the Lebanese army was involved in the conflict. It says this is confirmed by the presence in that region of international forces supervising the implementation of UN resolutions.

Washington’s hasty decision to cut off aid to Lebanon without ascertaining the facts has added to tensions. The editorial comments that Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s prime minister, had in fact always insisted that the United States be involved in resolving its issues, despite resistance to this idea from some countries in the region. The decision, therefore, to freeze military aid will promote anger and set those individuals trying to bring peace to the region up to fail, the editorial concludes.


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