Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas (Photo: Reuters)
Talk of Palestinian reconciliation turns boring
Writing in Al Arabiya, Hasan Abu Nimah takes issue with both sides of the Palestinian divide over their inability to resolve their differences.
The harsh reality is that under the current circumstances of both Hamas and Fateh, any possible reconciliation would be a deceiving gloss hiding underneath layers of faltering tactics, misguided policies and short-term calculations.
Explosive Dust-Up Over Iran Policy
A recent conference in New York exposed serious divisions within Israel over how best to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions and even at times turned quite nasty, writes J.J. Goldberg in the Forward.
The day’s most vituperative exchange, by most accounts, came during an afternoon discussion when [former Mossad chief Meir] Dagan called [Likud’s Environmental Affairs Minister Gilad] Erdan “a liar” and Erdan accused Dagan of sabotaging Israeli security. They had been asked to comment on a furor that erupted in Israel two days earlier, when Yuval Diskin, a former Shin Bet domestic security chief, scathingly attacked the policies and personal character of Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Dagan replied that Diskin is “a very serious man” who spoke from deep conviction and experience. Erdan countered that Diskin was acting out a personal grudge. That remark prompted the “liar”–“sabotage” exchange.
Arab Spring: now begins the education of Islamist politicians
The Islamist parties who have risen to power in the wake of the Arab Spring have to prove themselves capable of ruling or their ascent will be short-lived, writes Graham E. Fuller in Christian Science Monitor.
Islamists are being elected into office and will be assuming the daunting policy problems of their neglected societies. The voting public is excited at the change and will give them a grace period to start improving things. But that period will be limited. Islamists can’t go on winning elections on the basis of pious religious slogans or even anti-Westernism (assuming the West is no longer there with boots on the ground). Islamists, too, will eventually be chucked out of office if they can’t deliver the goods. And they know it. They will have to make hard policy decisions on complex issues – or they too will soon lose their hard-acquired luster.
Tanks, Jets or Scholarships?
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times visits students in the Arab world who are benefitting from American-funded educational programs.
If America wants to connect with the real aspirations of these revolutions, it will expand to other Arab awakening countries the $13.5 million U.S. Agency for International Development scholarship program begun in Lebanon… Iran is building dams and roads around Lebanon, decorated with “Thank You, Iran” signs. But no one is standing in line here to go to Tehran University. They still line up for American scholarships, though — one requirement of which is that winners have to do community service, so we are also helping to build better citizens.
Can Obama Run on His Foreign-Policy Record?
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Fouad Ajami takes Obama to task for his foreign policy decisions in an election year.
The American people demand more by way of a foreign policy than the killing of bin Laden and the hunting down of Somali pirates. But this administration has done its best to take the vital matter of America’s place and interest in the foreign world off the board. The strategic retreats, the concessions made to Iran and Syria, the lack of faith in liberty’s place in the order of nations have been hidden and brushed aside.