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POLITICS

Hürriyet - Turkey | 27/03/2015

Only democracy helps against religious wars

Yet another religious war is flaring up in the Middle East in Yemen, the conservative daily Hürriyet laments: "The basic problem is that the Muslim world is still stuck in the Middle Ages in the 21st century. … The Sunni doctrine sees other religions as abnormal and applies many historical rules of Islamic law as if they were divine commandments. … At the same time the Shiite rebellion in Yemen testifies to a radicalisation and militarisation similar to that in the Sunni world. … It's clear that the legacy of Muslim law and religious doctrine needs to be examined and updated. … If people, regardless of their religion, aren't equal before the law, how can peaceful coexistence be possible? The prerequisite for this is clearly democracy and a secular rule of law." (27/03/2015)

Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy | 27/03/2015

The West is on the wrong side in Yemen

The military coalition led by Saudi Arabia continued its attacks against Houthi rebels in Yemen on Thursday night. The liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore laments that the West has taken sides with Riyadh in the conflict: "This is about the strategic control of the region: on the one hand the world's biggest oil supplier, supported by the monarchies on the Gulf and the Arab League. On the other the ayatollahs' Iran: sponsor of the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen and ally of Assad's regime, the government in Baghdad and Hizbollah in Lebanon. The latter is an axis of resistance against the [IS] caliphate, al-Qaeda and the Sunni regimes. … In theory the West should support the Shiites, who have taken sides against al-Qaeda and the caliphate, but instead it is backing the Sunni powers for reasons that are all too clear: from them we acquire our oil and gas, and to them we sell our weapons; they are participants and investors in our markets." (27/03/2015)

Corriere del Ticino - Switzerland | 27/03/2015

Egypt can be force for order in Middle East

The states of the Arab League plan to discuss the creation of a joint permanent military force at their meeting on Saturday in Sharm el-Sheikh. Egypt's President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi has presented a draft agreement to this effect. The liberal daily Corriere del Ticino welcomes the idea: "The West, shocked by the Islamist extremism on its own doorstep, is desperately searching for a new custodian of the law in the Middle East. … Despite his semi-dictatorial demeanour such a man exists. He is sitting in Cairo, his name is Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi and he is the president of Egypt. Al-Sisi's Egypt wants to assume leadership of an Arab coalition against the [IS] caliphate. Together with Jordan it wants to build up an anti-extremist Islamic front - in the certainty that behind the IS's atrocities is the terrible idea of a Sharia dictatorship so cruel that even Khamenei's Iran would seem open and tolerant in comparison." (27/03/2015)

Jutarnji List - Croatia | 27/03/2015

Nuclear deterrent still works today

Putin's statement that Russia would have defended Crimea with nuclear weapons if necessary is to be understood as sabre-rattling - and doesn't change the fact that just threatening each other with the deployment of nuclear weapons has prevented the war of all wars up to now, the liberal daily Jutarnij List explains: "The nuclear balance [between the US and Russia] has only recently been achieved, with between 7,000 and 8,000 projectiles of varying calibre on both sides. … The knowledge that each side has the possibility to destroy the other still serves as the only basis for a balance based on deterrence and is the guarantee that we won't go under after all. … We shouldn't bring this bleak scenario out of balance; not with such empty threats either. … The global nuclear arsenal is the biggest paper tiger in contemporary history, and as such we should be good and leave it alone." (27/03/2015)

Le Jeudi - Luxembourg | 26/03/2015

France's left could offer voters more

The French left did not lose as many votes as the polls had predicted in the first round of the departmental elections on Sunday. The left-liberal weekly Le Jeudi explains how the Socialists can win back voters in future: "The events after the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the rallies in which four million people took part showed that republican values still have meaning for us. They created a dynamism of which the left should take advantage . ... It remains fragmented, however, caught up in divisions that are real enough but which could easily be overcome with a little common sense. Social issues, environmental protection, the distribution of wealth and work are all elements that should allow the left to get back on its feet and give new hope to all those who've expressed their anger by voting for the FN." (26/03/2015)

Corriere della Sera - Italy | 26/03/2015

Open power struggle in the AKP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticised on the weekend the government's move towards closer cooperation with the pro-Kurdish left-wing HDP. The power struggle within the Islamic-conservative ruling AKP party is now out in the open, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera notes: "On the one side you have sultan Erdoğan, intent on securing the (two-thirds) majority he needs in the parliamentary elections to change the constitution and introduce the presidential system that will guarantee him absolute power. On the other side you have his ex-protégée, current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who is increasingly annoyed by the head of state's grab for power. … The power struggle is now out in the open and intensified by the fact that polls predict ebbing support for the AKP and the possibility of it falling short of an absolute majority on June 7. Its period of dominance seems to be drawing to an end." (26/03/2015)

Sme - Slovakia | 26/03/2015

Europe's phone number is Angela Merkel's

Henry Kissinger allegedly once asked: "If I want to call Europe, who do I call? Today the clear answer to that question is Angel Merkel, the liberal daily Sme concludes: "If US President Barack Obama, his Ukrainian colleague Poroshenko or Athens' prime minister Alexis Tsipras need to call someone in Europe, they know which number to dial - Angela Merkel's. At the very latest since the negotiations on Ukraine for the Minsk II agreement, it's clear to everyone who calls the shots in Europe. … Europe indeed needs a respected figure like the Americans or Chinese have in their presidents - and that figure is Merkel. … Admittedly Germany can be pretty ruthless in its new role. Up to now Europe has lived more from its institutions than from any national leader. The matter could be elegantly resolved if at some point Merkel assumed a European post. Then Europe's phone number would remain the same." (26/03/2015)

Público - Portugal | 25/03/2015

Yemen conflict a time bomb for Arab Peninsula

Saudi Arabian units began attacking Houthi rebels' positions in Yemen on Wednesday night. The latter had closed in on the city of Aden in southern Yemen, to which the Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi had fled to a month ago. The liberal daily Público warns that the conflict could spread: "The chaotic situation in the country resulting from the rapid advance of the rebels could culminate in an indirect confrontation between Saudi Arabia (which supports the Hadi government) and Iran (which supports the Houthi rebels). If Hadi's government fails and the country is left at the mercy of rival branches of radical terrorism we will witness a regional conflict that could trigger a war. And that is a threat the world must not ignore." (25/03/2015)

The Irish Times - Ireland | 25/03/2015

Brexit a danger for Dublin-Belfast relations

The debate about whether Britain should exit the EU has flared up once more in the run-up to the UK's general election on May 7. A Brexit would have serious consequences for Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic - and Dublin should do all it can to prevent this, the left-liberal daily The Irish Times urges: "Imagine the political implications of reimposing Border controls and changing the way in which crime and terrorism are jointly dealt with. ... If the UK voted to leave the EU and Scotland then subsequently voted to rejoin, resulting in the break-up of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland would be profoundly unsettled politically and economically. The role which Ireland can play in the British debate is modest but we should play it with imagination and daring in the interests of the people of our State and of Northern Ireland." (25/03/2015)

Financial Times - United Kingdom | 25/03/2015

Kiev must get its oligarchs under control

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko removed oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky from the post of governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region on Wednesday. This should just be the start, the conservative daily Financial Times comments: "Any campaign to bring the oligarchs to heel, however, must go well beyond Mr Kolomoisky. It needs to ensure that all those who benefited most from the way Ukraine was run in the past both stick to the rules in future and contribute to the costs of rebuilding. ... Whatever the military challenges, creating a stable, prosperous country remains Ukraine's most potent long-term weapon in defending its statehood against Moscow's determination to undermine it." (25/03/2015)


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