Newspaper Review: Nobel Peace Prize to first Arab woman hailed; US Afghan war criticised

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UAE newspaper review

Today’s newspapers are filled with news and photographs of Yemeni democracy rights activist, Tawakul Karman, who received the Nobel Peace Prize and become the first Arab woman to be awarded the often controversial award.

The National published a giant photograph on its front page recalling how Yemenis reacted skeptically when she organised a protest march of just 40 people against the deeply unpopular Saleh regime two years ago.

Khaleej Times front page headline said: “Nobel power to women” along with publishing the photographs and profiles of two other Liberian women who shared the peace prize with the Yemeni activist.

Gulf News quoted the 32-year-old mother of three children as saying that she did not nominate herself for the peace prize and was surprised when she heard about the news in her Change Square tent in central Sanaa. “I dedicate my prize to all freedom seekers. I dedicate it to all Yemenis who preferred to make their revolution peaceful by facing the snipers with flowers,” she said in a statement.

REGIONAL UPRISINGS

Both Khaleej Times and The National reported heavy fighting in Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte where fighters allied to the new Libyan government are battling hard to capture the last remaining stronghold.

The National’s foreign correspondent said fighting concentrated on the outskirts of the city with civilians streaming out of the city amid intense bombardment. “Today we will finish it. God willing today we will capture Sirte,” The National quoted NTC commander Colonel Ahmed Al Obeidi as saying.

Gulf News reported the murder of Meshaal Temo, a Kurdish rights activist and opposition spokesman, carried out by four masked gunmen who stormed his residence in Qamishli, Syria. Nine other civilians were also killed by security forces when they took part in anti-Assad regime demonstrations across Syria.

The paper also published a statement issued by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in which he clearly asked the Syrian government to reform or leave. He also urged that action must come out from the Syrian people and not from NATO or individual European countries.

EDITORIALS

UAE newspapers unanimously expressed their dissatisfaction over the war in Afghanistan and criticised different sides of the conflict.

In its editorial titled “Ten wasted years in Afghanistan”, Gulf News said NATO’s misadventure in Central Asia needs a political end and not a military victory. The editor insisted that US President Barack Obama is shatteringly innocent of the reality on the ground and termed as ‘bizarre’ speech on US national TV in which he said: “We take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding. Fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm’s way. And even as there will be dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance. These long wars will come to a responsible end.”

The editor said the US president is disturbingly wrong to say that the tide of war is receding, the light of secure peace can be seen and that the war is coming to an end. “After 10 years it is terrible that NATO politicians are allowing NATO generals to dictate political policy and to insist that they can win through force,” the editorial declared.

Khaleej Times said the decade-long war is far from over and Afghanistan stands at a critical juncture. The editor mentioned the ongoing tensions between the US and Pakistan as both coalition partners exchange hot and cold statements and accuse each other of undermining peace and stability of Afghanistan. “The most significant thing to remember is that a stable Afghanistan will not come about by dragging the war into other spheres. More significant is to learn to balance political negotiations with the same insurgents that are being militarily engaged with,” the editorial concluded.

By Moign Khawaja ~ Editor – Arabian Gazette

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