- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Daily Star

Political get-together

BEIRUT — Speaker Nabih Berri appropriately dubbed Monday’s session of consultations among rival Lebanese politicians an “ice breaker.” The leaders, many of whom have shown each other the cold shoulder for the past five months, did not produce any major new agreements, apart from agreeing to refrain from their favorite pastime of insulting one another in the media.

But it matters relatively little that they failed to announce any accords. More crucial than any decisions that the leaders make is the fact that they are actually engaging in a collective decision-making process.

… The speaker ought to apply his initiative in another realm in order for the country to really reap rewards. The fact that it is still an unusual exercise for members of parliament to actually engage in a process of decision-making illustrates how dysfunctional the Lebanese political system has become.

The Times

Sentencing terrorists

LONDON — The 40-year sentence imposed … on Dhiren Barot, the Muslim convert who masterminded plans for mass murder on a horrendous scale, is one of the longest terms handed down for non-capital offenses. It reflects not only the gravity of the appalling acts that this senior al Qaeda operative was planning, his callous glee at the scale of death and injury and his cunning in elaborating plans to maim and terrify thousands of people in Britain and America.

The threat posed by Barot is hard to envisage. … His expertise and professionalism in surveying the nine London hotels, three stations, synagogues, banks and Underground lines targeted for destruction is matched only by his sadism in contemplating how he could increase the panic and human suffering caused by exploding gas cylinders, napalm, nails and a radiation bomb.

It is vital, however, that the threat posed by such men is understood. Had it not been for a determined effort by this newspaper, together with the [British Broadcasting Corp.] and the Associated Press, no detail of what Barot was planning or of his sentence could have been made public.


Saddam Hussein verdict

TAMPERE, Finland — The most essential question is clear. Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein deserves strict punishment for the cruel treatment of his own country’s citizens. The verdict and sentence were expected. The Shi’ite Muslims, who were placed in a tight spot during the rule of Saddam — who mostly represented the Sunnis — were mostly satisfied by Saddam’s death sentence. …

The massacre of Dujail would be sufficient grounds for such a harsh sentence … and if this were not enough for some, Saddam is being accused in another court of killing 50,000 Kurds in northern Iraq in 1987-88. Even though Saddam deserved to stand trial, the court case which just ended was not totally faultless. And, from a European perspective, one might ask whether a death sentence was a politically wise solution, even if it fulfills the demands of Iraqi law. Hanging could turn Saddam into a long-term martyr.

This Day

On plane crashes

LAGOS, Nigeria — Frank Nweke Jr. put it in its proper but grim perspective when he said it has been his unpleasant duty as minister of information to announce four fatal plane crashes in just one year. Of course, the minister was referring to ADC’s flight 053, which took off from the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport, Abuja, and crashed only five kilometers later at Iddo village, killing some 96 passengers on board, with only seven survivors. …

As it were, Nigeria has become something of a nation in perpetual mourning. And as with previous crashes, the government has started to make the motions all over again. The operating license of the ADC airline has been promptly seized, the minister of aviation made to swap offices with his culture counterpart, and the president has promised to get to the bottom of this particular air disaster, ostensibly with a view to averting future ones.

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