- The Washington Times - Friday, February 2, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Times of Zambia

Lost chance to lead AU

LUSAKA, Zambia — For the second time now, Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir has missed the chance to take over the mantle as chairman of the African Union. Instead, Ghanaian President John Kufuor, is the new AU boss.

Mr. Bashir has been denied the top post for the second time because of the protracted conflict in the Darfur region. This, in our view, is the needed pressure by the continental body to get Khartoum more committed to ending one of Africa’s embarrassing conflicts.

Far too many people have been killed. … Mr. Bashir’s government has been accused of backing killer militias called the Janjaweed. Though his administration has persistently denied the allegations, independent groups including aid agencies have floated evidence suggesting that the Janjaweed are state-backed.

As has been argued before, Africa needs to lead the way toward resolving some of the continent’s wars. It does not make sense to glorify people working against African unity or the principles of the AU.


Eilat suicide bombing

JERUSALEM — The suicide bombing in Eilat on Monday was a painful reminder of a reality that has been pushed to the periphery of public debate.

… The Shin Bet and the Israeli Defense Force have had great success in preventing attacks, to the point that this success is almost taken for granted, but there is no happy end to every case in this constant struggle. The Israel-Egypt border is porous, for the use of both terrorists and criminals, and no Israeli community is immune to attack — either by Katyusha rockets or by suicide bombers.

Nonetheless, this does not mean that the hastily reached conclusion that it is necessary to invest billions of shekels in a border fence, with sophisticated electronic equipment, from Eilat to Kerem Shalom, a total of 240 kilometers [150 miles] across desert and mountainous terrain, should be adopted.

… Overall, the Israeli security services have managed to limit the number of both attacks and casualties. They employ the proper tactics, and the proof of this is the decreasing frequency of the attacks.

Khaleej Times

Israeli cluster bombs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — It seems an Amnesty International report criticizing Israel for using cluster bombs in Lebanon’s civilian areas in the final days of last summer’s conflict with Hezbollah was right. After looking into the matter, the U.S. State Department has forwarded a preliminary report to Congress.

And the word coming from Washington indicates that Israel is “likely” to have violated terms of its arms deals with the former, which puts restrictions on the use of such bombs.

… As the U.S. Congress mulls an appropriate course of action, it will no doubt bear in mind that at $2 billion per annum, America is by far Israel’s biggest military donor. As such, much of the responsibility of Israel’s excesses comes to eventually rest on Uncle Sam’s shoulders. That case is made stronger since Washington has been Israel’s chief veto-cover in the U.N. and diplomatic shelter in the international community, defending its actions regardless of realities on the ground and humanitarian/political fallout. But with things falling apart across the Middle East and American authority being called into question, surely it is time to re-evaluate the cost-benefit equation with such an upstart nation-state.


UK rape charges

LONDON — There is a far greater scandal in our criminal justice system than the small number of men who are victims of malicious accusations: The vast number of men who are committing rape and getting away with it. Less than six percent of rape allegations in the United Kingdom result in conviction, one of the lowest rates in Europe. Few would suggest that 94 percent of allegations of rape are false. This failure by our courts to hold so many to account must therefore be acknowledged as an outrage. It is certainly difficult to prove the charge of rape. But our courts should be doing far better than they are.

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