|Press Cocktail : Tunis, Chalabi and El Fayez|
|Between the Arab Summit that concluded in Tunis earlier in the week, the intensifying situation in Iraq and Palestine, and an assortment of local issues, Jordanian weekly newspapers had plenty to talk about in their latest editions.
Taking a swipe at the beleaguered summit—that had been postponed from its original date in March—pro-Islamist Assabeel weekly declared on its front page, "Leaders’ summit acquits the occupation and convicts martyrs."
The paper claimed that the summit bargained with the United States by "overlooking the massacres in Rafah and Abu Ghraib scandal in exchange for the US to drop its call for reforms" in Arab countries that it was previously lobbying for. The summit—which was attended by 12 Arab leaders in the opening session and only seven when it concluded—witnessed "a grave retreat in joint-Arab efforts and a severe blow to Arab official bodies, which are no longer capable of offering anything new as they gradually collapse," Assabeel commented.
Refuting such criticism, Al Belad’s Editor in Chief Fayez El Ajrashi wrote in his column, "Some pragmatists might say that the summit failed to achieve anything and that it was a waste of ink and paper; but in politics, such assessment is wrong."
"The mere convening of the summit was a victory—albeit limited—for Arabs," Ajrashi added.
The writer also quoted Prime Minister Faisal El Fayez to say that the summit’s results were "excellent in their formation and aspirations, but the important thing is applying them on the ground." Al Hadath’s Nidhal Mansour emphasized on the same point when he wrote, "What we want after Tunis’ summit are mechanisms for implementation without any excuses… The world has no time for excuses."
Elsewhere in Al Hadath, columnist Shaker Al Jawhari opened his article with a declaration, "The Arab summit does not deserve a full article." Therefore, the writer commented on several issues in his column—the German unemployed man who slapped Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder; the British man who threw a powder on Prime Minister Tony Blair; and the Bahraini Interior Minister who was sacked—before getting into the Arab Summit by branding the final document presented by the summit to be "in harmony with the US-Israeli outlooks."
Shifting attention towards the developments in Iraq, Al Mera’ah weekly presented an article entitled, "Chalabi’s trial in Amman… soon!" as they referred to the Iraqi businessman-turned-politician who is wanted in Jordan after being convicted of embezzlement.
"Jordan is once more requesting to extradite Chalabi… As Washington is abandoning him after discovering his lies; his dream to become Iraq’s secular leader is vanishing," Al Mera’ah said of Chalabi, whose fall from grace with the US administration and media has provided Jordanian newspapers with a hefty printing material.
Al Mera’ah also quoted Chalabi to declare that if the Americans decided to extradite him to Jordan, he will "fight until death."
Back to the local scene, Al Jazira’s Osama Al Ramieni wrote a column that was controversially entitled, "Fayez, Abul Ragheb governments: Two faces of the same coin."
The writer claimed that this comparison infuriates El Fayez, "as he thinks that his ‘super’ government is a mix between angles, who make no mistakes, wise men and philosophers, when compared to the previous government."
Amman,06 14 2004
Ali Al Khalil