Kingdom of misogyny

Two smh articles on Saudi Arabia. Koutsoukis appears impressed by the legitimacy of Abbas’s election. (“Two months later the man who goes by the name of Abu Mazen secured nearly 65 per cent of the presidential election vote.”) Note how this expert writes on Israel/Palestine:

This time there is no certainty about a successor [to Abbas].

The obvious candidates include the Palestinian prime minister and former World Bank economist, Salam Fayyad, the ageing former prime minister Abu Alaa, and Nasser al-Kidwa, Arafat’s nephew and a former diplomat to the United Nations.

Okay, that’s written November 14. A week earlier, November 7, who were the candidates?

Possible contenders for the presidency include the jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences; the Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad; and the independent politician Mustafa Barghouti, a distant cousin of Marwan.

Why doesn’t he admit that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about? I mean, ultimately the leadership of Fatah is up to the US and Israel, and so my view is Fayyad is odds on favourite, IF Abbas does stand down.

Anyway, I criticised Koutsoukis last week for not seeming to realise Marwan Barghouti is in jail. This week, he notices it, and goes on to discuss it. Koutsoukis thinks Barghouti’s best chance may be release as a deal for Shalit. This is perhaps true, but Israel has no interest in freeing one of the more militant members of Fatah, who would be a credible proponent of a two-state agreement. Israel wants only Fayyads and Dahlans and Abbases. Koutsoukis then mentions Mustafa Barghouti. I would love to see the rise of a secular non-Fatah non-Hamas alternative. I wouldn’t bank on this. Koutsoukis mentions 19% of the vote won in 2005 presidential elections. He ignores what happened when there were free and fair elections: Barghouti won less than 3% of the vote.

What is kind of cool though is that Koutskoukis clearly admires Mustafa Barghouti. In this sense, Mustafa Barghouti is promising: he’s a secular, presentable campaigner for Palestine. He can make a reasonable appeal to the West.


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