Al-Ahram Weekly Online   6 - 12 November 2008
Issue No. 921
Reader's corner
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Readers' corner

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Beware the irony

Sir-- Congratulations Barack Obama and hard luck John McCain. I'm writing this before the elections but we all know the outcome in advance.

However, I advise President Obama to be careful. He won because of the US economic crisis but ironically the crisis will be his biggest headache.

Ahmed Youssef

Good talker

Sir-- Re 'Indian summer for Obama' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 23-29 October) the paragraph pertaining to Sarah Palin's vice-presidential qualifications, the writer mentions "as a small town mayor, mother of five, and folksy speaker..." Palin is no longer mayor of a small town. Since 2006 she has been the governor of the state of Alaska. She also holds a university degree in journalism and public speaking. Palin is a highly qualified public speaker.

Angela Sylva

Russia too smart

Sir-- Two small comments on 'The quiet Russian' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 16-22 October). European and Muslim countries are "strange bedfellows" only to American eyes. Europe's relations with the Muslim world have always been better than America's, essentially because Europe does not have America's all-consuming focus on Israel. Secondly, the Tartus naval base. I don't see why Russia would need or want a naval base in the Mediterranean or anywhere else outside its own area, for that matter. The Ukrainian base dates from Soviet times and Russia has no really good port on its small Black Sea coast. Having seen the US destroy itself trying to police the globe and the Soviet Union destroy itself by trying to spread its ideology around the globe, I find it hard to imagine that democratic Russia would fall into such an obvious trap.

Mark Keeny

Obama and Kashmir

Sir-- I praise the courageous words of Senator Barack Obama, who while in an interview with Rachel Meadow on MSNBC on 30 October, said, "We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation with those militants."

On 25 September, in an interview with Journal Arms Control Today Obama said, "I will continue the support of ongoing Indian Pakistani efforts to resolve the Kashmir problem in order to address the political roots of the arms race between India and Pakistan."

Obama's statement was in full conformity with previous statements made by officials of the US administration, starting from president John F Kennedy to Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright, General Colin Powell, and President George Bush who has said that the US supports any solution of Kashmir that is acceptable to India, Pakistan and Kashmiri citizens.

Candidly, these world leaders have emphasised the importance of solving this pressing international issue which would alleviate the pressure for increased militancy throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan. With that thought, the international community should seize the moment and pursue efforts for a referendum in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Ghulam Nabi Fai

Four reservations

Sir-- During the upcoming period, Iraq is badly in need of reaching an agreement with the United States but Iraq should first adopt the following reservations with respect to US forces:

- Number of these forces.

- Period of stay.

- Locations of the military bases.

- No judicial immunity for these troops.

Mohamed Mesbah

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