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World Opinion

On domestic Islamist radicalization:

The Government unveiled a new strategy yesterday designed to curb domestic Islamist radicalization. A rethink was certainly in order. The suspension earlier this week of official ties with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) was a vivid demonstration of the shortcomings of the previous strategy.

In the wake of the London bombings of July 2005, the Government invited the MCB to Downing Street for discussions on how to respond to the growth of extremism among young British Muslims. Public money was channeled to the organization to help it turn the young away from terror. But it turned out that, despite its name, the MCB was not actually representative of British Muslims, and it had little clout with those individuals the Government needed to influence.

The problem is that British Muslims are a diverse and fragmented community. Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Somalis, Iraqis and Nigerians living in Britain all have different cultures, outlooks and economic circumstances. The lesson is that it would be better for the Government to decentralize its approach to dealing with British Muslims, rather than trying to communicate through a single umbrella organization of doubtful authority such as the MCB. It is unclear from yesterday's strategy document whether this lesson has been fully taken on board.

The new strategy is right, however, to advocate a verbal confrontation with those activists and preachers who advocate cultural separatism and intolerance. ...

But the heartening news is that by standing up for the principles of moderation, and robustly isolating the preachers of intolerance, the Government will be going with the grain of majority British Muslim opinion. The battle against radicalization is one that can and must be won.

-- The Independent, London

On Iran and the West:

President Barack Obama wants to talk to Iran. That's good politics, assuming it's combined with demands.

Most people seem to agree that the goal for international policies with Iran is to prevent the country from getting nuclear weapons. The question is rather how it will be done, and (it is) clear that what has been tried so far has also failed.

President George W. Bush was harsh in his tone to say the least. ...

It was clear from the beginning that a change would happen with Barack Obama in the White House...

A first concrete sign that something new was in the pipeline came during the senate's questioning of Foreign Minister Hilary Clinton, and the other day Obama confirmed the shift in a speech directly to the Iranians.

The president spoke of "diplomacy that deals with the questions ahead of us." ...

But the road the U.S. has chosen to take is worth trying -- the rest of the world has to find a new way to get out of the blind alley it is finding itself in ...

-- Dagens Nyheter,

Stockholm, Sweden

On Israel's relations with Egypt:

There was something melancholy about our story this week that Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Yasser Reda would be marking the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries by not boycotting a Jerusalem conference and reception today. This wasn't the way Israelis imagined peace would look three decades after president Anwar Sadat's historic journey to Jerusalem.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry marked the lead-up to the anniversary with a strong condemnation of Israel's refusal to allow the Palestinian Authority to conduct a "cultural festival" within Jerusalem's municipal boundaries -- including a march on the Temple Mount, complete with PLO flags. The PA knows that Israeli law prohibits it from operating in Jerusalem, which is precisely why it organized the illegal demonstration -- to hammer home its claims of sovereignty. ...

Israel's Foreign Ministry, in contrast, marked the anniversary by issuing a warm statement recalling Sadat's visit and his Knesset address. It highlighted the various spheres of Egyptian-Israeli cooperation and noted that bilateral trade climbed to $271 million in 2008. ...

We hesitate to speculate on where the Egypt-Israel relationship will be 30 years from now. ...

For an enduring peace, it is imperative, therefore, that Mubarak use the remaining years of his tenure to reconceptualize and rebrand Egypt's attitude toward Israel. A first state visit would be a good starting point.

-- Jerusalem Post