Global Newsstand: Europe is using Syria as a Guantanamo for Islamic State fighters, and more

A roundup of global commentary for the March 4, 2019 weekly magazine.

Felipe Dana/AP
Men walk to be screened after being evacuated out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants, near Baghouz, eastern Syria, Feb. 22, 2019.

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany

Europe is using Syria as a Guantanamo for Islamic State fighters

“The message came in typical Donald Trump manner: lacking in style...,” writes Matthias von Hein. “But, like it or not, there is some validity to the United States president’s demand that European countries take back their citizens who fought for the Islamic State group (IS) and are currently being held in Kurdish captivity.... The prisoners are becoming an overwhelming burden for the Kurdish authorities. That burden is only likely to increase.... Of course, no country really has an interest in accepting dozens of IS fighters, but that does not change the fact that these people still exist and need to be dealt with.... Northern Syria cannot remain Europe’s Guantanamo.”

Haaretz / Tel Aviv

Trump administration’s peace plan for the Middle East wasn’t a success

“U.S. officials have been trying to portray the Warsaw Conference as a success for their plans; the concrete results are far from that...,” writes Saeb Erekat. “One of their goals was to marginalize Palestine from the Arab discourse – and that became their biggest failure.... The centrality of Palestine for the Arab world could not be hidden no matter the efforts of the Trump team.... The question is then: what does the Trump administration have to offer on that regard?... Even though Palestine did not attend the conference, it remained the most visible issue whether in our region or elsewhere.... The Palestinian cause remains the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

Jamaica Observer / Kingston, Jamaica

How can Jamaica level the playing field despite loans from China?

“In the last decade, Jamaica has borrowed from China to finance badly needed infrastructure and there has been foreign direct investment (FDI) by Chinese companies in the bauxite and sugar industries,” states an editorial. “These developments have ignited a controversy about whether Jamaica is losing what little economic sovereignty it has.... Another issue surrounds the view that Chinese companies have had the contracts for major construction projects.... The reality is that most aid is tied that way; that is to say, the lender insists on the employment of their nationals. In any case, the large globally operating Chinese companies do have advantages over their smaller local counterparts.... Given these natural competitive advantages, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) must insist on maximising local participation....”

The Namibian / Windhoek, Namibia

Businesses should contribute to the communities where they operate

“Noblesse oblige is a French term that refers to the idea that someone with power and influence should use their social position to help other people,” writes Nelson Ashipala. “This is the closest one could ever come to defining corporate social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable.... At its heart, CSR works with the notion that businesses cannot be successful when the society around them fails.... In the end, CSR is measured in terms of businesses improving conditions for their employees, shareholders, communities, and environment. Done correctly, CSR can be a great catalyst for development.”

The Asahi Shimbun / Tokyo

Saying goodbye to the Opportunity rover

“When an old tool is ready for retirement, a traditional ritual known as ‘dogu kuyo’ is practiced throughout Japan to thank it for years of service...,” states an editorial. “In fact, memorial services for old kitchen knives and sewing needles, respectively known as ‘hocho kuyo’ and ‘hari kuyo,’ go back centuries.... And now, I wish the same could be done for another robot to thank it for its long service. I’m referring to NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity, which has explored the surface of the Red Planet for nearly 15 years.... When the robot landed on Mars in 2004, the duration of its activity was said to be 90 days. But it functioned unexpectedly well, sending 217,000 images from the deserts it traveled.”

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