Expatriate pensions 'would be win-win'
Sami Al Reyami, editor in chief of the UAE newspaper Emarat Al Youm, said in a leader that he "was left with a feeling of hesitation and fear of something over the statement by Ali Ibrahim, deputy director of the Dubai Economic Development Department."
The minister had said that "the project to set up a pension fund for expatriates is but an idea in its infancy in terms of both study and possible implementation".
After consideration, the editor said, he decided the idea is excellent, and deserves study.
Beyond the idea's humane aspect, it is also an economic and investment project that could serve all stakeholders. It has the potential to boost investments and increase liquidity in the local market. A pension fund would help retain part of the huge sum now remitted overseas each year, a serious cash drain for the UAE.
Expatriates, obviously, would also benefit from guaranteed savings and a long-term source of income.
Pension funds are common worldwide regardless of the nationality of the beneficiary, and are a "win-win" situation.
And there is nothing wrong with the idea that the Emirates' economy could benefit from a portion deducted from expatriate employees' salaries.
The money collected could be reinvested according to definite standards in various activities that, in turn, would generate more wealth for Dubai.
Unesco membership good sign for Palestine
Joining Unesco means international recognition of the Palestinian people's identity and the safeguarding of Palestinian culture from extinction, columnist Daoud Al Sharyan wrote in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat.
It will contribute to countering the Israeli scheme to tamper with and later efface Jerusalem's architectural heritage and it paves the way for international recognition of Palestine as an independent and sovereign state.
"The political gains from this historic decision are immense," said the writer. "Unesco membership promotes Palestine's standing within the international community. It consecrates the Palestinian people's belief in diplomatic efforts and dialogue as mediums to retrieve their rights."
The voting itself also demonstrated international willingness to support Palestinian statehood.
There is no doubt however, that the US was the biggest loser in the deal. Its negative attitude tarnished its image in the Arab and Islamic worlds. Its response of cutting Unesco funding was in sharp contrast with the celebrated US values, and its refusal to recognise the identity and the cultural heritage of a people puts its at odds with Washington's promises of a Palestinian state.
The US position may force it to leave the international body, but it wouldn't be the first time. The US withdrew from Unesco for 19 years starting in 1984, but the organisation pressed ahead unscathed.
Israel tests public's opinion on Iran attack
Talk about Israeli threats of war against Iran has escalated to mass mania in the last few days, columnist Satea Noureddin wrote in the Lebanese newspaper Assafir.
But this "is most probably a mere US-Israeli fabricated sandstorm aimed at overshadowing the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by the end of this year", he wrote.
Public discussion of a war with predetermined dates is intended to examine Israeli public opinion's readiness for a long-range military adventure. Domestically, it takes away the element of surprise and calls upon the Israeli people to express their objections to their Netanyahu-led government's hesitant inclination to wage a war. This way the government ensures that the responsibility for war with Iran would be shared with the people.
The drums of war have been sounding since President Barack Obama announced the final withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. A New York Times report last week spoke of a redistribution of US forces among various Arabian Gulf countries, ready to hit Iranian targets or thwart any Iranian attempts to move to fill the void left by the Americans in Iraq.
"The storm is brewing and it could reach its climax with the withdrawal of the last US soldier from Iraqi soil," said the writer.
Washington worries that Tehran could attempt to inherit Iraq and control it once the American forces are no longer there.
Any Syrian dialogue could go on and on
If the Syrian authorities have in effect responded positively to the Arab League committee's peace map, this means that, among other requests, the Assad regime agrees to hold a dialogue with the Syrian National Transitional Council, the London-based paper Al Quds Al Arabi noted in its editorial.
But will the Syrian NTC agree to talks with a regime it deems illegitimate? "It is quite a difficult question to answer, especially that the Syrian NTC has yet to issue a clear statement regarding the dialogue issue", the editorial said.
Should the transitional council agree to dialogue, disputes within its ranks would surely ensue. The same can be said in case it rejects the idea, for rejection would put it at odds with the Arab states that are backing this initiative.
The Syrian regime's choice of its foreign minister Walid Muallem to represent it at the Arab Follow-up Committee meetings in Doha reflects its inclination to diplomacy rather than confrontation.
"Mr Muallem is a professional diplomat and he has great ability in political manoeuvre. He is known to be the dean of the 'yes, but …' school.
"Therefore, a marathon dialogue can be expected should both sides agree to begin one."
* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk