x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

A reader writes of the new threat in Baghdad

Other letters to the editor comment on Saudi driving customs, travel in Marrakech, junk food in schools, and other subjects of current interest.

A reader deplores the threatened revival of Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi militia after a long period of reduced sectarian violence in Iraq. Ahmad al Rubaye / AFP
A reader deplores the threatened revival of Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi militia after a long period of reduced sectarian violence in Iraq. Ahmad al Rubaye / AFP

The news article Shock and alarm at massive Sadrist rally (May 27) reported that 70,000 followers of the cleric Muqtada al Sadr marched in Baghdad to demand that American troops leave Iraq as scheduled at the end of the year.

Long-suffering Iraq has many serious problems, the least of which is the presence of the US army. They still have a job to finish and it would be stupid to rush their exit.

Iraq has a golden opportunity in the alliance offered by America, the world's superpower. Only the Iraqi people through their democratically elected parliament can decide this issue. Nobody should be allowed to bully them, least of all threaten them with violence.

It's incredible that Mr al Sadr's rise was possible only because America got rid of Saddam Hussein (who, by the way, eliminated most of the Sadr family).

The threat of reviving the Mahdi militia is terrible after all the misery and violence that Iraqis have suffered.

It raises suspicions all over again of Mr Sadr's masters in Iran, where he should have stayed.

As previously in Basra, another strong strike by the Iraqi president Nouri al Maliki may unfortunately be the only way to stop this new intimidation.

Shamal Karim, Abu Dhabi

Contradictions in driving customs

I would like to thank Rym Ghazal for her opinion article Saudi women are driven by a desire to do it for themselves (May 26) in which she shared her experience of having to drive a car during a medical emergency in Saudi Arabia.

I never understood how women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive yet it is OK for them to take cabs or have drivers and be all alone in a car with a strange man.

Another strange example is how men there are selling lingerie and the most intimate items, and that it is considered OK while single men and women are not allowed to mix and sit near each other in a coffee shop. Just so many things that don't make any sense.

I think some of the laws the Saudis have against women are completely made up because our religion is not like that at all. I think it is about time they come clean and admit there is nothing to prevent women from driving.

Susan R, Kuwait

Regulations for gas pipelines

The business article UAE gas grid could save oil (May 25) reported that an integrated grid allow the nation to burn less oil for power generation and help gas importers negotiate better deals, Along with integration, the UAE needs a gas law to govern all regulations related to building new pipelines and for pipeline owner to share the assets and the right of way for their pipelines.

The law would regulate gas prices and, most needed, the gas transportation tariff . This gas law would need to cover many other issues.

Khalid Mohammed, Dubai

Confusion in billing records

I wonder if Etisalat has taken the law into its own hands. Our last bill in May appeared on my doorstep and as I went to pay it, I glanced at the statement - the amount owed was much more than usual. Why? Because this was now billed as an "eLife" package. Neither my husband nor myself had requested this.

So I called the customer care number, only to be told that we were now listed for eLife, as we had requested it. Not so.

I wonder if anybody else has experienced this? I have queried the bill, and two weeks later, am still awaiting a revised bill. In the meantime, I do hope that Etisalat does not cut us off.

Diane M, Abu Dhabi

Travel tip for Marrakech

The travel article The mosaic that is Marrakech (April 8) mentioned Riad Yima, the showcase for the work of Moroccan-British pop designer and photographer Hassan Hajjaj.

You can also head to 33 Rue Majorelle, a brand new concept store right in front of the Jardin Majorelle. It carries about 40 Morrocan designers in all fields (fashion, accessories , house-ware, etc). It is quickly gaining the reputation of being the Colette of Morocco. It includes a cafe within the space, called "Kaowa", where you can enjoy a quick salad-type lunch or taste their delicious Oriental smoothies.

Yehla Abdeinour, Dubai

Education needed for parents

The article Health rule OK (May 25) reported on junk food bans in the schools of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. These laws should be coupled with a campaign to educate the public, especially parents, on why processed food, high sugar intake and junk food are conducive to serious life threats.

Lack of knowledge of healthy foods is not acceptable.

Emad Jasim, Abu Dhabi