x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Arabic-language newspapers look at the Fatah-Hamas deal

Editorials in Arab newspapers comment on the unity deal of Turkey's relations with Syria, Pakistan's poloicy dilemma and salary disparities in the UAE.

The bumpy road to reconciliation

"It was so comforting to see the euphoria imbued with the utmost optimism that prevailed the Occupied Territories, the West Bank and Gaza Strip following the signing of the unity pact between Hamas and Fatah," noted the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial.

"Yet such celebrations hide concerns about the agreement's sustainability and its future success, especially the potential challenges that would face its implementation."

Both the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the head of Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mashaal, expressed opposing views just prior to agreement on the pact. This concerns some formalities during the meeting about where to sit, who should first stand in the podium, who should be in the front row seats, and so on.

However, both leaders expressed great interest in ending a black chapter in the history of Palestinians. This attitude shows a new spirit. Most importantly, they have come to recognise the necessity to unite the Palestinians at home and abroad. One way to do that is by introducing reform to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and forming an efficient national government.

Yet there are still miles to go before the two factions act in unison. They need to run elections and merge institutions, but above all to handle the thorny issue of the peace process.


Turkey warns Syria of risk of a bleak ending

"We are certainly witnessing an unprecedented attitude by Turkey towards Syria," observed Yasser al Zaata in an opinion piece for the Jordanian newspaper Addustour. "The prime minister, Recep Erdogan, said that no one would like to see a new Hama massacre, where ten thousands were killed, happen again. If things go sour, this will force the international community to take a decision against Syria, and Turkey will do the same."

Erdogan showed a similar attitude towards the Libyan situation. He bluntly asked Col Muammar Qaddafi to quit immediately. The new official Turkish position came as a result of mounting criticism by many leading Arab and Muslim figures that Turkey was being too careful to preserve its interests. Turkish public opinion, known for advocating Muslim and Arab causes. has also exerted pressure on the government ahead of legislative elections.

Turkey advised the Syrian president to introduce political reform, yet he showed no positive response. Turkish officials have expressed their disappointment by predicting bleak outcomes, even including crimes against humanity of the magnitude of the Hama massacre in 1982.

The recent decision by the regime to arm the Alawite minority in Banias to rein in the protests may spark a sectarian conflict. This apparently led Turkey to become more vocal against Damascus.


Pakistan is caught in a political dilemma

"According to different sources, Pakistan's sovereignty was violated by the US when entering a restricted military zone," noted the Saudi Arabian Al Riyadh newspaper. "Meanwhile, the US suspects Islamabad for being complicit with bin Laden."

This drove the US to withdraw its ambassador and consuls for fear of retaliation by al Qa'eda militants after the elimination of their leader. Some argued that this measure was to ease the pressure that bin Laden supporters may exert on the Pakistani government. Although, the incident has shown a rising lack of confidence between the two parties in the counterterrorism coalition, many observers think that future challenges and mutual interests will involve Pakistan and the US further in the effort to dry up sources of terror.

For its part, India expressed its happiness about the death of bin Laden. Yet it suspects that Pakistan is less sincere in its diplomatic relations.

As much as they are happy with the elimination of bin Laden, US senators are also angry with Pakistan, threatening to withhold aid and review diplomatic relations. Many believe Pakistan knew where the most wanted man in the world was living. He had been protected, and that could not have taken place without the help of complicit Pakistani agents.


Salary disparities lead to uneven employment

"Bridging the gap in salaries has become an urgent prerequisite in order to achieve Emiratisation," observed Adel al Rashed in a commentary for the UAE Emrat al Youm newspaper.

The salary gap exists on many levels, between federal and local public-sector jobs, government and semi-government units, the public and private sectors, and even between departments.

"Here it is not the case of normal differences due to the activity of various organisations, or normal disparities between the private and public sectors. Any salary disparity ratio can be reasonable if it is within certain limits. But when that reaches a high level, it will create a gap that will continue to widen. This causes further social inequality and class antagonism at the expense of the middle class, which is the guarantee of harmony and stability in any human community.

The fact that salaries and remuneration differ from one sector to another has caused many to look for jobs in local departments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and to avoid working for federal authorities and semi-government companies such as the national airlines. This in turn led to high population congestion in these two cities to the detriment of other places which fail to attract and employ Emiratis."


* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi