x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Change your course

A reader says we must change our lifestyle to minimise the chance of getting arthritis. Other letter topics include: Israel, Syrian resistance, conflicts

A reader says unhealthy lifestyle is responsible for most of the diabetes cases in the UAE. Asmaa Al Hameli / The National
A reader says unhealthy lifestyle is responsible for most of the diabetes cases in the UAE. Asmaa Al Hameli / The National

Israel should know consequences of colony expansion

I am writing in reference to the editorial Israel's actions demonstrate its true intentions (August 14).

The Israeli trade minister will be well aware that if his government makes further announcements about extending illegal settlements, the EU will almost certainly act to restrict Israel's preferential access to its markets, without which Israel's economy would collapse.

That is reason enough for the Knesset to tread very carefully. If the talks break down again due to Israeli intransigence, then the Netanyahu government might need to find new markets very quickly for its Uzi machine guns, software and re-exported diamonds, in order to maintain its economy and avoid complete dependence on the US for its economic survival.

And that would effectively make it the (nuclear) arm of the US in the Middle East with a future Knesset effectively subject to the will of Congress.

Maybe it would be preferable for President Obama to replace Benjamin Netanyahu as political head - if that brings peace and an end to Israel's political posturing and illegal settlements.

Anthony Bellchambers, UK

Rebels in Syria have little options

I refer to Hussein Ibish's article in the opinion section Support for rebels will help push Syrians away from extremists (August 4).

I am so happy to know that someone has evidently studied and understood the overall nature of the Syrian conflict and its developments.

Being a westerner and witness to the unacceptable ignorance and frighteningly slow responsiveness of governments that have engaged with the Syrian situation, it is a big relief to hear rational and informed views, especially of the rebel dynamics that are complex and changeable, to say the least.

I came across this article while reading another article in the New York Times that quoted from Mr Ibish's analysis. This shows that someone out there in the West is listening, which gives us hope.

Perhaps, as you say, it may not be too late to provide support to nonsectarian or non-extremist rebels, which may tip the balance away from the extremists. It was the common people and army deserters who took up arms in 2011-12.

Much later, extremist groups such as Al Qaeda started to muscle in. I agree that members of many of the rebel groups joined hands with the extremists out of sheer desperation and disillusionment.

When your own "liberal" FSA runs out of bullets and your instinct tells you to keep fighting against Bashar Al Assad, what choice do you have? The only option is to accept bullets from any group that offers them.

Name withheld by request

Conflicts do not serve any purpose

I enjoyed reading Hari Chand Aneja's opinion article Painful memories of partition should spur modern India on (August 13). But what is the purpose of opening old wounds? People on both sides suffered atrocities for no fault of their own.

Millions of people were uprooted and many innocent lives lost due to the intransigence and stubbornness of some politicians such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel, who refused to budge despite requests from Mahatma Gandhi.

Furthermore, the timing of Mr Aneja's article is not right. Tension between Pakistan and India is running high. At such a time, we need cool minds, not inflammatory accounts.

Hatred, war and tensions do not serve humanity. Those like the BJP and Shiv Sena that clamour for war should come forward to send their own people to the front.

Iqbal Maladwala, Dubai

Watch your health before it's too late

I appreciate The National's effort to highlight the main causes of arthritis that affects so many people in the UAE ('I never imagined I'd be in such a state at 35', says UAE arthritis sufferer, August 11).

I have seen a 10-year-old suffering from severe arthritis. While that case may be an exception, we must understand that an unhealthy lifestyle is largely responsible for this disease.

In the UAE, a large number of people suffer from this ailment because they fail to follow a healthy lifestyle.

It's useless to repent for the choices you make. I think it will be useful to spread awareness on possible consequences of ignoring your health.

Amir Shah, Switzerland