x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

France’s stance at Geneva talks reflects political wisdom

Writing in the Arabic newspaper Ashraq Al Awsat, coumnist Tariq Al Homayed argues that the West is making a big mistake by providing the Iranian regime with a lifeline at this point in time. Other Digest topics: US spies, Wadeema's Law.

The stalling of the negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran that started in Geneva last week over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme has sparked harsh criticism against France and its top diplomat Lurent Fabius. Critics accused them of “ruining the party” for everyone else, said the columnist Tariq Al Homayed in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.

The meetings in Geneva that involved Iran, apart from the permanent UN Security Council members including the US, Russia, France and Britain, in addition to Germany, brought to light disagreements between western powers, mainly with France.

France made its position clear. While it seemed that an agreement was near, Mr Fabius, France’s French foreign minister, insisted that the terms of the accord in question weren’t sufficient to curb Iran’s nuclear projects. He went on to say that Paris couldn’t possibly agree to a losing deal with Iran.

Paris was condemned for its last-minute subversive role in these negotiations on which Washington, Tehran and the European Union had worked for months.

Iran too was vexed with the unexpected French objection. A Twitter account believed to be run by the Supreme Leader’s office posted direct criticism of France and accused it of harbouring hostility to the Iranian nation. “This is a reckless act that lacks prudence,” said the tweet.

“This all shows the level of frustration towards the ‘wise’ French position regarding a hasty west-Iran agreement based on good intentions, knowing that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as the saying goes,” the writer said.

“The French stance in Geneva is a proof of wisdom and political insight. They were able to restrain the naive western rushing after Iran’s alleged good intentions,” he added.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, did observe on Sunday that his country isn’t fully confident that Iran would be willing to take apart its nuclear programme. He confirmed that sanctions would remain in place as talks continue as the US has “a pretty strong sense” of how to measure whether or not they are acting in the interests of their country and that of the world.

“But good sense isn’t the only crucial factor in the game of politics,” the writer observed.

French diplomacy succeeded in unveiling Iran’s intentions over western powers. Iran continues to practice the same old game of empty promises and alleged good intentions.

“The West is making a big mistake by providing the Iranian regime with a lifeline at this point in time. They should wait until the sanctions on Iran have taken their full effect and then Iran would go to the west begging for an agreement to save its internal economic system,” Al Homayed concluded.

Why would American spies target Israel?

“Isn’t it high time we revisited common assumptions about US-Israeli relations,” asked Emile Amen, an Egyptian writer, in yesterday’s edition of the Dubai-based newspaper Al Bayan.

“Recent revelations surrounding the US National Security Agency’s spying programme had some people asking: Was Washington spying on Israel as well? But how would that make sense, given that the two countries have unprecedented intelligence exchange agreements?”

As has recently been revealed, the US not only spies on Israel’s drone and missile factories, among other military targets, but it also spies on one of the country’s top intelligence assets, Unit 8200, the author said.

The US is acting like the historical pirate, Captain Henry Morgan, who was notorious for his tactic of attacking other pirate ships after they had amassed their loot, instead of taking a gamble on commercial ships that may not be as rewarding, according to Amen. “That is exactly what Washington was doing when it was harvesting data from that most prominent intelligence agency in Israel.”

Another reason why the US is keeping an eye on Israel has to do with the latter’s nuclear arsenal, he observed. “Washington knows for a fact that Israel’s nuclear arsenal was not acquired merely to counter the Arabs and the Muslims, but rather in anticipation of the day when the two friends will part ways.”

FNC is almost ready to submit Wadeema law

There have been many delays in development of the comprehensive child protection legislation known as Wadeema’s law, Mohammed Othman noted in the Dubai-based daily Al Emarat Al Youm.

But now the FNC is to complete the regulations associated with the law and submit the package to the Cabinet within a month, he added.

“The law will include protection of the relationship between children and their families and communities – be they in school or among friends,” the writer quoted Salem Al Ameri, head of the Federal National Council’s committee for health labour and social affairs, as saying.

The law includes severe punishment for any crime that damages a child.

The committee chairman says the law aims to regulate the rights of the child and support stable, tranquil life for families and children. The law has 72 points in 12 chapters.

As soon as the law is implemented, the reporter quoted the committee chairman as saying, “children will have a package of legal rights in the UAE, especially the right to protection.”

Wadeema’s Law, named after an eight-year-old girl who was tortured and killed by her father, has been the most pressing issue for the FNC.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk