x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Islamic Brotherhood wagered and lost

The Egyptian government's rejection of international observers made clear that they wanted a domesticated parliament fully controlled by representatives of the ruling national party, observed the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial.

Ever since the Egyptian authorities rejected domestic and foreign calls for free and impartial elections under the watchful eye of international observers, it became clear that they wanted a domesticated parliament fully controlled by representatives of the ruling national party, observed the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial.

The feeble popular turnout at the polls on election day mirrored general public indifference. Turnout rates dropped to an unprecedented 10 per cent out of 40 million voters. Egyptians are aware that fraud is the common denominator in all previous parliamentary elections. They had no false hopes that the latest elections would be any different.

The Egyptian government was determined to crush the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition bloc in the previous parliament, which would allow it to pave the way for a smooth and uneventful transition of power from father to son.

The Muslim Brotherhood made a grave mistake when they decided to run for elections against all warnings to the contrary in the hope of retaining their seats. But the regime outsmarted them by facilitating their participation, which gave it the required façade of democracy and allowed for easier "rigging".

A great tension is simmering under the surface in Egypt. The widespread irregularities might spark an anticipated explosion.


Lebanese-Iranian joint statement is positive

The Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri's visit to Iran culminated in a joint statement that denotes the success of the visit on more than one level, commented the columnist Rajeh al Khoury in an article for Lebanese daily Annahar.

The statement announced the signing of nine additional bilateral agreements, which give more stability and strength to official relations between Iran and Lebanon. Iran reasserted its support to the national unity and stability of Lebanon. Does this truly mean that Tehran is committed to supporting Lebanese stability despite predictions of a possible explosion of the situation?

Iran expressed its endorsement of the Saudi-Syrian efforts seeking a solution for the present crisis. Of course Iran's approval of the outcome of these efforts is crucial for their success.

Most importantly, the statement confirmed Iran's explicit support to the course of justice and truth in the case of Rafik Hariri's assassination, and the non-politicisation of the tribunal.

The Lebanese side also declared its commitment to the Arab peace initiative and confirmed Iran's entitlement to peaceful nuclear technology.

Official statements aren't necessarily binding in practice, but the statement that followed Mr Hariri's Tehran visit reveals a strong Iranian intent to prevent any explosions in Lebanon.


US confronts a crisis of diplomatic confidence

The clear truth in the Wikileaks documents is that this is a crisis, best described by the Italian foreign minister when he referred to it as an "international diplomatic September 11", observed Tareq Homayed, the editor-in-chief of pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

They reveal the US failure to maintain the confidentiality of private meetings and expose the mentality that governs US diplomacy. The documents show that US diplomats have been spying on their counterparts at the UN.

The question that arises here is: what will be the future of diplomacy and international relations? And most importantly, who among the world's leaders would trust US diplomats knowing that the national security of their countries would be at risk?

However, it must be noted that not everything written as cables at US embassies is the truth since often words are taken out of context. Many of the documents relayed impressions, analyses and points of view.

Therefore, the leaked documents, regardless of their precision, don't bring anything new to the table other than revealing a Watergate-like situation in the making in the US.

"Our region doesn't need such documents to confirm or deny that Iran is a source of concern and Iran's response to the leaked documents seemed prudent and calm as these documents implicate it in serious security matters."


China's inevitable rise to world power

The United States is not the only great power remaining in the world, as US experts in foreign policy believe. In fact, analyses reveal that the US will be incapable of influencing rising nations that rely heavily on their own resources, commented the columnist Mazen Hammad in an article for Qatari daily Al Watan.

Washington recently sought to pressure Beijing to alter its positions on such issues as global warming, Iran and North Korea, but the Chinese adamantly resisted US efforts.

China refused to allow its national currency to rise, since it relies on the weakness of the yuan in leading an export economy. It refused to impose harsh sanctions on Iran because it needs Iran's oil and gas to support its growth,

At the same time, China refrains from limiting its carbon gas emissions, since taking millions of citizens above the poverty line in the upcoming years is closely tied to an excessive use of energy.

US officials say they realise the nature of changes taking over China and that they are modifying their strategies according to these transformations.

No matter what measures Washington takes, the fact is the Chinese have forced their way upward. It is only a matter of time for China to succeed America as a world power.


* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem