x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Lebanon is heading toward a collision

All institutional and legal safety valves capable of absorbing any blunders within the political conflict have lost their functions, says an article in Al Hayat

The Lebanese government is quasi-disabled. National dialogue is in jeopardy. The president is accused of prejudice. Thus columnist Abdullah Iskandar, described the present situation in Lebanon in an article for the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

All institutional and legal safety valves capable of absorbing any blunders within the political conflict have lost their functions.This state of internal exposure involves hazards that could be fatal this time around. Utmost priority must be given to the task of preventing a new crisis.

Lebanon's Christian leadership gathered on Saturday to emphasise the seriousness of threats arising from the alienation of state institutions. They was supported by the Future Movement, which represents the country's Sunnis. As for the Shiites, their attitude has yet to become clear.

Hizbollah, the powerful Lebanese Shiite movement, continues to hold the entire country hostage to an impending indictment by the Special International Tribunal. Despite Hizbollah's repeated assurances that it seeks to prevent all forms of sedition in Lebanon, the fact remains that the party is giving the Lebanese, especially the Christians, reasons to fear marginalisation, since throughout history, they saw the sole guarantee for their existence and survival in Lebanon in the nature of the system which provides for the effective sharing of the decision-making process.

In defeat, Obama must look at priorities

Will the Democrats' loss in mid-term elections force the US president Barack Obama to review his domestic and foreign priorities? asked columnist Fadeel al Ameen in an article for London-based daily Asharq al Awsat.

Numerous factors contributed to Mr Obama's loss: a deteriorating domestic situation and two taxing wars. Mr Obama's lack of executive expertise and political savvy also played a role in turning yesterday's supporters against him. On the foreign front, Mr Obama's policy of openness didn't reap many rewards, especially in the Islamic world and the Middle East.

Traditionally, the solution would be to create an external crisis. Maybe in Mr Obama's case, this would mean waging a proactive strike at Iran on the grounds of the continuing nuclear issue.

The president could achieve some victories, even with a Republican majority in Congress, provided that he rids his administration of a number of incompetent national security and foreign policy advisors.

In fact, the Republican takeover of Congress limits their ability to boycott and disable, as they have done for the past two years. Their wider integration into the ruling institution makes them more accountable, which would force them to change their strategy and cooperate with Mr Obama in an attempt to reach common victories.

All this could improve Obama's chances for a second presidential term in 2012.

A new generation of dangerous extremists

How could the renewed surge in terrorist violence be explained, without forgetting this new generation of extremist organisations in the Islamic world? asked the columnist Saad Mehio in an article for the Emirati daily Al Khaleej.

As an explanation of such occurrences is quite difficult, one can only wonder about what is happening nowadays in the Middle East, Europe and the US.

For instance, where do these terrorist groups get the financing needed for their activities, especially that the level of sophistication necessitates millions of dollars worth of training and armament?

Rich individuals cannot provide financing for violent organisations on their own. It is certain that there are governments that are behind the financing.

This is evident in countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Iran where security systems sometimes maintainrelations with violent groups. The US and Israel have in the past been indirectly involved in leftist organisations that served various purposes.

Another question in this matter is who benefits the most from terrorist operations?

The events of 9/11 have resulted in the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan and in disseminating chaos in the Middle East, in addition to creating new enemies for the West.

Terrorism is nothing but an old, immoral and dirty game of nations.

The US is powerless to sway Israel's leaders

The Arab world has humiliated itself enough begging the US for concessions and solutions, observes Mazen Hammad in an article for Qatari daily Al Watan.

We don't know why the Arabs are still waiting for Washington's favours as decades of experience have proven that the US is incapable of swaying Israel's positions or playing the role of impartial mediator between the Arabs and Israel. Past and recent experiences prove that the US and Israel are one, no matter who is in charge at the White House.

In an act of generosity, the Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Oraikat gave the Americans additional time to attempt to persuade the Israelis to freeze settlement activities in order to create an appropriate atmosphere to resume direct talks.

There will be no end to opportunities and no rescue strategy is looming in the horizon. The only option is to resort to the UN Security Council and ask it to acknowledge the Palestinian State, in which case the US wouldn't hesitate to use its veto power.

Arabs must come up with a pressure formula before it's too late. Israel is obstinate, Washington is submissive,  and the way the Arabs are dealing with them at present leads only to surrender.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem