x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

PA under financial pressure

The risk of losing US subsidies is restraining Palestinians' push for UN statehood recognition, an Arabic-language commentator notes. Other topics: Egypt's military, Noray's extremist, and Iran's influence in Iraq

PA faces serious pressure over UN bid

The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is currently facing a very serious political impasse, the pan-Arab Al Quds al Arabi newspaper said in its editorial.

"While the PA is about to lose its western allies, who have so far supported it and provided it with money … it is not gaining favour with the entirety of the Palestinian people either," the newspaper said.

For one thing, the United States is threatening to block vital funds it has had the custom of disbursing into the PA's coffers as financial aid. Washington is also trying to convince its allies - Europeans and Arabs - to do the same. All for one purpose: to make the PA renounce its intention to call for recognition of independent statehood at the United Nations in September.

For another, President Mahmoud Abbas is facing strong pressure from within - "from a circle of 'realist' officials surrounding him," the newspaper said.

One of these figures is senior diplomat Saeb Erekat, Al Quds al Arabi went on. Mr Erekat prefers to find "some formula" of compromise with the US to avoid clashing with it over the PA's UN bid: first, to keep financial aid flowing and second, to keep prospects for peace talks with Israel alive.

"It's a shame that, while other Arabs are revolting against oppression, the Palestinians are made to keep quiet," the paper concluded.

Egypt's military must trust country's youth

Celebrations of the 59th anniversary of Egypt's July 23 revolution were different this year, Daoud al Sharyan wrote in the pan-Arab Al Hayat daily.

The commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, used the occasion to confirm that Egypt remains the child of the Free Officers Revolution of 1952. Even television channels celebrated the occasion in a way that implied they were instructed to focus on the revolution, which had been abandoned during former president Hosni Mubarak's rule.

The youth of the current revolution have no interest in the old military uprising. They are experiencing a new popular uprising destined to free Egypt of military rule. "For that reason, attempts to resuscitate the old revolution are but a desperate effort to undermine the January 25 revolution", the writer said.

Egypt now faces a new conflict, between the army on one hand and the protesters of Tahrir Square on the other. Slogans such as "the people and the army are one" are no longer heard.

Egypt is undeniably in a pivotal political crisis. The military institution made a strategic error when it chose to lead the political scene. Once the protector of the revolution, it became the grantor of the new rebels' demands.

The solution to the current predicament is through a national salvation government that can make possible the promise of a civil state.

Oslo events show extremism has no faith

Muslims breathed a sigh of relief after the identity of the perpetrator of the Oslo attacks was revealed, wrote Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

What took place was a terrorist crime that has implications not only for Norwegians, but also for westerners and Muslims. The first lessons is that all extremism and fundamentalism have a common feature: betrayal. Extremist terrorists target "easy targets".

Terrorists, regardless of their religion, target innocents in buildings, planes, trains, shopping centres and schools. This is in order to cause as many deaths as possible and spread panic.

"The extremist is a person who is unable to engage in any dialogue or convince others of his ideas. He also does not accept other people's." Terrorist events throughout modern history have shown that.

The second lesson from the Oslo tragedy is that terrorism is still the main threat to nations and individuals. And it knows no race or creed. This is a call for the West to refrain from entrenching negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims.

The Norwegian terrorist committed this crime of betrayal not because his country is a Nato member, or is taking part in military operation in Afghanistan and Libya. Rather he acted out of an extreme view against Muslims and his own country.

Iraqis reject growing Iranian influence

Iran has increased its influence in Iraqi politics with the help of the current Iraqi government, one that failed to bring political change and develop strong external relations except with Tehran, pointed out Jamil al Dhibani in an opinion article for the London-based newspaper Al Hayat.

In recent years, Iran has managed to impose greater control over Iraq in terms of politics and security. This was achieved by backing Iraqi militias loyal to Tehran and promoting Shiite ideology. Iran also sought to control Iraq economically by using it as a platform to expand into other neighbouring countries.

This has prompted Iraqis of other sects to criticise the prime minister, Nouri Al Maliki, for allowing Iranians this liberty. Many also blamed him for promoting a sectarian culture in politics.

In response, activists in the south recently held a campaign to boycott Iranian products, concerned that their neighbour's interference is an attempt to obliterate Iraqi cultural identity. They also warned that Tehran is aiming to widen further the scope of its influence in other Arab countries.

To achieve that, Iran would seek to export its revolution and destabilise the security of other countries by inciting partisanship based on religious affiliation.

* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk