x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Palestinian cause conveniently vanished from Iran’s agenda

Writing in the Arabic daily Al Ittihad, Dr Khaled Al Huroub says that by choosing to ignore Palestine issue during talks with the western powers, Iran has, once again, revealed its narrow political objectives. Other Digest topics: Egypt, Dubai

After four days of talks and lengthy secret negotiations with the US, Iran and the West finally reached a deal over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear project.

The announcement of the deal on Sunday set off a stream of reactions, speculation and questions across the Middle East from government officials and intellectuals. One of them, Dr Khaled Al Huroub, a contributing columnist with the Emirati daily Al Ittihad, wrote: “Was the Palestinian issue listed on the agenda and in the outcome of the talks?”

Iran has built its “resistance and rejectionist” propaganda rhetoric on the championing of the Palestinian cause and pledges of animosity towards Israel. But somehow, Tehran neglected to include Palestine, long touted as “the primary cause for Muslims”, in the talks agenda.

“Why didn’t Tehran insist on a minimum of international legitimacy with regard to the Palestinian cause? And why did the resistance and rejectionist” rhetoric suddenly melt away when push come to shove with the West, Israel’s number-one supporter,” the writer asked.

From a purely political point of view, it is understandable that Tehran would want to focus solely on its national interests. In fact, no one would have dared to ask Tehran for more than that if it weren’t for its overzealous and misleading support for resistance against Israel, which simply evaporated at the first real test.

Once again, the essence of Iranian politics is revealed. They are driven by their national interests and these interests include defending Iran’s affairs elsewhere and consecrating its clout in the Middle East, and this is where controversy ensues: the obsession to bolster Iran’s role and power often translates to interference in Arab countries’ affairs and mobilisation of Arab Shiites in the framework of destructive sectarian practices.

On another level, Iran’s fervent support of the resistance and rejectionist ideals, especially with regard to Palestine, has led to sharp divisions in many Arab countries including Palestine, Lebanon and Yemen. “Iran worked diligently to deepen internal differences and create affiliated movements under the banner of resistance,” the writer noted.

Also under the same slogan, Tehran used its propaganda machine to create Al Quds Army which, incidentally, hasn’t fired a single shot for the liberation of Jerusalem. All of its activities were focused in other Arab territories.

Nonetheless, Iran isn’t to blame for leaving Jerusalem and the whole of Palestine out of its deals with the West. After all, political alliances hinge on interests. Blame should be directed at those who continue to follow Iran and reiterate its rhetoric on resistance and Palestine. They should finally realise that Iran has no plans whatsoever to get involved in battle with Israel and that its eyes, first and foremost, are on its Arab neighbours.

Civilians’ military trial ‘unacceptable’

An article in Egypt’s new draft constitution that allows civilians to be tried before military courts has caused a stir in the country.

Nawara Negm, an Egyptian political activist, commented in the Cairo-based newspaper Al Tahrir that the military trial of civilians is not acceptable under any circumstances.

The argument of supporters of the controversial article that only criminals and terrorists should fear military trials is nonsensical. Those who are against military trials for civilians are those seeking to live in a civilised state.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s constitution of 2012 opened the door to military trials and the military apparently did not want to drop that article.

The 50-member committee in charge of drafting the constitution had two options. One was to readopt the article of the 1971 constitution (“according to what the law decides”), and the other was to define the powers of military tribunals.

Members have to choose between these two evils or return to the 2012 constitution, which is the worst of all. Those who voted “yes” intended to choose the lesser of two evils, and those who voted “no” wanted the 1971 constitution, while those who abstained were against both options because they reject military trials.

There is a good opportunity to get this article cancelled if all civil and revolutionary figures join forces and say “no to military trials for civilians”, he wrote.

Chaos rules Al Warqa amid deadly accidents

Al Warqa is the only place in Dubai where all kinds of fast vehicles and bikes can be found on the same road that is shared by pedestrians, and which has no regulatory barriers or signs of separation, wrote Sami Al Reyami in the Dubai-based Al Emirat Al Youm.

The area has become a symbol of chaos. No wonder so many deadly accidents take place in that area where 4×4 vehicles hit bicycles, the writer said.

The consequences are very costly. Two youngsters were killed last week after a car collided with their quad cycle. Last year, two young men died in the same area in a similar accident. Such accidents will happen again as long as the causes are still out there.

The area, which is divided by a high-speed road, has been designated for family camping, but recreational bikes and quad cycles have dominated the area.

The camping place has turned into an arena of bike stunts, which is a cause for concern. Recreational bikers should use designated, fenced-off areas, as is the case in other places across the Emirates.

The writer said the authorities are to blame for failing to place speed humps on the main road in Al Warqa, have the roadsides fenced to prevent bikes from entering the road, and to control young people.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk