x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Rattling the sabres

Netanyahu's fallacious speech amounts to a call for war on Iran, an Arabic language columnist writes in today's roundup. Other topics: historic chance for the two Sudans, and a love for winter.

Netanyahu's fallacious speech amounts to a call to war on Iran, but that will be 'no picnic'

In his blatantly arrogant speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, lectured about morals, justice and human rights, and called on the international community to rescue the Jews from Iran and its alleged nuclear weaponry. But no one was impressed by the lying lecturer, commented Abdel Bari Atwan in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.

"No one was impressed by his crude graphic … depicting Iran's nuclear bomb, on which he drew red lines," the writer noted.

"For Mr Netanyahu, extremism is equivalent to Islamic extremism, and civilisation is peculiar to the Jews and Israelis."

Mr Netanyahu, who professes to care about peace and security in the region, glossed over the Palestinian cause. The only mention of it was made when he dismissed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's "weak and pathetic" address as libellous.

"Mr Netanyahu's statement ... is a call - or, at best, a prelude - to war," the writer said. "He declared diplomacy and economic sanctions pointless and explicitly compared Iran's nuclear threat to Israel, Europe and the world to the Nazi threat."

The writer added: "We do not need Mr Netanyahu or anyone else to lecture us and the entire world on the danger of Iran's nuclear programme, because the real, not hypothetical, danger that is threatening us is the Israeli nuclear warheads".

During Israel's history, its state terrorism that has caused suffering to Palestinians, and it was Israel's unconventional weapons that burnt Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip, he said.

"Mr Netanyahu's commodity is fake, his arguments fabricated, and we have not seen any implementation in the Middle East of the principles of liberty, modernity and human rights which he said the Jewish people have offered to humanity," the writer observed.

Iran insists to this moment that its programme is for peaceful purposes, but "what is wrong if it turns into military purposes when Israel has already nuclear weapons, and so do other countries such as India, Pakistan, Russia and China"?

The common argument against Iran and Arab countries possessing nuclear weapons is the fear that dictatorial regimes might use them, while only democracies should. However, the US was a democracy when it dropped two atom bombs on Japan, although the latter had already admitted defeat, he noted.

He said Egypt was now a democracy, so "why can Egypt not possess nuclear weaponry as per the US and Israeli specifications"?

Such threats will not intimidate Iran. The US tried aggression on Iraq and Afghanistan and it ended in failure, the writer noted.

"Netanyahu is playing with fire, and fire will not only burn his fingers but all his body, because a war on Iran will be no picnic."

Sudan-South Sudan deal could be historic

The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan did well to sign a deal that could be the building block of a reconciliation process and normalisation of relations, noted the UAE-based paper Al Bayan in an editorial.

"This limited agreement between the two parties could restore trust, almost lost for good during clashes in Abyei and other border areas," the editorial said.

Experience has shown that the opening of a new front will benefit neither party, and "the oil wealth, a main cause of the crisis, will avail none except the flames of war that will leave nothing undevoured".

To be sure, South Sudan is in need of large amounts of money to achieve development and establish the infrastructure for an embryonic state.

Meanwhile, Sudan "should take some rest from all the opened fronts and unhealed wounds", the editorial observed.

Peace and dialogue remain the optimal solutions. Escalation and taking up arms can only breed more woes, and loss of life and resources that are crucial to achieve progress.

An organic relationship between the two states in regard to oil is practically inevitable: the south's oil pipeline passes through the north, and seeking a third party would not be practical.

No doubt, many citizens from both states look forward to friendly ties, and this deal, with good intentions, could be a historic one.

A love for the winter despite its damage

"My feelings of safety and comfort for the summer do not negate my intense love for the winter despite its emotional damage on me, wrote Omar Taher in the Cairo-based daily Al Tahrir.

"As a rule, we love the things that hurt us … we love the winter, staying up late, smoking, the other sex, solitude and writing," he said.

"I love the winter despite my weak immunity … I love it despite its treacherous sun, the absence of which closes all the pores of the soul. I love it despite its winds that cut TV transmission for days, despite the arduous walk from the warm shower to the room, and despite its long, solitude-laden night," he noted.

The writer said he loves the winter's accessories - the boots, the wool socks and the mufflers - and also the sight of people in the rain, the sight of people wearing woollen gloves, which are reminiscent of school days. But, he added: "I hate the mud I take home at the end of the day."

"I feel safe in the summer, but I cannot deny my affection for the winter. I love it so much that I prematurely wear heavier clothing."

"I love the winter so much that I listen exclusively to Fairuz's songs … and nostalgically scent its breeze in the balcony at night," the writer concluded


* Digest compiled by Abdelhafid Ezzouitni