x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Situation in Lebanon calls for wise restraint

A recent report by the Canadian CBC network about investigations into the assassination of Rafiq Hariri announced that the long-awaited indictment will soon be issued, commented Daoud Al Sharyan in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

A recent report by the Canadian CBC network about investigations into the assassination of the former Lebanese leader Rafiq Hariri announced that the long-awaited indictment has in fact been drafted. It will soon be issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, commented Daoud Al Sharyan in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

Leaks in the media had before only referred to the indictment as a concept, but the Canadian network reported it as fact.

The CBC report revealed that an indictment naming Hizbollah is imminent, and the solution cannot be discounted as "a conspiracy to destroy Lebanon".

No one in Lebanon or in the region could stop the publication of the findings. Add to that, those who state that the tribunal is politicised resort to political measures in challenging it. But what Hizbollah has been doing until now has nothing to do with politics; it is merely a form of harassment with serious implications on the country.

Time isn't in the interest of Lebanon. Hizbollah is capable of perpetrating a coup that would bring about a government. But these procedures will not hold off war. Hizbollah now needs political courage and wisdom that could protect the country and its own existence.


Ahmadinejad's plan for marriage is wrong

Last Ramadan, the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bravely began implementing his policy of gradually un-subsidising goods, which drove up prices of petrol and diesel, wrote Abdul Rahman Al Rashed in London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.

In his most recent appearance, the controversial president opted for a new kind of battle by proposing to lower the legal marrying age to 16 from 26 in order to increase the country's population.

"It seems the president is using the population issue to distract Iranians from their new plight, the high cost of living, as he fears a growing active internal political opposition," the paper said.

Mr Ahmadinejad chose to oppose his country's standing birth control policy, encouraging Iranians to adopt a new policy of early marriage and breeding. He claims an increase in the population would yield a stronger nation.

Iranians are energetic, hard working people. Women have been able to achieve successes within their own community far more than what can be seen in most Arab countries, despite strict religious constraints. Women are an essential element in Iran's economic power.

If Iranian youths were to respond to the president's early marriage suggestion, the outcome would be a demographic explosion with limited success.


No celebration of Nato's decisions

Now that the curtain is down on Nato's "carnivals" in Lisbon, the question remains: What are the alliance's real achievements outside celebration halls? The columnist Saad Mehio poses this question in an article for Emirati daily Al Khaleej.

Nato's happy leaders feel that they have achieved a great feat by adjoining Russia to the Atlantic European missile shield, protecting Europe and North America from an Iranian missile threat. However, a close look at these achievements reveals that they are somehow empty.

It is true that the agreement with Russia is a rare moment in its relationship with the West, but this does not mean that Russia is now part of the Atlantic security fabric; there are still some complicated technicalities that require clarifications, such as Moscow's request to hold veto right on when and how the missile shield would be used.

As for the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, it did not in fact call for celebration. The decision to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014 before reversing Taliban gains or reaching a concession with them is an admittance that this adventure was a fiasco.

The one item that the Nato leaders can be proud of is the new strategic concept. But the real question that wasn't raised during the Lisbon summit was, what will be Europe's role in this new world that is forming?


Japanese leader is punch-line of his joke

The Japanese minister of justice Minoru Yanagida didn't imagine that a few sentences of his speech to supporters in Hiroshima would eventually force him to resign, observes columnist Mazen Hammad in an article for the Qatari daily Al Watan. Now the joke is on him.

Mr Yanagida had to bow before mounting pressure and step down under accusations of undermining the parliamentary process through his gaffe as he described his job as minister as "easy".

The justice minister, a member of the Democratic Party of Japan tried to resist calls for his resignation, claiming that his mistake does not warrant an end to his political career, although many think that his speech was very derogatory.

In his joke, the minister said he only has to remember two phrases that he could use in parliament whenever he's stuck for an answer. The statement was attacked as by his opponents who threatened to boycott an important discussion about a $53 billion (Dh194bn) dollar deal benefiting the needy, unless he resigns.

This issue shows how careful officials in public office must be with what they say. The minister, in his eagerness to hear applause for his joke, had to pay with his political life.


* Digest compiled by Racha Markem