x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Tehran is the main winner in the US’s Middle East shift

The US has granted Iran what it wanted: a right to get a nuclear bomb, argues Taoufik Bouachrine in an opinion article in the Morocco-based newspaper Akhbar Al Youm. Other Digest topics: Israel, jihadists

Iranian leaders obtained what they wanted from the US and the European Union at the Geneva nuclear talks: an international recognition of Iran’s nuclear programme, argued Taoufik Bouachrine in an opinion article in the Morocco-based newspaper Akhbar Al Youm.

The negotiations were mainly focused on the pace with which Iranians have sought to get a nuclear bomb, the writer said. This is a major breakthrough for Iran that has long invested in the region and now the time has come for it to reap the benefits.

Tel Aviv is angry over the Geneva agreement, and so are the Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, which is concerned about the repercussions of the upcoming honeymoon between Tehran and Washington, Bouachrine wrote.

Saudi Arabia fears that the thaw is a prelude to greater Iranian influence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and even in Saudi Arabia. In the latter, Shiite minorities that are not far from oil wells are consumed with bitterness because of being deprived of oil revenues and being regarded with scepticism in a country where strong Wahhabism is particularly antagonistic to them.

The US policy towards the Middle East and the world at large is clearly shifting. The world’s most powerful nation has miserably failed in all its military interventions, suffering huge losses in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, even its bet on the Arab revolutions ended with it accepting a military coup ending a democratically elected regime in Egypt.

Now the US is gradually withdrawing itself from the armed conflicts in the Middle East. This is why President Barack Obama refused to strike Syria, referring a decision to Congress. He also accepted a deal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, although those weapons will be useless in upcoming wars.

America is tired of leading the world, at least militarily. The former US president, George W Bush, got the country entangled in two losing wars and thereafter to a crushing economic crisis. The Obama administration vowed it would get Americans out of these troubles. The recession has started to abate in the last two years, and now it is time to pull the military machine out of the Middle East.

This is why the US secretary of state John Kerry has, over the past two months, been keen to talk with Iranian officials and reach a deal, even if Iran benefits. What matters to the US at this point is shifting its Middle East policy, not stopping Iran from owning a nuclear bomb, the writer noted.

Both Russia and Iran grabbed the golden opportunity. The former by filling the immense strategic void the United States has left in the Middle East, and the latter by understanding that the perfect time to negotiate with the enemy is when it has no bullets left in it gun.

Israel again reveals its politics of deceit

It seems that the Netanyahu government, which has adopted the policy of talks for the sake of talks to snatch more Palestinian territories, hasn’t had its fill yet. It has decided to turn its attention to the Palestinians as subjects of its apartheid policies through the infamous Praver Plan, noted the Dubai-based daily Al Bayan in its editorial on Tuesday.

The plan that the government passed in June aims to forcibly relocate 70,000 Bedouins from the territories they have inhabited since before the creation of the state of Israel and to confiscate their land.

“It is only normal that the Palestinian Territories flared up as implementation plans were announced, bringing to mind the Galilee judaisation operations that led to the 1976 intifada that awakened the concept of resistance in the Palestinian psyche,” the paper said.

Israel revealed its racist face when it was appointed as a state for Jews.

This means non-Jews living in Israel would be seen as second-class citizens.

It is clear that Israel is taking advantage of the Arab world’s preoccupation with regional and international issues to try, slyly, to impose changes on the ground as “faits accomplis”.

But the Palestinian resurgence, which uncovered their schemes, surprised decision-makers in Tel Aviv.

Concern rises over jihadists in Syria

The surge of European Mujahideen who have been flocking to Syria to fight alongside extremist groups and against the Assad regime is raising concerns in the West, suggested the columnist Mashari Al Zaydi in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.

The main concern in Germany, the UK and other European countries is that these militants wouldn’t give up their activities when they return to their respective countries. Lawmakers at the UK House of Commons recently expressed concern that they could become victims of terrorist attacks in their country or in any part of Europe.

“Europe isn’t alone in raising the alarm over the threats of international terrorism in Syria. Countries in the Middle East too share the same concerns,” the writer said.

In the beginning of the Syrian war, Al Qaeda’s activities didn’t have any real value in Syria. The rhetoric back then was purely revolutionary and patriotic.

The Free Syrian Army was the only opposition force on the battlefield and radical Islamist groups were nowhere to be found.

“After three years, and with over 100,000 fatalities and millions of people displaced, Syria has become a magnet for the world’s jihadists with blue, black and brown eyes,” he added.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk