x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Tunisia's problem isn't only economic

In an article for the London-based daily Asharq al Awsat, columnist Abdulrahman al Rashed spoke of the recent turmoil in Tunisia, asking whether it was "just another bread crisis" or something more.

In an article for the London-based daily Asharq al Awsat, columnist Abdulrahman al Rashed spoke of the recent turmoil in Tunisia. "Protests against the state in Tunisia haven't stopped. Should we be worried about Tunisia or is this just another 'bread crisis' that eventually will be resolved with a bunch of promises and the use of force?"

Tunisia's problem is more political than economic. It goes beyond the frustration of the unemployed. The problem is that the government has lost credibility.

The economic situation that led to the explosion is bad, but it isn't as bad as one could imagine. Despite 13 per cent unemployment and poor resources, the economic growth rate exceeds that of neighbouring Algeria, one of the world's richest countries in oil and gas.

"Nonetheless, I don't believe that unemployment is the real problem, but the way it is being expressed. The political authority controls the government and monopolises responsibility. And because people in Tunisia regard elections as a political farce, the state's credibility is lost and unemployment becomes a medium of expression in the streets for want of another forum of expression."

The Tunisian state must realise that it has no alternative to granting people political satisfaction in a way that holds them too accountable for decisions and their repercussions.

 

The Algerian-Egyptian football crisis eases

The London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi hailed in its editorial the rational attitude of Egypt and Algeria to overcome their "football crisis", which had repercussions for their diplomatic relations.

The paper praised how both countries focused on culture as a key for convergence and harmony. In a symbolic move, the Algerian parliament offered its publications to the  Alexandria Library, while Egyptian writers and intellectuals led a campaign to collect 2,000 books to present to the Algerian people.

The Alexandria Library also hosted the famous Algerian novelist, Wasini al Araj, to share his literary experience with the Egyptian public.

"The football crisis between the two countries is ephemeral, because Algeria and Egypt always have had bonds of love and mutual history that outweigh a mere sport competition."

Yet it should be noted that some media from both sides added fuel to the fire. They trespassed professional ethics by leading smear campaigns against each other.

Perhaps the visit made by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to Algiers last May has helped in appeasing hard feelings, and initiating the hoped for reconciliation.

The newspaper also reviewed the long historical relations between the two countries, citing how they supported each other during the Algerian war of independence.

 

Nato's new strategy finally pays off

In the past few months, intelligence reports have frequently talkd about the gains the Taliban achieved at the expense of Nato forces in Afghanistan, but the situation has changed, observed Mazen Hammad in a commentary for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.

According to a report by The New York Times, quoted by the writer, the Haqqani group, which is the strongest Taliban militia, was not able to undertake any large-scale operation during the last seven months thanks to a crackdown on its activities by special American commandos.

But these achievements were not made public, as the White House feared they would affect the new war strategy in place, although it maintained a secret report on such successes.

Nato officials attributed the the successes to many factors, mainly increasing the number of operations against rebels, mostly the Haqqani group, by six times. In the last three months, the US forces carried out 1,784 missions, which led to the death and the imprisonment of 880 militants.

As well as increasing the number of American troops in eastern Afghanistan together with Afghan forces, large-scale intelligence work around Kabul has helped in paralysing the capacity of the group.

The writer concluded that by targeting this group Nato will be more able to control the situation not only in Afghanistan, but also in northern Pakistan.

 

Oslo Accords do not benefit Palestinians

Israel's greatest gain in the Oslo Accords was the Palestine Liberation Organisation's recognition, which led to forsaking resistance in exchange for the birth of a Palestinian Authority, says the Emirati daily Al Khaleej in its editorial.

For that cause, the PLO modified its national covenant to suit the recognition of the state of Israel. It had to forsake Palestine of 1948 and the historic right of the Palestinian people. In recognising Israel, the PLO renounced the right of resisting occupation and attempting to regain one's land.

In spite of all these painful concessions, and despite the fact that the accords benefited Israel and cost the Palestinians great losses, Israel still didn't implement any of the agreed commitments; a genuine national authority wasn't created and the occupation wasn't removed.

Israeli leaders, especially the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have repeatedly announced that they consider the Oslo Accords are void, so why should the Palestinian Authority hold on to them? Shouldn't it go back on the many concessions it had to make, namely the recognition of the state of Israel?

This present authority must be substituted by the will of the Palestinian people who should make their choices and decisions on their own, says the newspaper.

 

melmouloudi@thenational.ae