x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

A transparent Turkey counters US policy

In a commentary in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan, Ahmad Amrabi reviews growing US anger towards Turkey's government.

In a commentary in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan, Ahmad Amrabi reviews growing US anger towards Turkey's government.

To understand the American attitude, Amrabi drew parallels to a similar stance taken by the US against Egypt during the rule of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Neither a Marxist, nor a radical Islamist, Nasser simply acted in line with his country's supreme national interests. He also pursued an aggressive policy against Israel.

For similar reasons, Amrabi suggests the US has developed a hostile view against Turkey's ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP). The rise of the AKP to power thanks to wide popular support had ended an era of military rule. The former regime had traditionally been supported by the US as it had maintained close relations with Israel, and suppressed liberation movements.

Under the AKP, Turkey has ushered a new phase in it's modern history, with Ankara adopting a more open policy with its neighbours. This has laid the groundwork for better strategic, economic and political relations with Syria and Iran. It also continues to support the Palestinian cause, which further distances it from Israel.

US anger is easy to understand. Above all else, Washington values Israel's security and continues to ensure its absolute supremacy in the region, even when that conflicts with US national interests.

 

Palestinian leaders pay lip service to people

"Several months ago, a senior member of the Palestinian Authority [PA] threatened to dissolve the party if Israeli occupation authorities expelled thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank on grounds of illegal residence," writes Yaser al Zaatra in an opinion piece for the Jordanian newspaper Addustoor.

And now, the PA's president himself, Mahmoud Abbas, has threatened similar action in response to the US failure to persuade Benjamin Netanyahu's government to freeze settlement expansion, despite incentives that could be seen as rewards.

Mr Abbas questioned called the PA's current state a "farce".

These pronouncements would concern Israel only if they are genuine in nature. However, the monotony of these threats is increasingly being viewed as hot air, giving the Israelis every reason to infer that the Palestinian leaders are merely paying lip service to their people.

In reality, it would be impossible to dissolve the authority given the existence of an army of civil and military employees, while some leading figures enjoy immense privileges within the occupation circles.

A better, and probably more feasible, option for the Palestinian leaders would be an end to the security coordination between Israel and the PA, thus allowing the popular resistance to act freely. Such a threat would make Israel think twice before continuing to allow new settlements to be built.

 

Sudan needs to benefit from the referendum

"In less than one month, Sudan will hold a referendum. It is a period to resolve all outstanding issues between the South and the North, noted the UAE newspaper Akhbar al Arab.

The crisis between the two parts of the country was once possible to resolve, which would have made unity more attractive for all Sudanese. But the trend now is for separation.

One month is not enough to solve the stalemate, unless the parties willingly agree to reach a compromise, especially regarding the Abyei question: the province is strategic to all as an oil field and an area of overlap between northern and southern tribes.

Many political actors as well as foreign bodies have tried to address the pending issues in the run-up to the referendum, while others campaigned for postponing it.

Now as the secession is just around the corner, the government in the South has already prepared the population psychologically to vote for it. It also accused the northern government of being less active in building bridges of trust between the North and the South, and in failing in making unity more attractive to all parties. That is why most Sudanese now expect southerners to choose separation.

Yet irrespective of the results, both parts of the country must work together and make the referendum a basis of mutual trust and a new prospect for fruitful cooperation.

 

Cultural work should be promoted in GCC

"On the eve of every GCC summit, we recall the truth that the Arabian Gulf constitutes indeed one geographical, cultural and psychological entity that preceded the creation of the Council," observed Hasan Madan in an opinion article for the UAE newspaper Al Khaleej.

The group found an existing basis for it, a geographical sphere across which the Gulf population used to move freely. The Council came to systemise the relations between its member states and laid down an institutional framework for their relations.

"Perhaps it is still early to talk about a union of thinkers in the Gulf , but we can think of some form of organisations to address challenges facing the cultural work, mainly the dominance of the consumerist behaviour in all walks of life in the Gulf communities, affecting both the social structures and spiritual realms."

There is an increasing tendency towards an easy life, and the propagation of "get-rich-quick" mores, and an assumption that the region is "soulless".

Unfortunately, our academics and thinkers are not engaged with addressing the pressing cultural problems and the civilisational challenges facing our societies.

 

* Digest compiled by Moustapha el Mouloudi

melmouloudi@thenational.ae