x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Finding humour in the WikiLeaks release

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resorted to humour to avoid the embarrassment that WikiLeaks' latest stunt caused the United States, observes columnist Mazen Hammad in an article for the Qatari daily Al Watan.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resorted to humour to avoid the embarrassment that WikiLeaks' latest stunt caused the United States, observes columnist Mazen Hammad in an article for the Qatari daily Al Watan.

Had the countries that were the target of criticism and abuse been states such as North Korea or Iran, there wouldn't have been any embarrassment. But the problem in this case is that allied states were blatantly criticised, which explains Mrs Clinton's apparent discomfort while she was apologising to Britain.

After expressing her deep respect and admiration for Britain, she humorously quoted one of her counterparts as saying: "You should see what we say about you!"

If the US diplomats aren't happy with Britain's incompetent political and military roles, they didn't hesitate either in denigrating the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who the US ambassador to Kabul described as weak and unfamiliar with the basics of rule.

This comes at the wake of a previous communication that dismissed Mr Karzai as a convenient strategic partner.

And while the Pakistani ruling elite continued to deal with the repercussions of the WikiLeaks disclosures, the crisis carried on in Germany causing the discharge of the foreign minister's office manager who was accused of treason for informing the US embassy in Berlin about chancellor Merkel's every move.


How to compel a nuclear-free Mideast

There is only one way to compel Israel to relinquish its nuclear arsenal: Arab states must start a nuclear armament race in the Middle East that would force the US and world countries to seek to rid our region of weapons of mass destruction, proposes columnist Jihad al Khazen in London-based daily Al Hayat.

"Any other proposition is a delusion". Israel, with its nuclear arsenal, would remain a threat to Arabs and Muslims in every country unless the Arab states were to follow in Iran's steps in attempting to possess nuclear weapons as a way to force the US and other supporters of Israel to work effectively to solve the nuclear issue in the Middle East region.

"Iran claims its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but I don't believe that. In fact, I hope Iran is lying and the programme is military and successful. In this case, Arab states would have a strong reason to launch their own nuclear programmes."

Israel never admitted to owning a large nuclear arsenal and Iran would never renounce its programme. All the while, the world is focusing on Iran, which still doesn't have the bomb and turns a blind eye to Israel.

What are Arab states doing about the Israel's existing capability and the Iranian's looming one? Nothing. And, as evidenced by the WikiLeaks documents, there is still no Arab plan to ward off the danger from Israel or Iran.


Mutual cooperation is key to Lebanon crisis

Prior and subsequent to his last foreign tour, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri launched a series of remarkable ideas, most important of which was affirming his total openness to any Arab, regional or domestic effort to escape the predicament of the anticipated indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, says columnist Samir Mansour in an article for Lebanese daily Annahar.

But Mr Hariri's positions must be met with similar measures. He cannot be expected to come up with a solution on his own, nor can the same be expected from Hizbollah.

In Iran, Hariri reaffirmed his insistence on building the best relationships possible with the Syrian command; his utter commitment to the Saudi-Syrian "Arab umbrella"; and Iran's supporting efforts.

Finding a way out of the indictment and its repercussions is the main title of the present stage.

While polemics rage on among Lebanese politicians, ambassadors of Iran and Syria in Lebanon are giving an example of what must be done to avoid the impending danger. Just recently, the Iranian ambassador performed Friday prayer behind the Sunni Mufti of Lebanon before he went on to give his respect at the tomb of former PM Rafiq Hariri. In the meantime, Syrian ambassador Ali Abdul Karim was diffusing hopes for a successful end to the Saudi-Syrian efforts.


The fingerprints of WikiLeaks emerging

Are the fingerprints of the perpetrators, or at least one of the perpetrators, behind the WikiLeaks disclosures starting to unveil? asks columnist Mazen Hammad in an article for Qatari daily Al Watan.

It would seem so.

First, consider the explicit declaration by the deputy chairman of the Turkish Justice and Development Party claiming that Israel designed the leaking of hundreds of thousands of confidential US documents "as part of a conspiracy to pressure the Turkish government".

A second indication appeared in Russian Prime Minister's interview on CNN, as he said he believed that the leaking of secret documents was deliberately supported and exaggerated in the aim of exploitation for political objectives, Mr Putin didn't name Israel, but Russian media abounded all week with reports that point at Tel Aviv.

The third indicator came from the founder of WikiLeaks himself. In an interview with Time magazine, Mr Assange praised Israeli PM Netanyahu as a model world leader who believes that publishing documents would help in international diplomacy.

An inspection of what has been published so far confirms that all roads lead to Tel Aviv in this matter.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem