x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Karzai's future looks bleaker each day

We have no doubt in our mind that the tears of the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, during a speech to promote education and peace in his country were genuine, declared the pan-Arab daily Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial.

We have no doubt in our mind that the tears of the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, during a speech to promote education and peace in his country were genuine, declared the pan-Arab daily Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial. During his address, Mr Karzai expressed the fear of seeing his son driven to emigrate one day due to poor security. He is well aware that a military solution for Afghanistan's crisis is now pointless. He realises that peaceful negotiations with the Taliban are the most logical, if not only, option at this point.

The flagrant lack of security in Afghanistan is driving thousands to leave, he admitted, while children are too frightened to go to school. Mr Karzai's mission to achieve peace through negotiations seems to be fraught with much difficulty. His repeated calls to the Taliban to participate in talks are to no avail. He has reasons to be pessimistic; he believes the Taliban resistance movement will win in the end and drive foreign forces out in defeat. His Afghan peace council will try to negotiate a power-sharing deal.

However, the Taliban are confident in a future victory. They can afford to refuse the president's advances or impose their own conditions to accept them. Experience has taught us that those who ride the tanks of occupation into power often leave with them.   

Mysterious motives for Hizbollah's posturing 

It could be the law of the bully. Israel preoccupies Hizbollah with aerial reconnaissance and threats of a new invasion and Hizbollah, in turn, preys on the March 14 group with constant attacks on the Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri and his ministers, commented Abdulraham al Rashed in the London-based newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

Hizbollah insists on abolishing the International Tribunal, but in return for what? It is clear that the party isn't prepared to prosecute any of its members or to relinquish its arms in exchange for halting the tribunal's proceedings. More importantly, Mr Hariri himself has no power to stop the tribunal even if he wished to do so. Why is Hizbollah waging this battle against the tribunal when no indictment has yet been issued? Even if one were to assume that members in the party would be named and accused, the accusations wouldn't touch the party's leadership.

Attempts to justify Hizbollah's preemptive strikes at the tribunal aren't plausible either. They claim the tribunal's decisions could lead to sectarian schisms, but that is exactly what the party is doing at the moment. Another explanation is that Hizbollah doesn't want to be depicted as a party that forsakes its own members. Others say the party is exploiting the situation to achieve political gains, which is a reasonable explanation for a heavily-armed party that has no respect for the law.

Arabs must counter Israeli media game 

Anne Frank's tree was planted in Montreal, Canada, and it made headlines in the western media, observed Hayat Hwayek Attiya in an opinion article for Jordanian daily Addustour. The tree is a chestnut tree that was mentioned in The Diary of Ann Frank, a book depicting the struggles of a Jewish teenager in hiding from Nazi forces during the Second World War. She later died in a concentration camp, but the tree remained.

It finally fell last August. However, the Jewish community had anticipated the loss of the iconic tree and removed a few of its branches for replanting in several cities around the world. One of the "holy" branches will be planted in the White House garden amid world acclaim. This event comes as part of systematic measures to revive the holocaust in world consciousness. It aims at evoking the West's guilt complex that compels it time after time to make amends by giving every possible support to Israel. It succeeds in creating a justification for Israel's practices in Palestine.

It is time for Arabs to catch on to this media game and counter it in kind. How many trees should fall and how many Mariams and Leilas must die in Palestine before media coverage can be attained? 

Nato's unity has become badly frayed 

In an article for Emirati daily Al Khaleej, columnist Saad Mehio wrote: "This year's Nato summit will not be like any of its predecessors." The main question on its agenda will be: is Nato still vital and effective all over the world?

The question is evidently existential. It wouldn't have been raised if the alliance that was designed following the collapse of the Soviet Union to be the world's cop hadn't stumbled in Iraq and fallen prey to hesitation and chaos in Afghanistan. Currently, with every passing day, member countries race to be the first to turn their backs on Nato's mission, leaving the US alone as the sole sheriff in the current world non-order.

Of course, no one expects the collapse of Nato yet, but their economic and political interests can no longer be summed up in the saying "the West against the whole world". In fact, the centre of global economic weight has sailed away from the Atlantic and dropped anchor at the shores of the Pacific, which is now host to more than half the world's production in goods and services and will soon be responsible for approximately two thirds of world trade as exemplified in China, Japan and India.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem