x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Millions of Moroccans rally to defend Sahara

According to official reports, two-and-a-half million people took to the streets of Casablanca on Sunday  to protest against a resolution by the European Parliament in which it strongly condemned the violent incidents that occurred in Izik Akdim camp in disputed Sahara, reported  the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

According to official reports, two-and-a-half million people took to the streets of Casablanca on Sunday  to protest against a resolution by the European Parliament (EP) in which it strongly condemned the violent incidents that occurred in Izik Akdim camp in disputed Sahara, reported  the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

Protesters came from  all over Morocco to express a national consensus on the Moroccan identity of Sahara.

The EP decision marked the second diplomatic crisis in the last twenty years. The first dated back to 1992 when the EP voted against the financial cooperation protocol between Morocco and the European Union for political reasons.

Yet Ahmed al Zaidi, an MP, said that the latest diplomatic developments should not be seen as a crisis between the EU and Morocco but as a conflict between Rabat and some European right-wing parties on the Sahara issue. "The EP's decision does not reflect the EU stance, because it is lobbied mainly by the right-wing Spanish Popular Party.

Unions also had called for a strike against Spanish companies in Morocco in protest, but it was later suspended after the government intervened in order to lessen the rising tension between the two countries.

 

Korea's conflict has wide repercussions

The crisis between North Korea and its southern neighbour has many implications for international relations, and especially for the balance of power in the Middle East despite the physical distance between the two regions, noted the Saudi newspaper Al Watan in its editorial.

The crisis, which has its roots in the ongoing dispute between the two countries since the Korea War in the 1950s, is also a site of an undeclared conflict between the US and China for geopolitical influence. Thus, this competition may eventually expand to affect other regions in the world.

While North Korea depends largely on Chinese support, South Korea is a strong ally of the US. The special relationship Washington has had with Seoul prompted the US president Barack Obama to state that his country would intervene if the crisis was exacerbated. This implies also that the US attitude is likely to be of an offensive nature, driven by a strong desire to contain the North Korean nuclear programme.

For their part, Russia and China, given their interrelated economic and strategic relations with Iran, are likely to stand by Tehran in a way that protects their strategic interests.

Additionally, any American military intervention will also affect the way the US handles the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq, if not its foreign policies world-wide.

 

Stricter traffic laws needed for safety

In an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan, Maysa Ghadeer wrote that photos of radar-jamming devices and SMSs promoting these products were exchanged through mobiles among motorists.

The Dubai traffic police denied it had caught any car using such a device to jam road radar. The department said it was vigilant to detect methods that speeding drivers may use to circumvent radar and avoid fines.

"While we appreciate the statement of the traffic department, we cannot deny the circulation of photos of gadgets through BlackBerrys that can automatically hide the car licence plate so it cannot be detected."

These photos are evidence of the existence of these apparatuses and their use by some, even though the users and dealers have not been caught yet. The traffic department, however, admitted that some motorists tend to alter the form of their cars' plates by removing a number or a code or by changing the shape of individual digits.

Violators of the law must be strictly charged in accordance with the law, because their acts jeopardise the lives of others. Unfortunately, the UAE tops the world's list of traffic accidents.

 

Khartoum needs to fight separation

In a commentary for the Qatari daily Al Watan, Hassan Younes argued that the self-determination referendum in Sudan can be the outcome of a conspiracy that aims to deny it from benefitting from its potential wealth and expanding development programmes.

It is true that the South has been neglected for a long time, and so its population should have a say about their future and gain more rights. "Yet, the issue may be a plot to divide Sudan and further weaken its position. If the West really cared about empowering southerners and granting them human rights, it could do so in favour of the Palestinians in the first place, and help them establish their independent state."

Arab and other African states should assume their responsibility to help Sudan to consolidate its position by all acceptable means, especially since the self-determination plan has been geared towards one purpose: secession. What is planned in the South is a true conspiracy imposed on the population there. And for this reason, Khartoum reserves the right to intervene to take the measures it deems necessary to put things in the right order.

The danger comes from the implications of separation, if it happens. It will set a precedent that will entice other provinces to follow the same path.

 

* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi

melmouloudi@thenational.ae