x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Mistakes cost Iraqiyya the leadership of Iraq

In an opinion article for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat, Muaad Fayad wrote about various causes that led to the failure of the Iraqiyya alliance in Iraq to form the new government.

In an opinion article for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat, Muaad Fayad wrote about various causes that led to the failure of the Iraqiyya alliance in Iraq to form the new government.

Some analysts argued that the Iranian role was omnipresent and worked against Iraqiyya's leader, Iyad Allawi, to hold the position of the prime minister. According to this view, Tehran was strongly opposed to the empowerment of Sunnis through Iraqiyya. Others attributed its failure to a lack of a clear strategy by its leadership to enter into more political coalitions to reinforce its position after the legislative election.

This situation served well the the National Alliance led by the incumbent prime minister, Nouri al Maliki. He also benefitted from implicit support from the US, said a senior member of Iraqiyya under condition of anonymity.

In a phone interview with the paper, he said that Shiite parties, which were backed by Iran, were determined throughout the process of forming the government to keep the post of the prime minister. In this, they took advantage of the support from some Kurdish parties.

One mistake, he said, made by Iraqiyya was to forego its boycott of a government headed by Mr al Maliki. This happened when the alliance came under pressure from the US and out of a personal desire of its members to have a share in the government "cake".


US complies with Israeli demands

"It appears that the efforts made by the US to resume direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government has started to bear fruit," noted the London-based newspaper AlQuds al Arabi in its editorial.

According to news reports, the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded in striking a deal with the American administration. And no sooner had he returned from his visit to Washington, then Mr Netanyahu convened a security meeting to discuss the military and political guarantees he was promised.

As leaked by the Israeli press, the deal with Washington includes free F-35 aircraft and missiles. It also includes a pledge to veto any future international controls over Israel's nuclear reactors and any attempt to de-legitimise Israel in international venues.

Israel, in return, has to freeze its settlement activities for three months in the West Bank only.

"The American offer to Mr Netanyahu's government is more dangerous than the partial freeze of settlement expansion. It means that the US has fully complied with Israeli conditions."

And since there is no indication that the Palestinians and the Israelis would reach an agreement if they enter into talks, it is possible that Mr Netanyahu would ask for a new package of guarantees.


Yes for democracy in Doha Debates

In a commentary for the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat, Kassim Hussain wrote about the last episode of Doha Debates broadcast from Qatar last Wednesday.

"When I entered the hall, I kept watching the arrival of the participants, who are, for the most part, high school and university students, Arabs and Muslims but also many foreigners." After the keynote guests finished arguing their points of view regarding the idea of money versus free elections and the viability of democracy and free elections in the Middle East in general and the Gulf region in particular, the young audience presented their opinions and posed questions.

The audience was representative of a young generation who speaks the global language - English - and harnesses information technology for better communication across cultures and beyond the strict patriarchal and political and social control.

At the end of the show, the motion "This House would prefer money to free elections" was resoundingly defeated by a majority of 63 per cent. "This is an important indicator of the general tendencies of the young generation, when they are given the opportunity to express their opinions freely."

The Doha Debates, broadcast by the BBC, follows a British tradition of inviting speakers with different opinions to argue about a theme, after which the audience is given a say by voting.


Corruption damages the Egyptian economy

In its ediorial, the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram quoted a study by the Transparency and Integrity Committee, which revealed that about 70,000 cases of corruption are registered every year in Egypt. "This is alarming," noted the paper.

This figure reveals that corruption is on a steady rise at various levels of public administration, which poses great challenges for the government to address this deadly "cancer".

"There is a general consensus on the necessity to fight this phenomenon by reviewing remuneration policies. A strong and bold step should be taken to curb disparities in the wage scale because that is the essence of the problem."

It should be noted that corruption starts with a public servant, who is paid less than his basic needs, giving him every reason to accept bribes. Additionally, complicated bureaucracy and laws open the door for corruption, which has become commonplace.

The phenomenon has far-reaching effects. It cripples honest companies from operating smoothly in Egypt. Some foreign organisations start to calculate the damage caused by corruption, saying it is a serious obstacle for the flow of foreign capital into the country for the prosperity of tourism.


* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi