x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Separation of Sudan should be tolerated

In a commentary for the Jordanian newspaper Addustoor, Khaled al Harroub exhorted Arabs to adopt a more positive attitude towards the separation of Sudan as long as southerners are determined to establish their independent state.

In a commentary for the Jordanian newspaper Addustoor, Khaled al Harroub exhorted Arabs to adopt a more positive attitude towards the separation of Sudan as long as southerners are determined to establish their independent state.

"Arab countries should contain the expected new state of southern state by not rejecting it, as this may prompt it to seek support from other powers like Israel… Arabs rather should seize this opportunity to provide assistance to the South, as it would face immense challenges… Both the Arab league and the GCC need to act swiftly by financially supporting the forthcoming state before Europe, US and Israel do."

This step is a better alternative than exchanging accusations and seeding animosity. The best policy is to foster good relations and promote cooperation with the South in order to befriend its people.

Additionally, if ever the South of Sudan were dealt with as an enemy by the government in the North, revenge policies would prevail, causing the two states to plunge into an endless antagonism. After all, a unity of a country should be based on a consensus among its various constituents.

Sudan and neighbouring Arab countries are both required now to respect the outcome of the referendum. Therefore, if southerners choose separation, they should be helped in the process of establishing their state, and be considered an economic and political partner.


Algeria and Morocco key to Sahara dispute

Laayoune incidents were deadly, and were followed by a media war between Algeria and Morocco, yet they should have been an opportunity for the two countries to solve one of the most complicated inter-Arab conflicts, wrote Abdul Rahman al Rashed in a commentary for the pan-Arab daily Asharq al Awsat.

Over the past decades, it has become apparent that the Sahara dispute was in fact a problem between two countries: Morocco and Algeria. Western Sahara is the only place, except Palestine, that is claimed by two sides. On the one hand, Algeria wants an independent state, while Morocco desires to keep it within its own borders.

In this way, we can understand why the Polisario Front has failed in drawing Arab public opinion to its side.

The Sahara dispute has always remained the bone of contention between Algeria and Morocco, which prevented them fron engaing in healthy neighbour relations.

This is because any solution to the Sahara dispute depends largely on the attitude of these countries and less on talks held overseas in places such as New York. It is worth noting that Morocco agreed to an enlarged autonomy status of the Western Sahara under its sovereignty.


Karzai's remarks draw heat from US officials

When allies bicker and quarrel in newspapers and television, it becomes annoying, alarming and embarrassing for everyone involved, observes the columnist Mazen Hammad in an article for the Qatari daily Al Watan.

This has been happening in Afghanistan for some time, but a recent statement by President Hamid Karzai caused a stir among Americans, civilian and military alike that drew sharp critique.

The White House and Nato had to defend the US against unprecedented verbal attacks by Mr Karzai, who publicly criticised western military operations in his country and called for the downsizing of foreign forces operating in Afghanistan.

Mr Karzai didn't stop at that. He went on to accuse the West of excessive interference in Afghan affairs, which in his opinion, threatens to undermine the military effort and weaken Nato's position. Despite that, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton adamantly supported the US air raids against the Taliban, which Mr Karzai said are increasing Afghan animosity towards the western alliance and promoting the Taliban's power.

Mr Karzai's government attempted to mitigate the damage caused by the president's statements, saying that he has absolute confidence in General Petraus and that his speech was in the context of a power transfer plan. At the same time, US sources confirmed that the US doesn't have an escape strategy from Afghanistan but rather a power transfer strategy.


Israel's new airplanes not just for defence

In an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Khaleej, Saad Mehio wrote that the F-35 aircrafts offered to Israel by the US are less likely to be used for defensive missions only.

Because of its cutting-edge technology and its capacity to carry large loads of "smart bombs", the F-35 is an offensive aircraft par excellence. It will ensure Israel an "overwhelming air superiority" in the region.

"But what is the value of this deal, which the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu strove hard to obtain it in return for a partial freeze of settlement activities in the West Bank for three months?" asks the columnist.

The "offering" is far larger than what Israel will provide in return, and might be part of an early plan the Israelis started two years ago to pile up as many weapons as possible at different military bases on land and on the sea. "Of course, Israel is less likely to use these arms against Hamas birds, but against Iranian bids of prey."

In this regard, Amos Harel, a leading Israeli media expert on military and defence issues, wrote that what is going on is more than freezing some settlement sites, but rather is a kind of a deal between Washington and Tel Aviv to contain the Iranian nuclear programme.



* Digest compiled by Moustapha El Mouloudi