x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

The rise and fall of roles in Lebanon

The Saudi minister of foreign affairs, Saud Al Faisal, told the Dubai-based channel Al Arabiya that a new phase of relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia has began.

"The Turkish-Qatari role regarding the political crisis in Lebanon is less likely to fill the gap left by the Saudis and Syrians," commented Satae Noureddine in an opinion piece for the Lebanese newspaper Assafir.

Acute tension is likely, while the balance of powers among Lebanese forces themselves might be measured by more than security and military might alone.

The Saudi minister of foreign affairs, Saud Al Faisal, told the Dubai-based channel Al Arabiya that a new phase of relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia has began, one that may radically affect the situation in Lebanon.

Turkey and Qatar moved in on the basis of this prediction, which many Lebanese have misunderstood by thinking that the Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, and the Turkish minister of foreign affairs, Ahmet Davutoglu, are simply trying to revive the Syrian-Saudi endeavour.

Meanwhile, Ankara and Doha implicitly suggested that Riyadh and Damascus were competing with each other for regional supremacy. "While both ministers could not express their urgent aim of containing the tension between Syria and Saudi Arabia, they called on different Lebanese forces to calm down and to comply with the Doha Accord.

To seek areconciliation between Riyadh and Damascus is perhaps required more than a dialogue between Saad Hariri and Hassan Nasrallah or with other allies.

Iraq needs more than security to foil suicides

"Suicide bombers resemble each other in many aspects. They feel frustrated and miserable," noted the UAE newspaper Akhbar Al Arab in its editorial.

This is the case of suicides because of unemployment, hunger, and fear of the future. With this state of mind, bombers are not ready mentally to face future challenges. They instead plunge themselves into a depressive mood and then take their lives and those of others.

Iraq still suffers from suicide attacks, which aim at spreading terror and prolonging a system that serves the close interests of some individuals and groups.

There are suicides who end their lives without malice, but there are others who have hard feelings against their community. The latter are the most dangerous.

In Iraq, suicide bombers target the society and the effect of their horrible deaths is larger. Those who manipulate them are mired in a quagmire of frustration, despair and hatred, wishing to obstruct every avenue leading to good change.

Suicide acts must be addressed through a new and comprehensive approach by the Iraqi government. Security measures proved to be ineffective alone. They need to be accompanied by a wide campaign to restore trust among the country's various constituents and promote a spirit of nationhood.

Internet revolts are the new regional mode

Many Iranians are probably watching, with much heartbreak and anticipation, the events unfolding in Tunisia, observed the journalist Diana Mqalled in the pan-Arab daily Asharq al Awsat.

The Green Revolution that started on Iranian streets two years ago and came close to toppling the regime was quelled by force and many executions, but what the Iranians couldn't achieve, the Tunisians made possible.

Some time will go by before we fully realise how the Tunisians were able to break through the iron media siege and coordinate their intifada. It seems that virtual intifadas are gaining ground in today's world. An insurgency no longer requires days and weeks of preparation and communication. The Tunisian example proved that a few hours are sufficient to dramatically overturn equations.

A wide section of Facebook and Twitter users posted images of Mohammed Bouazizi, the young man who was driven by poverty to immolate himself, thus becoming the icon that sparked the revolution. Numerous factors must have converged to lead to the immense change in Tunisia, but the movement in cyberspace held huge power for change, as thousands used the internet to exchange support and coordinate steps despite tight censorship.

The Tunisian protests will become a model and media outlets find themselves at a new crossroads. "They can diffuse the image of protests against poverty."


Another chance for retirees to produce

"What is the reason behind barring retired civil servants from holding another job to earn extra income to meet living demands as long as they are able to work? asked Fadheela al Muaini in an opinion piece for the UAE daily Al Bayan.

This is relevant to those who have retired compulsorily or for other reasons, and they need more sources of income to make ends meet.

"I wonder how many retirees are in the UAE, 10,000 or 20,000, more or less. It is important that the authorities strive to create an atmosphere of economic stability for civil servants, who sincerely served the country since the union."

They need to live decently as other public employees. For this to happen, they should be given the opportunity to resume work in various areas of public services according to the professional experience they have accumulated. "If this is impossible, why not launch social development programmes for them to generate revenue?"

Many retirees can still contribute to the country's development by undertaking new roles, which will help them become productive again in their community and boost their self-esteem.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi