x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Why is the US sending attack warnings?

'It was surprising that the US advised its citizens two weeks ago to be cautious while travelling to Europe for fear of possible 'terrorist' attacks at targets in European cities,' wrote Yasir al Zaatra.

"It was surprising that the US advised its citizens two weeks ago to be cautious while travelling to Europe for fear of possible 'terrorist' attacks at targets in European cities," wrote Yasir al Zaatra. In an opinion piece for the Jordanian daily Addustoor, Mr al Zaatra discussed why the warnings were problematic.

James Jones, a former official in the Obama White house who recently resigned, said that American authorities had "no clear goals". European sources said that the information that may have prompted the declaration was only based on statements by a German prisoner detained in Afghanistan.

Such warnings may serve al Qa'eda, because they will keep it in the spotlight and increase its influence. Moreover, they will keep its enemies on alert, which will push them to spend heavily in order to secure critical infrastructure and other landmarks from potential attacks.

Sometimes political authorities send warnings as part of a "disclaimer" strategy in the event that an attack happens. Many times they act on minor threats whose sources are unknown.

"Probably, this time, the US along with its European allies did this for mere political purposes. They possibly have over-exaggerated the al Qa'eda threats in order to justify the war in Afghanistan and the unmanned drone sorties that kill Pakistani civilians on the border."

 

Lebanon's political situation turns tense

The visits to Saudi Arabia of the Syrian president Bashar al Assad, the Lebanese prime minister Saad al Hariri, and Jeffrey Feltman, the US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, focused on the tense situation in Lebanon. The London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi discussed the implications of these visits for the region in its editorial.

The intensive diplomatic contacts in Riyadh shed light on the extent to which the two main political blocs, the March 14 and the March 8 alliances, are divided on relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The March 14 coalition considers that Tehran is biased in favour of the March 8 alliance, and has criticised Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit. They say it was aimed at increasing Iranian influence by way of Hizbollah. Meanwhile, other political powers believe that he had the right to visit Lebanon.

The controversy over the visit and its implications has invoked anew the spectre of conflict between various Lebanese political forces, and especially between the Shiite and Sunni Muslims. It may also spark a new wave of violence in the form of political assassinations.

The newspaper hopes that the outcome of the Syrian-Saudi summit will ally these fears as Iran still sponsors the option of military resistance against Israel.

 

A double-game for Pakistan

"Although Pakistan captured Almulla Abdul Ghani Baradar along with others, it released many Afghan Taliban figures it had arrested earlier at the same time." In an opinion piece in the UAE newspaper Al Ittihad, Abdullah al Haj wrote that although the Pakistani intelligence service announced that it had arrested the Afghan Taliban's second-in-command, western troops still believe that they have good relations with the movement.

This leads western officials to think  that  freeing important Taliban members was an indication that Pakistani intelligence was playing a double game as it continues providing support to the Taliban. Official sources said that Pakistan leads a complex foreign policy, as it strives to keep good relations with both the West and the Afghan government. Meanwhile, it maintains a good rapport with the Taliban, with the aim of controlling the course of the war.

The Pakistani government did not deny undertaking direct contacts with the Afghan Taliban, yet it described these as "not dangerous" and only meant to control the armed groups in Pakistan.

Even though the West has exerted pressure on Pakistan to cut its relations with the Taliban, Islamabad has not seriously followed suit because this would contradict its supreme interests.

 

It is time to regulate mixed marriage in UAE

In an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan, Fadheela al Mueini discussed the rising phenomenon of marriage to foreign women in the UAE.

The author criticised the fact that many young Emirati men prefer to wed foreign women at the expense of Emirati women on baseless grounds. "Some would say Emirati women are after their husband's money as if he were a walking ATM machine. These arguments make no sense. Men used them to justify their marriage with non-Emirati women."

Many of those women, once they obtained Emirati citizenship, rush to request divorce, especially if their husbands are much older than they are. They do this because they know they can live well afterward, thanks to the government welfare system.

"There is a need to activate the law regulating marriage to foreign women, frozen for 12 years, which stipulates the prior approval of the ministry of interior, and meeting specific conditions."

It is also necessary to draft a proposal to increase the legal time interval between the marriage contract and the right to obtain citizenship from three to 15 years.

If this does not happen, the number of  unmarried UAE women will continue to  increase, causing more women and their families to suffer even further.

 

* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi

melmouloudi@thenational.ae