x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

US leaves fiasco in Iraq

Arabic editorials also discuss Israeli settlement expansion, role of funding in Arab elections and Iraqi rejection of violence.

US Gulf move is to moderate Iraq fiasco

The United States' decision to pull out all its troops from Iraq by the end of this year, coupled with its announcement this week that it will be re-enforcing its military presence in the Gulf region, amounts to an attempt to minimise Washington's military and diplomatic failure in Iraq, stated the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi in an editorial yesterday.

The regime change in Iraq cost the US over $1 trillion and the lives of more than 4,000 soldiers, not to mention many more wounded. The withdrawal from Iraq is Washington's acknowledgement of defeat in its "regional power struggle" against Iran, the newspaper said. Note that the original US draw-down plan was to keep 20,000 US troops stationed Iraq for an unspecified period.

"The US has grown convinced that Iran has won and is decidedly the most influential power in the new Iraq," the newspaper said. "The US administration is looking for alternatives now."

Washington is in talks with some Gulf states who may be willing to accommodate in their ground or air bases US troops exiting Iraq.

In these hard economic times, raising exaggerated fears among Gulf states concerning Iran's military would be conducive to an advanced (and lucrative) military partnership between the Gulf states and the US, as it would, among other things, energise the American arms industry.


The world won't say 'no' to Israel yet again?

The Israeli media revealed on Sunday yet another plan by the Israeli authorities to give the go-ahead to settlement construction in the village of Silwan, near Jerusalem, which would entail the demolition of more than 20 Palestinian homes, wrote the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds in its editorial yesterday.

While various parties in the international community are trying their best to pave the way for the resumption of peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Israeli government is clamping down on the freedom of transportation of goods and individuals in the West Bank and escalating security measures in the Gaza Strip.

As if that were not enough, now there is this new plan for more settlement building on Palestinian land, the newspaper said

Israel's moves of this nature are pushing the region towards a zone of peril, the newspaper said, and away from a tiny and narrowing window of opportunity.

"The international community must take note of this and take action to spare the region another spiral of violence and bloodshed, which harms people in the region and undermines international peace and security."

This has been said so many times before: the international community must wean itself off its "spectator role" and the passiveness that has so far encouraged Israel to break international law with complete impunity.

Even in the Arab world, money is election need

"The defeated parties in the Tunisian election criticised the winning party, Ennahda, for getting lots of money that enabled it to get the majority of votes. The same accusation is directed to the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis and secularists in Egypt," argued Abdul Rahman Al Rashed in an opinion piece for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

Generally, elections are like arranging for a "marriage". They are costly. Those who have lots of money, the best organisation and the most attractive platform can easily win over their honest and hardworking competitors. This is a fact, not only in the Arab world but everywhere.

The Tunisian Election High Commission undertook its mission as required, including the provision of US$8 million(Dh29.4 million) to parties to cover the election campaign costs. "Yet, more than that amount should have been spent under the table, as the parties' activities showed."

As a rule, the parties, which strongly want to win, should plan ahead to get enough legal funds from within its community. Thus, wealthier parties that are better organised and have a polished political discourse have greater chances to lead the pack. The key to success is not the true promises on which parties can deliver, but on their ability to mobilise an army of spin doctors, public relation professionals, artists, and public figures.

Iraq's politics will be shaped by new reality

As the US leaves, Iraq faces new attacks igniting sectarianism, faiths, noted the Emirati newspaper Al Bayan in its editorial.

"The US administration tries to convince Iraqis to keep its forces, arguing that their presence at this time is necessary, as acts of killings and bombings are growing significantly. Maintaining their troops, Americans believe, is driven by the need to preserve the security of Iraqis in the face of rising sectarian attacks."

Occupation under any name was an attempt by the Americans to break the historic ties of the Iraqi nation and was an essential step to impose further control. By doing this, they can continue dividing the country on a "provincial" basis in a way to force their domination and replace the usurped national sovereignty.

In response, Iraqi politicians must end all forms of violence. They must also act more boldly. By the same token, all segments of society should distance themselves from forces that call for violence and also from foreign interferences. Furthermore, they should act together to promote the national identity and the territorial integrity of Iraq.

In short, the Iraqi national project needs to build up a political process that is customised according to the local reality and challenges.


* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk