x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

A nuclear Iran is no threat to Israel

"We don't need to lend our ears any further to the rehearsed statements of Benjamin Netanyahu and his political allies and aides - especially national security adviser Uzi Arad - to realise that such worry over the growing threat of the Iranian regime is nothing but a political ploy," Jabi Shiffer, a professor of political science at Jerusalem Hebrew University, stated in a comment piece in the Moroccan daily Al Masae.

"We don't need to lend our ears any further to the rehearsed statements of Benjamin Netanyahu and his political allies and aides - especially national security adviser Uzi Arad - to realise that such worry over the growing threat of the Iranian regime is nothing but a political ploy," Jabi Shiffer, a professor of political science at Jerusalem Hebrew University, stated in a comment piece in the Moroccan daily Al Masae.

The question is: does Iran really represent an imminent threat or is this more of a fantasy woven by the nervous imagination of Israel? "I have three personal observations in this regard. First, Iran, like any small state, is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons to pre-empt attacks by other nuclear powers. Accordingly, Iran will not attack unless attacked. Second, Iran's primary goal is to increase and extend its influence in the Islamic world. Third, perhaps most important of all, aside from the two atom bombs that were detonated by none else but the democratic and liberal Unites States, no nuclear state has ever used its nuclear arsenal to date." Thus, even if Iran acquires nuclear arms, it will not constitute an existential danger for other countries, including Israel. Israeli public opinion must realise this, before backing any disastrous military venture.

After six years and four months since the invasion of Iraq, most British soldiers are leaving the country quietly and solemnly to be redeployed in Kuwait, after the Iraqi parliament failed to approve a deal regulating anew the presence of British troops in the country, wrote Mazen Hamad in the comment pages of the Qatari daily Al Watan.

Without this agreement, the British military has no right to stay in Iraq after July 31. But this "setback" is only temporary, since the British troops will re-enter the country soon after the Iraqi parliament resumes debate over the matter, which is now overshadowed by more important issues such as the elections in the northern Kurdistan province. Some British officials have been trying, not too efficiently, to persuade Iraqi bureaucrats to make sure the deal is debated in the next parliamentary session. But despite continuous filibustering by pro-Muqtada al Sadr MPs, who are categorically against any foreign presence in Iraq, the deal will likely be approved anyway. "Even if there are no risks in the redeployment operation, the whole situation actually commands laughter, for London is joining diplomatic impotence to military mismanagement now. So the British troops will have to wait in Kuwait till this farce is over."

The formation of a Lebanese cabinet is officially close to completion, wrote Ali Hamade, an editorialist at the Lebanese daily Annahar. The head of the new government, Saad al Hariri, said on Wednesday that the snag of the "obstructive third" - a third of the ministers, characteristic of the Lebanese cabinet, who hold veto power - has been overcome, although the distribution of portfolios may take up more time than expected.

Now, the major challenges facing the al Hariri government boil down to internal stability, Hizbollah weapons and regional status. The prospective government must make sure sectarian or political conflicts are not solved through violence on the street, for Beirut, despite appearances, remains "until further notice, a city under the thumb of some illegal militias". This leads to the second key challenge: being all-inclusive, the new government will have to tackle "the most controversial issue", the status of Hizbollah weapons, within a fresh framework of dialogue. "In fact, Lebanon will never know stability as long as there are weapons in defiance of national legitimacy." Third, Lebanon will have to adopt a new formula to address the Arab-Israeli conflict. "Officials must work to 'neutralise' Lebanon in regard to other people's wars."

No serious peace talks between Israelis and the Palestinians will take place before the inter-Palestinian issues are resolved between Hamas and Fatah, wrote Ali Salem in the opinion section of the pan-Arab daily Asharq al Awsat. Without a unified Palestinian government that speaks the language of modern state politics, it is practically impossible to reach peace with Israel.

"We may think about peace, talk about it, propose it, but all the concerned parties, including Europe and the US, will always be far from attaining it, because the president's authority that has been usurped by Hamas in Gaza, fuelled by human greed, is leaving a colossal hurdle before the only path left towards peace." Hamas is running counter to the clock of history after they failed to establish a political order in Gaza that secures a better, sustainable future for Gazans.

"The only solution for Hamas, their people and the whole Arab world is to step down from power and accept that a committed Arab state accommodate them and guarantee them and their kin a safe, decent life. I know that accepting such a proposal requires a great deal of courage, but that is what human dignity, reason and political wisdom are calling for." * Digest compiled by Achraf A El Bahi aelbahi@thenational.ae