x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

A scarecrow is an American necessity

Waleed Nowayhed, in a comment article in the Bahraini daily Al Wasat, discussed the right to own atomic energy for civil use and the row over Iran's nuclear programme. If all decisions issued by the UN and its agencies affirmed this privilege, then why is an international debate over Tehran's ambitions heating up?

Waleed Nowayhed, in a comment article in the Bahraini daily Al Wasat, discussed the right to own atomic energy for civil use and the row over Iran's nuclear programme. If all decisions issued by the UN and its agencies affirmed this privilege, then why is an international debate over Tehran's ambitions heating up? "One can argue that Iran serves a temporary US interest, which is not necessarily related to its nuclear force, but rather to a keen desire by Washington to expand its military industry and secure a market for it."

For the sake of legitimacy, the Americans tend to associate the Iranians with their nuclear projects. This explains the long and dodgy negotiation process in which Iran and western countries have long taken part. Extending talks would help the US to further support its strategic goals in the region. "We can  summarise them in three points: ensuring the security of oil flow, maintaining Israel's safety and its military supremacy, and preserving a strong foothold in such a strategic part of the world. So by keeping this region busy with permanent sources of tension and creating political and military disorder, there appears a local need for armament. This process, unfortunately, hinders long-term stability, which, in turn, discourages Irana from investing its financial surplus in sustainable development projects.

"Why did the Jordanian government address the issue of media reform?" asked Hussein Al Rwashda in an opinion piece for the Jordanian newspaper Al Dustoor. "Reform frees its relations with the fourth estate, but it still keeps a close eyes on the media. This raises a double question. Was the media a source of concern to previous governments? And will the latest measures taken reinforce the role of media or restrain its freedom?"

It is too early to answer these questions, but it is clear that the press, in particular, has always been a source of worry for various governments. "In fact most issues coming into the public sphere in recent years have been raised by the press. Moreover, most heated debates that embarrassed these governments were also instigated by it." Perhaps this threatening force, coupled with the absence of a checking power of the parliament, led the present government to set the media as one of its priorities to free itself from potential pressure. The government adopted two approaches towards the media: first, through the publishing law and second, through judicial decisions relative to websites. From now on, online content will be governed by the publishing law as well. This puts into question the feasibility of the government's measures and whether or not they promote more openness and responsible freedom in the media.

The round of negotiation hosted in Doha is a valuable opportunity for both the Sudanese government and Darfur armed movements to achieve progress in the long-standing conflict, declared the Saudi newspaper Al Watan in its editorial.

The major obstacle still facing the Doha negotiations is the split among the militia groups. This means there is no one party to talk with, and hence a difficulty to engage smoothly in talks. Other challenges lie in the position of some groups which have not yet decided whether or not to take part in this round of negotiations.

The Darfur crisis has turned chronic, and so far no plan has satisfied the interests of the concerned parties. Both the government and the militias have yet to seize this opportunity to achieve a breakthrough capable of changing the situation on the ground. "Various factions must also be aware that their intransigence will lead nowhere and will benefit nobody. They will only perpetuate the conflict. Moreover, it may cause them lose a chance to restore their rights to share power and wealth." There is also a need to integrate the mediation efforts undertaken by Cairo and Tripoli, which aim at unifying the positions of the various factions into one channel for ease of communication.

"What are the reasons behind statements from many parties in Yemen, denying or opposing any foreign presence in the country? Is it because the US is still craving for more interventions since the US president Barack Obama's era is a reproduction of his predecessor's?" asked the UAE newspaper Al Khaleej.

There is no smoke without fire. If there were no clear indications of some prospective foreign involvement in Yemeni internal affairs, senior official would not express such views and worries. The US would like to continue its war on terror. And since they are increasingly under stress in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Americans are looking for a war by proxy. That is to say, to find others to complete the task, regardless of the losses they can incur. Such a trend could acquire more significance in the case of Yemen because of its strategic location that can be used as a platform to control the surrounding seas and fight piracy off the Somalia coast.

Yemenis are all speaking with one voice in their rejection of any foreign intervention. This correct attitude needs, however, to be consolidated with an internal dialogue to put an end to their conflicts. "This way, they can leave no room for others to intervene in their own affairs." * Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi melmouloudi@thenational.ae