x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

A war is in the works in the Middle East

Recent speculation indicates that Israel is deploying propaganda that might be the prelude to an imminent attack against Lebanon and Syria, says an opinion piece of Annahar.

"How long will Mr Obama continue to claim that the resolution of the Middle East crisis is a national security issue for the United States?" asked Rajeh al Khoury in an opinion piece for the Lebanese daily Annahar. This is the crucial question that will determine the outcome of American diplomatic efforts in the region and the conclusion of the Obama-Netanyahu standoff. Recent speculation indicates that Israel is deploying propaganda that might be the prelude to an imminent attack against Lebanon and Syria. A new attack can erupt at any given moment among accusations of a breach of Resolution 1701 by Hizbollah and an alleged Syrian implication in the matter.

"The American approach to this issue might increase Israel's recklessness in waging a new offensive." Israel is eager to turn the tables on Mr Obama. The US president, on the other hand, is likely to encounter fierce opposition campaigns in the US, which would prove to be politically costly, especially since he is busy trying to reach a settlement on two main fronts: one with the Israeli lobby in America and another against Mr Netanyahu's inflexibility. In the meantime, the Arabs are required to show public support for Mr Obama's efforts if they want to see his peace plans for the Middle East succeed.

In a comment piece for the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat, Abdallah Iskandar shed the light on the nuclear conference held in Tehran in response to the nuclear summit hosted by Washington last week. In view of the conference's title "Nuclear energy for everyone, nuclear weapons for no one", the writer suggested that "the deliberate Iranian confusion of the objectives of both conferences might lead to an unwanted outcome for Tehran, for Iran's nuclear issue is still under scrutiny in all major capitals of the world".

In fact, Iran's attitude does not show that it is ready to accept the proposition of only peaceful nuclear power. As for its claim of "nuclear weapons for none", it can be construed as a negotiation tactic that does not provide any assurances regarding its nuclear projects. The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's proposals seems to suggest that the Islamic state wants to change the international rules of peaceful and military nuclear programmes - a change that will be opposed by all nations, lenient or strict in regard to the Iranian nuclear issue. "Nuclear mystery is against the interests of Iran if it is really seeking peaceful energy" because it is acting as if it possesses a nuclear arsenal or is about to acquire one in the near future, which validates the western efforts to impose sanctions and reduces Tehran's margin of political manoeuvre.

On-campus brawls between students of French and Arabic erupted recently at the Nouakchott University in Mauritania, the "land of the one million poets" as it is often referred to in the Arab world.

According to Zainab Hifni, a columnist with the Emirati newspaper Al Ittihad, Mauritanian pro-Arabic students oppose the predominance of French at school and in the job market. They argue that Mauritania, being an Arab Muslim nation that obtained its independence from France decades ago, does not have to go on relying on French to the detriment of Arabic. The francophone students, for their part, maintain that the French language is an important cultural channel that gives them access to European civilisation and qualifies them for a wider choice of careers.

How about grabbing the stick from the middle? We must find a balance between our beloved Arabic and foreign languages. Foreign languages can re-energise our own civilisation. "Excessive zeal for our own language will only move us away from the world surrounding us, a world that has taken to the notion that we are somehow absent, mentally wired to slam the West and keep a safe distance from it." The ethics of nuclear armament

In her editorial article for the Syrian Tishreen newspaper, Samira al Musalima wrote about the ethical dimensions that underlined various speeches pertaining to the nuclear issue during the nuclear conferences in Washington and Tehran. The writer focused on the different terminologies used to express points of view regarding the production of nuclear weapons and whether they should be used as a means of attack or deterrence. "While Tehran has stated repeatedly that it ethically condemns and restricts the production and use of nuclear weapons, the United States chose to threaten Tehran with a nuclear attack." It was a threat that clearly expressed Washington's commitment to Israel and to its "protective" nuclear arsenal, and revealed an ethical difference in attitudes between Iran and the US.

"The ethical dimension is important, but ethics alone do not protect rights nor do they support positions." The fact is ethics need power to prevail. Therefore, the possession of nuclear energy is a necessity for everyone, but as long as Israel remains in possession of a nuclear arsenal, all nations concerned should have the right to think and work toward countering Israel's plans of occupation and destruction.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem @Email:rmakarem@thenational.ae