x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Climate meeting fails expectations

"This time, perhaps, the UN has found a new raison d'être to extend its mission and increase its budget by engaging in such a big event," wrote Satea Nourreidne in a comment piece for the Lebanese newspaper Al Safir.

The Copenhagen Climate Conference brought down its curtain after ten days of boring scenes that did not help dissipate the general feeling that the much-debated climate issue was more akin to a science fiction tale than reality, wrote Satea Nourreidne in a comment piece for the Lebanese newspaper Al Safir.  "The conference was absurd, a reminder of many summits organised previously by the United Nations. This time, perhaps, the UN has found a new raison d'être to extend its mission and increase its budget by engaging in such a big event in terms of participants and the sensitive issue it was supposed to tackle."

 The conference was also absurd because the UN should know that such a forum, based on past experiences, was unlikely to yield binding resolutions or even a statement of intent about concrete measures to address climate change. Amid this huge crowd of participants, the core issue - climate change - was lost in a drama of exchanging blame over who is the worst polluter. The world was divided into two factions: wealthy nations, accused of being the major emitter of carbons, and poor countries, which demanded compensation as victims. Political and economic interests won over environmental concerns. This was seen in the "climate battle" between the US and China backed by their supporters. 

"The GCC summit in Kuwait came up with some decisive resolutions, such as an electricity grid system, the creation of a joint force for quick intervention, enforcing the monetary union agreement, and condemning the Houthi aggression and supporting the unity of Yemen, wrote Tariq Alhomayed in a comment article in the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat. Some other recommendations turned out to be as equally important as the decisions taken. This concerns the proposal put forward by Qatar in which it called for establishing a joint development bank. The plan is very crucial to the GCC countries in case they need to make their financial actions more effective through strategic spending on development programmes. This can apply, for example, to Yemen, if the member states decide to help this conflict-battered country to emerge from its financial crises. The bank is likely to institutionalise aid and control any related spending mechanisms. "One may argue that Qatar's proposal aims first at the GCC population, which is true. Yet, the Gulf leaders know that they cannot ignore Yemen for geographic, political and security reasons. They also know that Yemen is the missing block in the GCC organisational structure."

"When the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the UN Security Council decision 1701 is outdated, this had one explanation: he harbours an intent to launch new aggression on Lebanon," wrote Bassam al Dhaw in an opinion piece for the Qatari daily Al Watan.

Resolution 1701 regulates the operations of the UNIFIL force in southern Lebanon in co-operation with the Lebanese army, which the Israelis approved more than three years ago, although their air force, on many occasions, has violated Lebanese airspace. The Israelis were tempted to take advantage of the resolution to breed sedition among Lebanese political forces, especially between Hizbollah and other blocs. "Yet, the reality ran against the ill will of Israelis. The majority of the Lebanese embraced the cause of resistance because they knew the risks posed by the Israelis, and this trend took a broad dimension after the government was formed. The political scene in Lebanon became marked by close collaboration between the resistance and the Lebanese army, a situation that currently bothers the Israelis and the Americans alike." Mr Netanyahu openly threatened to strike Lebanon again to send a warning message to both Syria and Iran. He also intended to turn the world's attention away from Israeli settlement activities and their ongoing encroachment in East Jerusalem.

"Nearly two months ago, the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon promised to refer the Goldstone Report on Gaza to the Security Council as soon as possible following the recommendation of the UN General Assembly," commented the UAE daily Al Khaleej in its editorial. 

The phrase used "as soon as possible" seems to imply a different meaning in this context. When it comes to Israel, time seems to stop to the effect that no international laws and concepts gather meaning, and the Israelis always stay beyond the reach of international justice as a result. All the decisions indicting Israel's occupation, acts of aggression and policies against Arabs have been shelved. Meanwhile, those related to Arabs were immediately enforced, such the case with Libya, Iraq, Sudan and others. Adding insult to injury, Arabs, in a display of their respect of international law, were themselves the forerunners in implementing these decisions although they were targeting other Arab states. 

"Unfortunately, no Arab state as yet has asked the UN secretary general what has become of the report and when it is likely going to be discussed. But why should they ask for that as long as they are not in any hurry?" * Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi melmouloudi@thenational.ae