x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Divergent interests concerning Iran

The international community has to consider the possibility that Mahmoud Ahmedinejad might just have been indeed the choice of the people, before jumping to the conclusion that the election was tainted, wrote Hassan Younis in the Qatari Arabic daily Al Watan.

The international community has to consider the possibility that Mahmoud Ahmedinejad might just have been indeed the choice of the people, before jumping to the conclusion that the election was tainted, wrote Hassan Younis in the Qatari Arabic daily Al Watan. "The White House voiced its concern about the results and the United Nations secretary-general called for the full respect of the 'real will of the people' in Iran, where hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in the capital Tehran to demonstrate against the election of Ahmedinejad, but we have to bear in mind the fact that he won with around 24 million votes.  

"The presence of a few hundred thousand protesters in Tehran can probably not be considered as a sign of popular rejection of the current president." However, some are urging the demonstrators to transform their movement into a "civil disobedience" action. For the author, Iranians are in the street to claim respect for the results of the poll, while other countries have diverging interests and do not hide their wish that the resistance movement would lead to the fall of the regime, even amid a state of total anarchy. This is why the Islamic Republic has to handle the situation with the utmost caution. A revote or even Mir Hussein Mousavi as president remain far better options.

The call for national reconciliation between Shiites and Sunnis seems to be receiving positive and encouraging popular feedback in Lebanon, particularly from media, academic and civil society elites, wrote Wasif Awada, in an opinion article in the Beirut-based Arabic daily Al Safir.   If some political circles suggest that this reconciliation remains difficult to achieve, particularly amid an increasing international role in fuelling sectarian conflict, there is no harm in attempting to lay the foundations for this much needed option.

The start can be modest, with a restricted committee that can be expanded at a later stage to set up the mechanisms for an integrated project. No doubt that the coming political encounters towards among the formation of a national unity government can be an opportunity to give the population a strong sentiment that the country is working for reconciliation and stability. This spirit of reconciliation can then be transferred to the street and into daily practice. This needs continuing effort by all components of civil society which played, in the past, a role in launching dialogue around the issue.

The Libyan leader, Moammar Qaddafi, chose an easy target when he decided to sue three Moroccan papers for defamation and claim huge amounts of money in compensation, wrote Dawood al Basri in an opinion article published by the Kuwaiti daily Al Seyasah.

Ignoring all the major American and European newspapers that bombard him with criticism day and night and never stop decrying his regime, he chose three young and modest Moroccan newspapers which all have a good readership but are not hard "to annoy and exhaust" through a series of lawsuits claiming $1 million in compensation.   This is the first time a ruler is suing a newspaper before local courts in the Arab world. However, the Libyan president is not presenting himself as a head of state but as a revolutionary leader.

Ironically, the press in Libya, which is affiliated to the regime's various security and intelligence organs, does not spare any of the Arab rulers, often using strong words. According to the columnist, the Libyan leader definitely chose the wrong battlefield, as press freedom is one of the strongest assets of Morocco, while at the same time local newspapers do not have the means to pay such "financially exhausting" compensation claims.

A lame peace process, international attempts to gain acceptance for the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's three "Nos" - no to dismantling settlements, no to returning Jerusalem and a big no to the right of return of the refugees - and more pressure on Arabs to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, these are the diplomatic options dictated by the latest world developments, wrote Sami Zubaidi in the Jordanian daily Al Rai.

The last four years were full of frustration and disappointment, starting with the two-state vision launched by George W Bush and all the way through the Annapolis conference to the unprecedented welcome by the West of Netanyahu's recent speech. If Netanyahu's vision of peace, which will undoubtedly affect regional security, is of any danger to the Palestinians, who are at risk of facing an occupying force, it remains no less dangerous for Jordan and its internal stability. A lame peace is far more dangerous that a full war.

The ball is, however, not in the American camp, but in the Arabs', as no alternative actions have been put forward. * Digest compiled by Mohammed Naji mnaji@thenational.ae