x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Fatah's legacy stands at low ebb

In his regular column in the Lebanese daily Al Safir, Satea Nourredine criticised the way the sixth Fatah convention was proceeding. He particularly reproached the Palestinians for ignoring many core issues in relation to the Palestinian cause

In his regular column in the Lebanese daily Al Safir, Satea Nourredine criticised the way the sixth Fatah convention was proceeding. He particularly reproached the Palestinians for ignoring many core issues in relation to the Palestinian cause, especially failing to draw viable concepts for its future. He likewise decried the lack of rigour by the movement to assess its experience since the fifth conference held in Tunis twenty years ago. 

"Even worse, on the second day Fatah members were engaged in vehement quarrels. The situation required the quick  intervention of presidential  guards to settle the skirmishes for fear of  sabotaging the normal course of  the convention. The same scene was seen over the third and fourth day, according to many inside sources." Although the conference may take a week to conclude its business, there is a general feeling that it will produce more heated debates as it heads towards its conclusion. Senior and junior members are engaged in a contest for more influence. "Yet, regardless of these awkward incidents that marred the conference, it remains a historic event by all measures as it managed to attract about 2,400 members who diligently discussed the conference's agenda amid an internal political situation that is tense and very sensitive."

George Mitchell's recent visit to the Middle East was pointless; it yielded no concrete results, wrote Bassam Al Dhaw in an opinion piece for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.

Mitchell came simply to  reiterate the same American attitude, suggesting nothing about how to address the Israeli's intransigent approach to peace. Moreover, he undertook no bold step to translate intentions into deeds. Mr Mitchell called on the Arab world to take steps toward normalising relations with Israel. By insisting on this, it seems then that the US administration is "fixated" on this aspect, obscuring many more points of discord between the two parties in conflict. As the ultimate objective, the US wants to control sources of energy and strengthen its presence in the Middle East while preventing the empowerment of such countries as China and Russia.

Mr Mitchell is expected to come again and again, but the prospect for peace seems unattainable.  Meanwhile, Arabs may give concessions, but it is less likely they will obtain parallel gains. "One fact should be made clear: Israel is not willing to coexist with a Palestinian state, no matter how it is established. In the meantime, Mr Obama's peace plan will remain, at best, a diplomatic lyric of no value, except if the US decides to stop providing funds and military assistance to Israel."

With the increased number of victims following the bombing of Shiite and Sunni mosques in Iraq, the country seems to be drifting into the abyss of a new sectarian civil war, opined the leading article of the London-based newspaper Al Quds. "Admittedly, the security chaos has followed the US troops' withdrawal from major cities. The series of  incidents that took place recently also revealed that the Iraqi forces are less able to assume their security responsibilities in spite of hefty spending on their training and arms." 

The nature of the  political system is to blame for the current situation. Drawing on  sectarian alliances, the Iraqi president, Nouri al Maliki, has failed to achieve national reconciliation or create harmony with other political blocs. By appointing the closest members of his party and tribe into senior positions, he  has repeated the same mistakes of the former regime, which he once denounced himself. 

Besides murders, robbery is another issue. It was reported that personal guards of the vice president were allegedly involved in a bank robbery in the Kurada region. "It seems that Iraq is less governed by a proper government, than by militias, which are in constant conflict among themselves for money and power. Ordinary Iraqis are caught in the middle and continue to pay the price for the conflict of the giants."

What prompted Iranians to rise so suddenly? asked Abdul Arrahman al Rashed in an opinion piece featured in the London-based daily Al Sharq al Awsat. "I believe there are many reasons leading to that, such as the fading glare of the revolution, the rise of a new generation eager for change, growing divisions within the leadership, and deteriorating economic conditions."

But perhaps the most factor of all is the birth of opposition media outlets that report to Iranians what they have been unable to either to hear or to see for decades. The media has enabled  Iranians to easily network  and this has propelled wide street protests as a consequence. The new media has ended a long era of state dominion of the circulation of information. As Iranians attained access to satellite channels - allowed only recently - opposition ideas poured in and formed a public attitude different from that of the regime. Moreover, the information technology brought another dramatic change: Iranians have used it best to exchange  their political views. This is at a time the leadership remains perplexed and unable to rejuvenate itself.  

The media presents a different picture than the one in their government-run media. Iranians got the message and reacted to it. * Digest compiled by Moustapha ElMouloudi melmouloudi@thenational.ae