x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Germany shifts toward discrimination

An escalating controversy is rising in Germany about immigration and the best way to deal with its five million Muslims.

An escalating controversy is rising in Germany about immigration and the best way to deal with its five million Muslims, declared the pan-Arab daily Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial.

Angela Merkel, whose government is facing a major setback in popularity, surprised Europeans recently when she said that the multicultural policy that has been adopted by previous governments is failing. She asked immigrants to learn German and integrate with the German community.

European governments in general have encouraged multiculturalism because it preserved the immigrants' original culture and distinguished them in exchange for their allegiance to their country of residence. Nonetheless, there are those who find fault in this exchange and claim that the policy backfired, as immigrants, especially Muslims, are more loyal to their countries of origin.

Circumstances are changing in Germany and most European countries. Rightist extremist parties are on the rise, and media-fuelled Islamophobia has contributed to promoting radicalism and hatred toward Muslims.

Ms Merkel's confirmation that German culture requires immigrants to denounce their origins and merge into the mainstream culture; otherwise, they would have to leave.


Dialogue should go on, even in Damascus

As expected, Hamas replied to Fatah's request to postpone their meeting, which was scheduled to be held yesterday in Damascus, saying this attitude reflects Fatah's lack of seriousness, wrote Tareq al Homayed, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

It was reported that Fatah's request to move the meeting to Beirut instead of Damascus came as a result of an altercation between the Palestinian and Syrian delegations at the Sirte Summit last week.

"Fatah's attitude is a grave tactical mistake. The Palestinian Authority today is in dire need of wide Palestinian popular support that could sustain its efforts to press ahead with peace talks with Israel in spite of the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's clear evasive manoeuvres."

Fatah shouldn't have made itself a sitting duck for Hamas. If the goal of boycotting the dialogue in Damascus is to register an objection against the Syrians, Hamas will take it upon itself to defend Syria.

Fateh shouldn't have used the Palestinian dialogue as a means to strike back at Syria. Their priority should have been to continue talks with Hamas, even in Damascus, instead of opening a new front against the Palestinian Authority and giving Hamas an opportunity to exploit the situation. The movement punished itself when it decided to punish Damascus through Hamas.


A lukewarm Lebanese welcome for US envoy

The visit by the US assistant secretary of state, Jeffrey Feltman, to Lebanon last week was a sharp contrast to that of the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, observed the columnist Saad Mehio in an article for the Emirati daily Al Khaleej.

The US official's visit, following the Iranian president's, wasn't greeted with the usual anticipation. His meetings were limited to the president and the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, while he held telephone conversations with a few March 14 leaders.

Why this significant frigidity toward this man whom, only a few years ago, was a commanding force when he was the US ambassador to Lebanon? It is because circumstances have changed. The US that wanted to topple regimes and change the map of the Middle East during the Bush era is now helplessly seeking an exit from Afghanistan and Iraq. It is folding democratisation schemes and continues to extend a helping hand to its adversaries.

Lebanese politicians don't see Mr Feltman as a high official representing a great nation, but rather an American state that yields to Iran's terms in Iraq and implores the Taliban for dialogue.

Above all, March 14 leaders saw Mr Feltman's strong support for the International Tribunal and Lebanon's sovereignty as an open invitation to take a escalating position against Syria and Hizbollah. But how will they achieve that when the US grants them no material or military support?


US and Pakistan: a controversial alliance

Washington will be the focus of interest this week as it holds a meeting between high-ranking US and Pakistani officials, which will be dedicated to discussing controversial matters disturbing both countries, observed Mazen Hammad in the Qatari daily Al Watan.

CNN's recent broadcast of a report about the disappearance of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri in the mountainous regions of Pakistan would be at the head of issues to be discussed.

Although Islamabad firmly denies these allegations, bin Laden's ghost has been hovering over the terrorist horizon for more than a decade now.

US-Pakistani relations suffered immense damage due to Washington's strict military positions in the region. However, Washington still manages to guarantee Pakistan's allegiance through a set of military and financial incentives mainly targeting the control of insurgencies and terrorist projects in the country.

The US acknowledges its ally's strict measures against terrorism, although it deems them insufficient. Pakistan, on the other hand, expresses its frustration with the frugal US economic aid and its lack of sympathy in its confrontation with its traditional adversary, India.


* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem