x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Iran plays the smart guy in negotiations

"Iranian authorities have succeeded so far in deceiving the US and other Western countries over its nuclear programme by adopting a gentle approach based on yes-but ways of argument," said the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi.

"Iranian authorities have succeeded so far in deceiving the US and other Western countries over its nuclear programme by adopting a gentle approach based on yes-but ways of argument," said the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi. The Iranians have always appeared ready to take part in any talks to either discuss its uranium enrichment programme or to open its nuclear facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors. Yet they never waived their sovereign right to carry on with their project.

"The US administration knows that Tehran is manoeuvring to gain more time, and this is why Washington was firm in its demands for Iran to respond immediately to the IAEA's  proposal concerning outsourcing uranium enrichment. Iran's response, however, came very softly, saying that its reply would come at the right time." "Yet what can the Americans do if they realise that the Iranians are opposed to forsaking their nuclear ambitions?" One may think of imposing a tight economic embargo. Russia and China will possibly not comply with such measures because of their sizable commercial transactions. As for potential military action, this would prove costly because Iran may resort to attacking back through its dormant cells and outstretched military arm: Hizbollah, for instance.

Yasser Abdul Aziz wrote in a comment article for the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida that the Iraqi media is undergoing a critical period no better than that preceding the demise of the former regime of Saddam Hussein. "Media professionals live in a country which is witnessing one of the deadliest conflicts since the Second World War, and they are constantly under threat for the lives. The media landscape has therefore turned to reflect the sectarian conflicts in the country and has become no more than a political spin doctor."

Iraq was one of the first Arab countries to introduce the daily press in 1869 and later audiovisual media in 1957. But the media under the rule of the Baath party was used to disseminate its ideology and attack its opposition. After 2003, media outlets have mushroomed, but without bringing a qualitative output. According to statistics, 50 per cent of these media outlets express the voice of major religious sects, basically Sunni and Shiite with 50 per cent for the former and 20 per cent for the latter. According to a 2009 reports by Reporters Without Borders, Iraq is the most dangerous working site for journalists. About 295 media professionals were killed since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, in addition to many injured or disappeared.  "The chaotic state of Iraqi media needs to be corrected if it wants to serve national interests. It urgently needs more rational and consistent ownership models."

While the  US administration is rejecting settlement expansion in the West Bank, the US State Department is carrying out a secret transfer of Yemeni Jews to the US and then to Israel to offer them accommodation in one of the new settlements, noted the UAE newspaper Akhbar al Arab.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the US administration was involved in such a transfer which would lead many to doubt its credibility regarding its attitude towards settlement expansion. "It is clear now that the influential role of the Israeli lobbyists in the US is hard to challenge. Arabs therefore should stay sceptical about true US intentions and should never believe it if they were told that those Jews would stay indefinitely in the US. Arabs should bear in mind that the US laws do not prevent anyone from moving freely."

The recent operations reported by The Wall Street Journal are reminiscent of those that took place during the 1980s when American planes were used to carry Falasha Jews from Ethiopia to Europe and then to settlements.  Indeed, the transfer of more Jews contradicts the claim by Washington that it aims to sponsor the peace process in the Middle East and shakes the world's confidence that it is serious in its pursuit. 

"Recent Israeli attacks on the Al Aqsa Mosque were not new in terms of their form and the rationale behind them. But that does not mean such aggression should be looked at as normal acts occurring in a normal day," wrote Bassam al Dhaw in an opinion piece featured in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.  "But what is new this time is the unusual public reaction in the Arab and Muslim world. It was a lacklustre and confused public response, which prompts us to say that the Israelis are the prime beneficiaries of the divisions in which Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims live nowadays.

"It is sad to say that the public and official reaction was so muted. But if the same attacks were launched while the Arab and Palestinian position was much firmer, the reaction would definitely have been much different and might have led to a new national Intifada. In the latest attacks, the public response was limited to Arab inhabitants living in neighbourhoods surrounding the Al Aqsa Mosque. Most importantly, the reaction was spontaneous and not politically organised. It was, in other words, outside the national official political sphere of action."

It is time for Palestinian politicians to think first of a solution to the Palestinian internal crisis which is the safety valve for saving the whole cause. * Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi @Email:melmouloudi@thenational.ae