x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Iran's intransigence may trigger war

In a comment piece in the Lebanese newspaper Al Nahar, Ali Hamade affirmed that the intensive diplomatic activity in the region these days is motivated by three main factors.

In a comment piece in the Lebanese newspaper Al Nahar, Ali Hamade affirmed that the intensive diplomatic activity  in the region these days is motivated by three main factors. First, the US, together with the international community, objects to the idea that Iran would acquire nuclear weapons or even the capacity to do so in the future. Second, Israel considers that Iran's potential ability to manufacture nuclear arms poses a constant threat to the very existence of  the Jewish state. Third, the military power of Hizbollah, which, in some respects, exceeds that of some countries in the region, is a cause of concern for Israel's national security and for the whole region.

By considering these variables, one can understand the motives behind the talks held by Americans with Israelis to bring their views about the Iranian issue closer and to invite other major countries to impose sanctions on the Islamic republic if it rejects the incentives proposed. So should Iran continue to ignore these international calls, chances of a regional war may increase. "Tehran has no genuine allies in the region since major Arab countries agree that the Iranian nuclear programme is  a menace to their own national security. Even Syria, theoretically Iran's ally, has begun to distance itself."

Reading into the IMF report issued in July on the world economy, Walid Nouihadh wrote in the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat that statistics  are the best standard to assess strengths and weaknesses of an economy. He particularly commented on GDP figures that concern the Arab world. The writer hailed the progress of Gulf states in GDP world rankings, describing it as "a major record as they have succeeded in achieving giant economic strides."

According to the report, the GCC states' share  of the Arab world GDP amounts to about 50 per cent, while the Maghreb countries contribute around 25 per cent and the remaining 25 per cent is produced by other countries. Overall, the Arab  countries' economies have recently performed well despite wars and internal conflicts. They produced more than $1.6 trillion, which entitles them, taken together, to have a place among the 20th best performing economies of the world. Yet these figures should not overlook the problems and calamities that still persist and cause such countries as Somalia, Mauritania, Palestine and Iraq to be excluded from progress.   The writer concluded by saying that figures are reliable tools to measure the welfare of Arab countries, away from an empty ideology that highlights achievements just by words and not by digits.

The election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of the Islamic republic of Iran four years ago reflected the rising influence of the Revolutionary Guards at the expense of the alliance between the religious institution and the bazaar. This association defeated the Iranian Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and has continued to rule the country ever since, wrote Abdullah Iskandar in an opinion piece for the London-based daily Al Hayat.

The re-election of Ahmadinejad as Iran's president came to further reinforce the dominion of the religious institution but this time together with the stronger presence of the security establishment. In other words, the new pact has crushed the previous elite who had initially supported the revolution. "This shift in power has led to a great divide between reformists and conservatives, to the point where both groups disregarded the calls of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for calm." 

The question arising from these post-election events is whether Ahmadinejad will be able to shore up his power amid the present political crisis. "Probably he will, if he can maintain the full loyalty of both the Revolutionary Guards and the religious establishment. It appears then that Ahmadinejad is the leader by proxy for the two main establishments to exercise their control over all state affairs from politics to the economy."

The UAE newspaper Al Khaleej carried an opinion piece by Ibn al Deera, who wrote: "Industry in UAE should not be merely a rhetorical slogan, but a real and realistic one. Industry is a subject that always tops discussions. We therefore need to diversify the sources of national income now and in the future."  "Made in the UAE" is a phrase that should prevail in the world around us,

"But this is not enough. Products should also be made by UAE hands, especially when it has to do with planning  and laying down innovative concepts. Plans need to predict prospective needs and control variables."  Industry should follow the same trend as have other sectors of economy, notably commerce. The latter has steadily  contributed in diversifying economic activities in the country  and significantly increased the non-oil income share. To further strengthen this economic orientation, it is imperative to draft new trade regulations to respond to present time needs. Moreover, while undertaking this enterprise, the most important aspect to consider is transparency. This and only this can protect  the national industrial revolution and create new job opportunities for Emiratis.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi melouloudi@thenational.ae