x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Iran should stay away from regional issues

"Talks between Iran and the 5+1 group of countries in Vienna returned to square one after Tehran withdrew from a proposal to outsource its uranium enrichment."

"Talks between Iran and the 5+1 group of countries in Vienna returned to square one after Tehran withdrew from a proposal to outsource its uranium enrichment. wrote Tareq al Homayed in an opinion piece  in the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat. "But the striking point here was the statement of the International Atomic Energy Agency's director Dr Mohammed ElBaradei who said in an interview with the French magazine L'Express that he had great hopes that Iranians would agree on enriching uranium outside Iran."

Dr ElBaradeiunderscored the political dimension of any future deal with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, saying it would have a great impact because Iran would play a positive role in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestinian Occupied Territories. Having said that, Dr ElBaradei implicitly acknowledged Iran's right to interfere in  regional issues, which is unjustifiable. In fact, Iran is not a neighbour to all those countries; and even so, the Iranians have no right to interfere. The fear is that they would exploit any assigned mediation role for their own sake. "Dr ElBaradei's remarks emerged as political, hinting a potential role for Iran in the region. That may lead Iranians to adopt a more intransigent policy, and thus force the international community to give more concessions."

"I was until now one of the most fervent supporters of the US president Barack Obama who seemed sincere in fulfilling his electoral promises," wrote Salah al Jawrashi in an opinion for the Qatari daily Al Arab. "His discourse is still different from that of his predecessor. Still, many have noticed that Mr Obama has been under great pressure from interest groups, forcing him to adopt a more compromising policy when it comes to some decisive issues."

It was surprising to see the strong criticism by Islamic movements addressed at Mr Obama upon his Cairo speech. They ignored the fact that the speaker was an American president and not a Muslim leader. They also forgot that he wanted to remove the negative aspects of relations between the US and the Muslim world. "Those who bitterly criticised Mr Obama should rather have welcomed his initiative and further supported his vision." Yet it is very noticeable that American presidents come under the influence of both the Israeli government and Israeli lobbyists in the US. This explained why Mr Obama was hesitant to force Israel to accept his peace plan. Mr Obama is genuinely seeking to achieve peace, but any further attempts to realise his vision may cost him his political career, primarily his ambition to win a second term.

In an opinion piece for the Jordanian newspaper Al Rai, Raja Talab wrote that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, had no choice but to call for legislative and presidential elections on January 24, 2010. His decision came after Hamas rejected the Egyptian reconciliation proposal, which suggested holding elections next June.

Mr Abbas said that his decision was motivated by a genuine concern to preserve the stature of the Palestinian Authority and avoid a potential political vacuum. Hamas, on the other hand, not only challenged the legitimacy of Mr Abbas, but also threatened to hold counter-elections in Gaza concurrently with the elections called for by the president. "As such, Hamas is going to create a new political, legal, legislative and military reality of its own in Gaza. This could be helped by Hamas's full control of the Strip, which has increased the movement's strength within the Palestinian Occupied Territories and throughout the region. Thus any plan aimed at reintegrating Gaza may face categorical opposition by Hamas." Hamas's obstinacy is also a by-product of other factors, mainly the impact of other regional powers which directly manipulate its decisions, including the issue of reconciliation. Hamas fears any prospective reconciliation because that would boost the legitimacy of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).

"With respect to the call by the director general of the Dubai traffic police, Gen Mohammed  al Zafeen, to lower the minimum age for  obtaining a driving licence to 16, this initiative is irrational," wrote Fadheela al Maeini in an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan.

"Although Gen Mohammed al Zafeen backed his argument with a study that showed a decline in mortality rate in accidents caused by the younger population in comparison to older motorists, this is not convincing if we consider that accidents are taking place everyday and claiming many lives. It is  surprising that such a proposal comes from a man who is knowledgeable about the number of deaths caused by road accidents. "He said that the number of persons who died in accidents caused by young people aged under 18 years did not exceed three during four months. This figure can by no means mark a growing awareness of traffic safety among this age category  as it could be linked to other factors."

Thus, there is no justification to  allow  teens in high school to drive, giving them  opportunities to become involved in street races. * Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi melouloudi@thenational.ae