x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Kuwait's badly needed reform programme

Dr Badr al Daihaani wrote in the Kuwaiti daily Al Jarida that the political situation in Kuwait had been marred by irresponsible individual acts by some parliamentarians.

Dr Badr al Daihaani wrote in the Kuwaiti daily Al Jarida that the political situation in Kuwait had been marred by irresponsible individual acts by some parliamentarians. As solution, he put forward a number of points for the consideration of political actors. The writer suggested introducing reforms spanning the fields of politics, economics and public administration. He stressed that political parties should work in accordance with the constitution and their financial resources be regularly audited. These steps should be consolidated by establishing a supreme commission that would supervise election processes and ensure they are free and fair. Another relevant issue to modern Kuwait, according to the writer, is to promote national unity and strengthen the social fabric. "This is possible through fostering such concepts as constitutional citizenship, social justice, rule of law and equal opportunities." If there was a failure to observe these measures, social and economic security would suffer a major setback, a disadvantageous situation for people of limited income, warned the writer. The government needs to draw a timetable for implementing development projects that improve public services, restructure public administration and, most important of all, address the structural irregularities of the national economy.

"The Iranian election results not only have revealed political changes, but also social and cultural ones. Whether the votes will be recounted, or a second round of elections will be held, these social and cultural occurrences will be very decisive for millions of Iranians," wrote Bessam Dhaw in a comment piece for the Qatari daily Al Watan. The presidential elections were significant in that they brought into focus two broad political trends. On the one hand, the rural population and the urban poor backed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while the richer class in the cities, the middle class and a large segment of the youth stood by Mir Hossein Mousavi. The re-elected president has over the last four years devoted attention to the poor and rural population, although his efforts have not paid off. Yet he gained his public's trust in these areas, and they voted for him again. Mousavi presented himself as the representative of the velvet community and a mouthpiece for those who would like to modernise domestic and foreign Iranian policy. Mousavi and his supporters would like particularly to ease the confrontation with the West and seek a moderate regional role in addition to improving economic and social conditions. Both political leanings will continue expressing themselves in the future. Conservatives will defend their agenda, and reformists will tend to support a strong Iran without an extremist ideological discourse.

Commenting on the chaotic situation in Somalia, Amjad Arar wrote in the UAE paper Al Khaleej that the country was caught in a vicious circle and violence was the order of the day. "Somalia lives under the yoke of its leaders and is widely ignored by most of the Arab countries. It is also exposed to the whims of its neighbouring countries which use it to serve their own interests. "After decades of bloodshed, Somalis need to understand that the exchange of irrational accusations is less likely to put them on the safe track. Nor will it help to provide enough food for the hungry or shelter for the homeless. Tribalism is against progress. It is no guarantee for building a nation, civil institutions or a bright future." Somalis need to understand that it is their own responsibility to solve their problems no matter what the challenges are. International mediation cannot alone bring breakthroughs in their crisis. Somalia has very difficult and complex problems that need comprehensive solutions, and so far analysts have not come up with a plausible account of the situation there. The writer urged Somalis to surmount the narrow-minded approach to governance based on sectarianism and tribalism and act as citizens of one nation if they want to bring their country to the safer shore.

"Many countries in Africa and Asia have acquired the habit of attributing the causes of their own crises to Britain. And this is exactly what the Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki did when he tried to justify the causes of the crisis in his country," wrote Abdul Rahman al Rashed in an opinion piece for the London-based daily Al Sharq Al Awsat. Mottaki devoted most of his speech to accusations that the British were behind the clashes and abetted the protests. He claimed that many people had flown from London to Tehran just prior the elections. "Iran's government found itself in a dire position with no compelling explanation of recent events, so it turned against Britain. The current crisis has in fact been led by some of establishment leaders and it is absurd to think they came from London to plot the protests in the heart of Tehran. It is also absurd to think that they are acting according to British intelligence's injunctions. Were the hundreds of thousands of Iranians who took to the streets all puppets moved by the British media?" Protesters believe their votes were stolen, and the poll results were rigged. They also believe they have the right to claim the recount of votes. The authorities are afraid of humiliation if they conduct a recount. Instead they shot live bullets and chose a scapegoat to save their own skins. * Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi melmouloudi@thenational.ae