x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Let Bahrainis promote Bahrain Vision 2030

Bahrain's economic vision of 2030 should draw on a major contribution by Bahrainis, but this ambition is unlikely given the prevailing culture in the private corporate sector, wrote Hani al Fardan in a comment article for the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat.

Bahrain's economic vision of 2030 should draw on a major contribution by Bahrainis, but this ambition is unlikely given the prevailing culture in the private corporate sector, wrote Hani al Fardan in a comment article for the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat.  "In these critical economic times, big private companies and semi-public corporations, which are supposed to be key players in achieving the goals of the future vision of Bahrain, are drifting away from the main goals set for the 2030 plan."

More and more, they are seeking the services of expatriate managers to the detriment of Bahrainis. As a case in point, Aluminium Bahrain was built and run by Bahraini manpower for forty years until it became one of the primary aluminum plants worldwide. "It is unfortunate to see that after it was restructured, purified from corruption and a achieved steady profit, Bahraini managers were sacked and replaced by expatriates on grounds of "lack of national competencies". As this occurred, one can come to the conclusion that "Bahrain's vision of 2030 has suffered a false start, and whoever would like to correct its course needs to find loyal Bahraini staffers who espouse national values to achieve and promote the goals of the kingdom's national strategic plan."

"The government crisis in Lebanon is entering its four month. During this period, it has become clear that such a task is beyond Lebanon to achieve; it involves foreign powers, which have taken part in its governance since its establishment in 1920," wrote Bassam al Dhaw in an opinion piece for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan. 

Lebanon has always found itself torn between internal conflicts and the necessity to deal with external influences. Because of this unstable situation, the country has never emerged as a nation in the full sense of the word, nor has it become a fully independent state even though it has its own constitution and state institutions. For a government to emerge at present, it needs intensive liaison efforts among stakeholders: Washington, Riyadh, Damascus, Cairo, Ankara and Tehran. Lebanon thus will remain a site of overlapping interests and a miniature version of the larger Arab world "where countries are either competing for gain or mired in deadly conflicts. And all seem unable to learn from past experiences or to analyse themselves. "This is what makes the Lebanon crisis so difficult. Yet this situation should not be an excuse for the Lebanese not to be proactive and try to solve their own problems. They should have learned that outside arrangements are less likely to bring about a national settlement.

Tariq Alhomayed, in  a comment piece in the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat, wrote that the Goldstone report has brought about some magical effects on Hamas. 

"Proof of this are statements by its leader Ismail Haniyeh following his meeting with a delegation of American doctors in Gaza. He said that the US administration is capable of bringing stability in the whole region, especially to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, provided that its actions were balanced. He added that his movement had no objection to open discussion with the present US administration, stressing there was hope it could achieve some success."

Just recently, no one could imagine seeing Mr Haniyeh talk in conciliatory tones, especially since the US president Barack Obama has not changed his demands upon both the Palestinians and the Israelis. "Then what made Hamas announce it was ready to negotiate with the US and pursue the peace process? Hamas, most likely, is tryingto find a political escape from the upcoming elections by getting closer to Washington in an attempt to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority presdient Mahmoud Abbas to postpone the elections, and ultimately obtain recognition by the Americans. Its leaders care less about the agony of the people in Gaza than about consolidating their power and influence."

"The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton is conducting another visit to the region amid new but unpromising developments regarding the peace process," opined the UAE newspaper Al Bayane. "George Mitchell came earlier to prepare for her tour, according to an US administration source. "If the US top diplomat intends through her tour to obtain concessions to leave no room for maneuvreing by the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Nethanyahu, then her attempts could lead nowhere. For one thing, the Palestinians have nothing left to give; and for another, Israelis, led by the Likud party, are acting in a deceitful manner and their demands never end."

The core of the problem resides in Nethanyahu's "disobedience". Any settlement plan by the US via its peace mediators should take into consideration one factor: Mr Nethanyahu. Failing to do this, all attempts at peace will be to no avail. Looking back on the many visits by the special envoy, it is evident that the Israelis are less likely to accept the minimum requirements and engage in direct negotiations. The fact is the Israelis are not willing to achieve peace, nor to reach any agreement whatsoever.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi @Email:melmouloudi@thenational.ae