x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

New sanctions are yielding results

The US sanctions imposed on Iran have been altered to take a more privatised approach. Private companies' direct involvement is the biggest threat to Iran.

The latest round of sanctions that were imposed on Iran recently differed in nature from previous measures that didn't lead to the desired outcome, commented Hosam Kanafani in the Emirati daily Al Khaleej. With the new changed sanctions, it is not just up to the UN Security Council anymore to control the siege on Iran. The US had been longing for this change, and it finally succeeded in making it happen. The sanctions imposed on Iran have been altered to take a more privatised approach. Private companies' direct involvement is the biggest threat to Iran.

In fact, the number of companies that are withdrawing projects from Iran is quickly rising, timed with Teheran's announcement that they are willing to freeze their 20 per cent uranium enrichment projects. This is evidence that the sanctions were effective despite denials from Iranian officials. The US government was the leading power in imposing this new type of sanctions, and was soon followed by the European Union and eventually by Australia and Japan. The modified list of sanctions is obviously harming Iran more than it cares to show. Even though China and Russia both condemned the unilateral sanctions by the US and the EU, they cannot hold that opinion for long, since they are surely to be affected their respective companies.

It is clear that Tuesday's clash on the Lebanese-Israeli border came at the right time, says Hassan Haidar in pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat. The Lebanese army clearly did not plan a military confrontation with Israel - it didn't inform nearby bases to take necessary precautions. The attack came after a long series of violations by the Israeli army on the Lebanese border.

From Israel's side, the aggression was clearly intentional. The UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (Unifil) forces had called on Israel to cease its activities in that area, since Lebanon had reservations about the blue line of separation. However, Israel went ahead uprooting trees and installing surveillance cameras, which resulted in the confrontation. The Israeli violation also came after the Lebanese army announced that it was going to widen its deployment in the south Litani area following recent altercations between the UN forces and villagers. The Lebanese army's attack came as a message warning Israel from committing further violations. The clash reflects the tense atmosphere in the region and the increasing threats rising from all parties involved. The Lebanese army had never opened fire on Israel prior to this clash. Previous clashes between both sides always had the Lebanese army in the defensive position.

Would the US president Barak Obama dare to send a letter to the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, similar to the one he sent to the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, urging him into direct unconditional talks with Israel? asked the Emirati newspaper Al Khaleej.

Mr Obama addressed his ultimatum to Abbas as the weaker side and the one that can be pressured into whatever US-Israeli interests require. Washington had attempted to pressure Mr Netanyahu's government before, but to no avail. Palestine was easier to handle. Washington's attempt to force Israel's hand regarding the settlement issue failed after the Israeli prime minister was able to lure Mr Obama to his side and get him to help to impose his terms and conditions on the Arab nations and the Palestinian Authority.

If the Arab nations were to give the US president a taste of his own medicine and told him that their relationships and interests would be jeopardised unless he coerces Israel to abide by their terms, then maybe Palestine could be saved. However, the Arab themselves are in dissent over Washington's ultimatum, which some view as "comforting". The only clear truth here is that the US threats only apply to Arabs.

It is clear that media coverage of the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem is declining on the local, regional and global levels, commented Dr Ahmed Al Qari'i in the Egyption daily Al Ahram. The media has very little to say nowadays about the Israeli violations in Jerusalem, and there is a lot the Arabs have to do in order to improve the situation there. They need to provide the Aqsa Fund with money that shouldn't be spent on food and medicine, but rather on establishing economic facilities that will support Palestine and its people.

"The Palestinians are tired of constantly hearing about the Arab character of Jerusalem without any efforts made to help. Talk is not enough anymore." Palestinians, on their part, need to bond together to protect their land against Israeli attacks. The risk is increasing as time goes by, especially after news agencies reported last May that radical Israeli produced a film where the Aqsa mosque is raided.  This recording coincided with Israeli plans to undermine the holy mosque by surrounding it with synagogues and tunnels.

The media coverage of these threats did not report any Palestinian response, other than a press release that stated that these threats were unfounded. * Digest compiled by Keltoum Ahfid @Email:translation@thenational.ae