x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Obama espouses a soft war policy

The security document reflects a shift to softer policies based on intelligence and smarter war tactics that could yield far better results than military operations.

"The US has become weaker, but smarter," Satea Nourredine wrote in a comment article for the Lebanese newspaper Assafir. There is no need to read thoroughly into the security document released on Friday to realise that the US has lost its global leadership, as it asked for more partners and allies to share the responsibility of handling international wars and issues resulting from its own policies.

Such a call demonstrated the limits of the US's power to unilaterally deal with world problems. This implies that the US is no longer the dominant power that once intervened directly in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by proxy in many parts of the Muslim world. "The security document showed clearly the end of such a huge military campaign for it did not achieve its desired goals: whether to eliminate US enemies or to rebuild nations torn by civil wars. Nor was it able to spread democracy or help establish an independent Palestinian state."

The document, however, marks a rising awareness by the US of the importance to devote more attention to restructure its institutions and its battered economy. No less important, it summarises the US president Barack Obama's political agenda which he has defended since his election. It also reflects a shift to softer policies based on intelligence and smarter war tactics that could yield far better results than military operations.

"The civil defence sirens that sounded across Israel were part of large-scale exercises to test the country's readiness for a sudden war.," wrote Waleed Noyahed in an opinion piece for the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat. "Military drills were the continuation of a pre-emptive policy that has been adopted by Tel Aviv since 2000." During the last decade Israel launched two military actions to test its preparedness for intervention. The first was during the aggression against Lebanon in 2006, and the second during the assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008. In both operations, Israel assessed the extent of regional powers' responses, types of weaponry to use in the event the scope of war expands, and the reaction of resistance movements if the siege continues for longer time as in the case of Gaza.

Israel reshaped its old strategies accordingly. Now it considers tactics based on open confrontation with forces that are independent from the central governments, and tries to impose its supremacy through intensive flash raids. This explains why in the last four years Israel has been conducting exercises in order to keep it on alert, while it has been strengthening its capacity for endurance. By doing this, it prepares itself psychologically for emergency cases. The recent sirens launched on Friday had a double function: to alert Israelis but at the same time to send a message to neighbouring countries of imminent war.

In an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Khaleej, Rashed Mohammed al Naymi hailed the efforts of Dubai police in arresting reckless motorists on Sheikh Zayed Road. The swift action by the police was very welcome. The aim was to crack down on road misconduct that tarnishes the reputation of Emirati youth by picturing them as irresponsible. "This kind of behaviour can transmit a false image to the world about how our youth think and behave. Because it is widely circulated through the internet, the scene may be considered as an indicator of the general character of all young Emiratis. It may also prompt teenagers to feel free to do what they want in celebrating the victory of a football club."

Dubai police were right when stating that the punishment for this misconduct is not only for a traffic violation, but also, and more importantly, for putting the lives of others in danger. The Dubai police's firm decision is very welcome as it gives a strong message that there are no exceptions in implementing regulations, and there are no excuses for celebrating a football victory in an irresponsible manner.  "The next step that we wish is for the police to monitor everything that is posted on the internet that is likely to affect the country's reputation and to sanction those who published such material."

"One of the most amusing things said about the possibility of a new confrontation between Hizbollah and Israel is that there is a balance of terror between them," wrote Salah al Qallab in an opinion piece for the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jareeda. It was reported that Israel would hesitate before relaunching a war campaign similar to that of June 2006.

According to the balance-of-terror theory, the Hizbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, launched new threats, vowing to besiege Israel's beaches and ports if it considers similar measures against Lebanese coastlines. If this holds true, what prevents Hizbollah from undertaking its threats now? The same question should be addressed to the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeated similar threats more than once. He has said that Israel should be exterminated if it continued pursuing its suppression policies against the Palestinians. Again, if he has the ability to do so, what prevents him from eliminating this offending state and bringing relief to the Palestinians? The facts indicate that neither of these leaders has the ability to meet his promises. And so there is no alleged balance of power since Israel stands stronger than all the Arab states together. Both leaders' claims are therefore nothing but desperate hot air. * Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi @Email:melmouloudi@thenational.ae