x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Obama's approach to Afghanistan will fail

Waleed Nouayhed, in an opinion piece featured in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan, wrote that the failure of Nato's military action in Afghanistan would have political aftershocks affecting president Barack Obama's reputation.

Waleed Nouayhed, in an opinion piece featured in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan, wrote that the failure of Nato's military action in Afghanistan would have political aftershocks affecting president Barack Obama's reputation. "Mr Obama, during his presidencial campaign, publicised his ability to end the crisis in Afghanistan and dry up the sources of terror. His view regarding the issue was short-sighted, however. Mr Obama favoured a military solution and ended up by making the same mistake as his predecessor, George W Bush."   

Moving  troops from  Iraq to Afghanistan to reinforce Nato's military presence was a wrong decision. It is wrong to depend solely on military power to settle deeply-rooted disputes in Afghanistan, where anarchy prevails and it is hard to determine who is the loser and who the winner. Crises, if not addressed comprehensively by way of diplomacy, will not only tend to persist but rather take new and unexpected turns.  Mr Obama's approach in Afghanistan is simplistic and it is no different than those adopted previously in Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. Interventions to settle conflicts in these countries were interrupted only halfway, causing them to persist.

Though Hamas' position toward Palestinian national reconciliation has changed as it seeks to stand in the same line as other factions, it needs to take bolder steps and subscribe to the  national project of establishing an independent Palestinian state, wrote Khayr Allah Khayr Allah in a comment article that appeared in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai Alaam.

"Hamas should know that the only true  reconciliation is the one that serves the Palestinian people first and contributes to the establishment of state institutions. And the true resistance is the one led in the West Bank, which spared Palestinians the burden of slipping into misadventure. The question remains whether Hamas is likely to join the genuine resistance, which has preserved the Palestinian national identity in the hardest of times, or will it continue behaving the way that feeds radicalism within Israel itself? If Hamas is really looking forward to engaging in a real reconciliation, it should be able to untie its odd alliances. It should likewise consider reconciliation as a national strategic option and not as an escape from its own problems." The starting point for this project should stem from the political programme of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the efforts invested by the Palestinian Authority in this regard.

Esam Nuaman in a comment piece for the Qatari daily Al Watan wrote that the meeting held this month in Geneva was a breakthrough in addressing pending issues - mainly the  nuclear programme - between Iran and the West because both sides favoured dialogue.

Iran said its was ready to discuss all pending issues in a comprehensive approach, claiming,  however, to maintain its right to develop nuclear energy for civil use. Iran also expressed its right to enrich uranium, either inside or outside its borders. "Iran apparently was happy with the proposal  to outsource enrichment of low-level uranium to Russia." This opening and any other potential settlement of Iranian issues is not a source of delight for Israelis, however. Most politicians in Israel desire to see Iran treated always as a threat to its existence for three reasons.

First, Israel is keen to preserve the advantage of being the only nuclear power in the region. Second, Israel is worried about the possibility of Iran providing the Islamic resistance in Lebanon and Palestine with nuclear weapons, hence overturning the balance of power. Third, a happy ending to the crisis between the US and Iran means the end of a threat to the Israel's existence. In turn, this may lead the Americans to force Israel to implement the peace plan and possibly to reduce their financial and military aid to Israel.

The UAE newspaper Al Bayan stated in an opinion piece: "In an unusual manner, the Arab League secretary general, Amr Moussa, rang the alarm bell: he warned against a sudden Arab breakdown. For instance, the war in Yemen may escalate at any time. The last military confrontations there resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of people. This came at a time when relief organisations could not meet the basic needs for food and medical supplies of those who fled from the war front.

Recently, the southern part of Yemen has also witnessed serious clashes with secessionist movements. Taken together, these factors necessitate an intervention from Arab countries to contain Yemen's internal conflicts.  There are also fears that the  controversy raised over the deferral of Goldstone's report on war crimes in Gaza could affect the political will of various Palestinian factions as they are about to conclude a decisive accord on national reconciliation. 

This series of crises prevailing in the Arab world today are because countries neglected to address them in time. Now, these countries have no choice other than to confront the dangers that immediately threaten them. * Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi melmouloudi@thenational.ae