x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Sarkozy's agenda now includes Albert Camus

It is still unclear whether the French president Nicolas Sarkozy will succeed or fail in convincing the family of the late French philosopher and author Albert Camus to transfer his remains to the Pantheon.

It is still unclear whether the French president Nicolas Sarkozy will succeed or fail in convincing the family of the late French philosopher and author Albert Camus to transfer his remains to the Pantheon, the famous burial place in the Latin quarter of Paris where prominent figures such as Hugo, Pasteur, Zola and Rousseau are laid to rest, wrote Sobhi Hadidi in London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi.

Neither Jean or Katherine Camus, the writer's children, showed any enthusiasm about Mr Sarkozy's idea. Perhaps they have realised that the birthplace of their father, Algeria, and his opposition to the Algerian independence from the French government in the 1940s and 1950s, would be somehow exploited, especially since the Sarkozy administration is systematically bringing up issues ranging from national identity to security policies and a burqa ban to distract French citizens from their frustration with high prices, declining purchasing power and rising unemployment.

Some of Camus's political views may well serve to provide an ideological framework for those very issues that the Sarkozy administration is keen to bring to the forefront of French politics, as the country is making ready for local elections which will determine the new shape of the right wing and give a taste of Sarkozy's chances for a second presidency.  

Like any other country, Israel goes through fits of stress when its losses exceed its gains, be those military, political or diplomatic, the Dubai-based daily Al Khaleej stated in its editorial. In the ongoing arm-wrestling over the settlements, Israel has had to contend at any one time with three fronts: the international community, the regional players and the Palestinians. For the time being, Israel is worried about none. The US president Barack Obama has already thrown in the towel, which directly led to a widely felt European inertia. On the regional level, there is nothing that disturbing either, except perhaps for some Turkish clamour.

When it comes to the Palestinians, all they have been doing lately is waving the threat of the resignation of their president Mahmoud Abbas, which is hardly a cause for worry among the Israeli ranks.    As an institution, the Palestinian Authority has been considered an achievement only insofar as it was a step towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Without this promised transformation, most Palestinians see the Authority as a burden more than anything else.

Consequently, the Palestinian Authority actually benefits Israel as it lifts off its shoulders the constraints and obligations of the colonising state towards the colonised people.

"It is well known by now that the Arab influence on international politics amounts to about nil," opined Khaled al Hroub, a Palestinian writer based in Cambridge, in the comment pages of the Emirati daily Al Ittihad. No one is expecting the Arab states to be as influential as the US or the UK, but it is hard to understand why they will have about the same impact in world affairs as a country like Sierra Leone. "Prominent Arab states must at least play a role proportionate to that of Brazil, India, Mexico or Israel." Global policies, whether in the economy, the environment or nuclear weaponry, have an impact on individual countries depending on their respective interests; that is why they make sure to take part in the decision-making process on the international level. Any country that fails to battle for a say in a given global policy is guilty of neglecting, one way or the other, its national interests.  

Experts working in Middle East studies departments in Europe have expressed astonishment at the Arabs' absence from the international scene while the new EU framework was taking shape. Even issues such as Iraq and Palestine, which ought to be primarily Arab, are wholly left to western powers to negotiate and decide upon.

The Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari's decision to confer his nuclear command authority upon his prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani has raised a wave of controversy in Islamabad and added to the general chaos that engulfs political life in the country, commented Mazen Hammad in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan. Coming only a couple of days before the US president Barack Obama finally issues his long-awaited decision on the new US policy in Afghanistan, Mr Zardari's move can only be read as an abrupt political manoeuvre that aims to dispel some of the tremendous pressure that he has been subjected to by the opposition which accuses him of corruption, urges him to relinquish some of his prerogatives or calls him to resign altogether.

Before his decision, Mr Zardari had control over all aspects of the country's nuclear arsenal, including making decisions to launch any of the 60 to 100 nuclear warheads Islamabad owns and guarantee the security of nuclear weapons and laboratories. "Though analysts do not expect Mr Zardari's decision to compromise Pakistan's nuclear security, Washington is extremely concerned about the eventuality of some serious setbacks that the country may be too vulnerable to handle."

* Digest compiled by Achraf A El Bahi @Email:aelbahi@thenational.ae