x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE firmness vs GCC sensitivities

"The reactions to the UAE's decision to withdraw from the Gulf monetary union has proved, yet again, that Gulf politicians and citizens alike are too sensitive and emotional, tending to blow matters out of proportion," commented Mohammed K al Sowafi, a regular columnist at the Emirati daily Al Ittihad.

"The reactions to the UAE's decision to withdraw from the Gulf monetary union has proved, yet again, that Gulf politicians and citizens alike are too sensitive and emotional, tending to blow matters out of proportion," commented Mohammed K al Sowafi, a regular columnist at the Emirati daily Al Ittihad. Quite often, those sensitivities lead to imaginary issues when egos and personal considerations are involved in crisis management.

"After reading the Saudi press comments, many have thought that the UAE's decision is synonymous with the demise of Gulf partnership, considering the political and economic weight of the UAE on the level of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)." This will wrongly associate the UAE with a negative public image in the Gulf public opinion, while all the UAE did was express in a civilised, internationally proper manner its stance on a specific matter.

The way the UAE has handled the decision to establish the GCC central bank in Riyadh rather than in Abu Dhabi marked a diplomatic novelty that Gulf states were bound to deem unacceptable, "because they have been used to giving constant blessings, even to their own detriment". All GCC interactions observe the die-hard logic of constant concurrence, as diplomatic hypersensitivities are still impeding pragmatic, beneficial dialogue.

Israeli polls show that one third of Israelis would emigrate from their country if Iran possessed a nuclear capacity, wrote Abdelbari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of the London-based pan-Arab daily Al Quds al Arabi. This is, indirectly, new evidence that the Arab Peace Initiative has been yielding contrary results; it has merely contributed to wider Jewish relocation to Palestinian lands - thus larger settlements - encouraged by Israel's stability, safety and economic growth.

If Iran's evolving military might, added to its constant efforts to develop nuclear weapons, scares Israelis out of their mind and pushes them to seek safe havens in Canada, the US, Australia and Europe, what more could have happened if Israel's Arab neighbours - Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon - were themselves developing nuclear programmes?  The point is: why would Israeli settlers be entitled to a peaceful, stable and luxurious life, while Israel obdurately rejects the two-state solution and expands the settlements?

"The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had reason to snatch the Palestinian cause from the wavering hands of the Arabs and expose the Israeli aggression against Palestine." To make matters worse, some Arab leaders are already suggesting full normalisation with Israel in exchange for a freeze of the settlements on the West Bank. "Such a big offer for a tiny cost."

Held yesterday in Doha, the meeting of the Sudan special envoys, delegated by the permanent members of the Security Council and the EU, is doubly important as it immediately precedes a new round of Darfur peace talks, declared the Qatari daily Al Raya in its leader. This meeting confirms the commitment of the international community, via the Security Council, in working to solve the tragic crisis in Darfur and Qatar's advanced efforts in the matter, bolstered by Arab, African and international support.

"It is crucial that the parties of the conflict in Sudan understand that peace in Darfur is the only option, and that both government and rebels should translate the good intentions they have voiced into concrete actions. "The international community, as it discusses the crisis in Darfur, must know that peace will be attained by first solving the Chad-Sudan crisis, as this is a major stake in the issue. The deteriorating relations between the two countries - and the exchange of accusations in the wake of the latest developments in eastern Chad, with the latter accusing Sudan of supporting Chadian rebels - has cast grim shadows over the negotiations process." Previously, Qatar managed to convince five armed movements in Darfur to enter the peace process.

"Can we imagine our future, as a state, after the end of the oil era which,  according to the Saudi former oil minister, Ahmed Zaki Yamani, looks like it is closer than ever?" asked Badr al Deehani in the comment pages of the Kuwaiti daily Al Jarida. "Let me rephrase the question: what mechanisms have we installed in anticipation of the post-oil era, which Mr Yamani refers to as 'the alternative energy epoch,' involving nuclear, solar and wind energies?"

Mr Yamani gave a lecture in Cairo last April where he said: "The oil era shall come to an end quite soon, with as much certainty as the Stone Age is now no more. The whole world is hence betting on alternative energies, which would put the Arab exporting countries in a historic impasse." If Mr Yamani's predictions are correct, Kuwait will have to seriously start bracing against an impending future promising none of those colossal oil revenues that have been mismanaged thus far.

"Unfortunately, at a time when scientists are looking to separate hydrogen from oxygen without resorting to oil anymore, we are still debating whether or not to separate male from female students in schools." * Digest compiled by Achraf A El Bahi aelbahi@thenational.ae