Sharing the blame on Syria

The United Nations, China and Russia – not Kofi Annan – share the blame for failing to secure the peace in Syria, a reader argues. Other letter topics today: smoking's hazards, power and electricity in Dubai and Arab women athletes.

A reader condemns the United Nations' tepid response to events in Syria. Don Emmert / AFP
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One has to sympathise with Kofi Annan (Annan quits his role as Syria peace envoy, August 3). The UN Security Council sent him in with a peace plan that was deliberately sabotaged by certain countries.

Moreover, the General Assembly's vote at the weekend underscores the world's weakness on Syria.

I can understand Russia and China not voting due to their ties to the Assad regime. But 31 other nations not voting is a mystery to me. At least Mr Annan seemed to have good intentions and it is a shame he did not have more support.

Along with sanctions against Iran, the world's failings on Syria should be investigated for their culpability in prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people.

The threat to world peace continues as long as deadly attacks in Damascus continue.

Frederick Melick, Australia

Smoking hurts health, and profits

When will the Chinese learn that smoking is harmful (Shisha pipe demand goes up in smoke in Chinese factory, August 3)? That's why demand is down. It has nothing to do with the Arab conflicts, as the company's owner, Luo Weiguo, tells your writer.

Just talk to your own Ask Ali columnist, who has stated that the Quran forbids the believer from taking poison into their bodies, in an article he published last year.

People are heeding Ali's message. And that will prove a challenge for those looking to profit from the tobacco trade.

Roger Plumridge, UK

Passing the buck on terror support

I fully understand and share the pain of the families, relatives and friends of the people who died during or aftermath of this tragic attack (Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Iran should pay US$6bn compensation for 9/11: judge, August 2).

I understand also, even if it's just symbolic, the need to put a name on those who committed, organised or supported these insane people.

But one question remains: what about the other nationalities - Pakistani, Afghani and Saudi - that supported those with ties to the terror attacks in the US? Does this court decision take into account all those responsible, or only those that are politically convenient to challenge?

Moreover, calling on two groups and one country to compensate Americans for September 11 misses the broader responsibility that the US and some European countries have over their own actions. Many nations have maintained official and non-official support for extremist groups worldwide.

It's easy to call for compensation when it's politically expedient. It's more difficult when it means looking in the mirror.

Vincent Aymard, Abu Dhabi

Summer no time to cut services

Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Dewa (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) would cut our water and electricity during the Holy Month of Ramadan, but they did.

While we are unable to pay our bill at the moment, we did contact them to request being permitted to pay a portion of the amount owed.

Instead, Dewa insisted that we clear all pending dues, which include a mistake that accounts for almost 40 per cent of the bill. But Dewa wouldn't listen to our suggestions, or argument. Can Dewa justify cutting water and electricity during Ramadan?

July and August are the hottest months in the UAE. It seems like money is everything for them. Their staff need a serious lesson of compassion, understanding and empathy.

Azlan Mohammad, Dubai

Two views on Arab female athletes

The opinion article by Sara Al Boom, on increasing the number of Arab women in international sport, was excellent (Female Olympians remind us of how far Arabs have to go, August 3).

To be sure, some of the suggestions might be a bit too aggressive to get agreement from those opposed to women in sports.

I recommend using the dialectic approach as a strategy to look for agreement and to find a successful path to your goal. But all in all, good ideas worth considering.

Tom Pattillo, Canada

Judo might not be the most exciting event at the Olympic Games, and many people did not expect that the committee overseeing judo would have allowed athletes to participate wearing the hijab. And, of course, Wojdan Shahrkhani did not win.

But her appearance in the Games was a good start for Saudi women. It's better to support them than disparage and criticise them (Saudi female athletes in 'shameless' Olympics row, July 30). I think that with time we will see more female athletes from Arab countries.

Name withheld by request