China and oil behind Clinton's visit to Gulf

Washington is trying to attack Iran by breaking down the alliances - based on oil supply - that it had spun to get around US pressure.

In a comment piece for the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat, Ubaidli Ubaidli wrote that the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was on her way to Doha to meet with member states of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, seeking to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue with officials from two Gulf countries. This time, it is reported, the US envoy would adopt a new approach in which both oil and politics overlap. Washington is trying to attack Iran by breaking down the alliances - based on oil supply - that it had spun to get around US pressure. It is expected that the US will request Saudi Arabia to increase its oil and Qatar to increase its gas exports to China with the aim to persuade Beijing to take a firmer stance with regard to sanctions that the US would like to enforce against Tehran. According to the London-based newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat, the close economic ties between China and Iran centred around energy exports is the main reason why Beijing is reluctant to enforce sanctions on Iran in the backdrop of its nuclear ambitions. Aware of the central role of oil in the relations between China and Iran, the US is trying to use this avenue to minimise Beijing's reliance on Iran, but at the same time assure a steady oil flow to its economy from other sources in the region.

Have the Lebanese finally overcome their grievances over the assassination of Rafiq al Hariri? asked Abdul Rahman al Rashed in a comment piece for the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat. The commemoration of his death was less than impressive, although the event attracted a rally of about 50,000 Lebanese in downtown Beirut to pay tribute to the late prime minister. Recent events marked by the visit of his son, the current prime minister Saad Hariri, to Damascus and the exchange of visits between Syria and Saudi Arabia, in addition to the formation of the Lebanese government, have helped minimise opposition in Lebanon. "But the internal and external Lebanese problems are still on present. They are not likely to disappear completely, although their intensity has diminished. This is because such issues as the Syrian influence, the Palestinian refugees and Hizbollah's arms are all dangerous and cannot be underestimated." Lebanon will thus stay open to possibilities as long as Damascus is seeking a perpetual role in Lebanon and Hizbollah prepares to drag the country into a new military clash with Israel. It is very unfortunate to see how this moral issue - the assassination of a former prime minister and other politicians - is brought to an end even before formal hearings are held.

"According to the World Health Organisation [WHO], the UAE has the second highest rate of diabetes in the world, and this figure is expected to rise by 2030. Not only that, we are also criticised for not exercising as shown by the lack of Emiratis' participation in sport events," observed Murei al Haylan in an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan. "There is also a lack of nutritional supervision over what is served for students at school canteens, let alone our eating habits, which are clearly a cause for the high contraction of the disease." No one can deny the valuable efforts made by health authorities in the UAE in raising public awareness about diabetes, but the Government cannot go over the edge to control people's personal behaviour. It remains, a personal responsibility. Parents are also responsible when they allow their children to eat at fast-food restaurants and neighbourhood cafeterias, and when they fail to feed them in person, leaving this matter to maids. As for sport activities in schools, it has been noticed that physical education has become less important in the curriculum. In the past, schools tended to engage more students in many sports and encouraged competition between schools at the emirate and national levels.

"Israeli leaders are trying in vain to buy more time to impose a fait accompli which Palestinians, Arabs and the whole international community must accept. The Israelis are particularly aiming at altering urban, demographicz and territorial facts to their advantage so they can move against Jerusalem becoming the capital of the future independent Palestinian state," noted the Jordanian newspaper Al Rai in its editorial. By illegal means, the Israeli government continue demolishing houses in East Jerusalem and transplanting more settlements, as well as evacuating Arab inhabitants from their houses. "Yet these measures will, by no means, change the legitimate rights of Palestinians, and they can hardly affect the process of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No matter what they try, Israelis will be impelled to admit the Arab origin of the land." Israel has no more time to engage in a new cycle of manoeuvring. It is left only with two options: either to accept the two state solution, which implies recognition of Palestinians' right to establish their own independent state with East Jerusalem as capital, or turn into a new form of apartheid state. * Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi