Lobbyists lurk behind victory for Armenians

Now that the foreign affairs Committee of the US Congress has voted in favour of a motion describing the Ottoman Empire's treatment of Armenians as "genocide", US presidents will be obliged to use this term.

Now that the foreign affairs Committee of the US Congress has voted in favour of a motion describing the Ottoman Empire's treatment of Armenians as "genocide", US presidents will be obliged to use this term in official speeches when referring to the matter, wrote Areeb al Rantawi in an opinion piece for the Jordanian newspaper Addustoor. "It should be noted that the committee would not have met to examine this issue without pressure from lobbyists, most probably Israelis, who seek to punish Turkey and its ruling Justice and Development Party for its attitude towards Israel's lawless actions. It is also an attempt to constrain Turkey to stand by Nato and refrain from its repeated criticism of Washington's policies towards Iraq and Iran."

Opponents of the resolution, 22 members out of 45, condemned the double standard of policies adopted by the US Congress, which failed to probe massacres at home against African Americans and Native Americans. They also decried the rationale behind the interest in the remote issue of the Armenians. "The committee has no competence to read history from its perspective, nor is it entitled to issue value judgments on past events," the writer noted. "Indeed the latest resolution is not timely as it may greatly damage Turkish-Armenian relations, which have seen a steady improvement."

Did Arab foreign ministers give "cover" to Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, to engage in indirect talks with the Israelis, asked Tariq Alhomayed in a comment piece for the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat. "Yet a problem emerged later when those who supported the move did not justify their position, while others who opposed it could not produce a convincing argument."

The green light given to Mr Abbas to hold negotiations remains the right decision because it bestows legitimacy on him and pushes aside those who might want to seize the opportunity for political gains," the author wrote, quoting an Arab foreign minister. Syria, on the other hand, rejected the idea of "authorisation", arguing that the Palestinians could take decisions by themselves. Taking this stance, it tried to discard any possibility of such a precedent taking place, hence granting legitimacy to Hamas to attack Mr Abbas. The Syrian argument does not hold water. If it believes Palestinians can act independently, then why does Damascus continue to interfere in their internal affairs? The problem today that goes unheeded by most is the lack of political oversight which opens the door to more irrational bargains.

"In the Iraqi election there is no party that can form the next government alone. Perhaps this is a point of common consensus among various political forces," noted the Saudi daily Alyaum in its editorial. It is true that this is the second election under occupation, but this should be one of a kind. It is expected either to yield a new political leadership, initiating a set of reforms as hoped, or just reproduce the status quo. That is, the same figures who came with the invasion would remain in office and continue similar policies based on sectarianism.

"It is most likely that the present prime minister, Nouri al Maliki, has a slim chance to win because throughout his term he created opponents for himself as a result of his unpopular policies. He has also lost the support of neighbouring countries except, of course, Iran. On that account, how could such a government be keen to preserve the interests of the state?" It is hoped, therefore, that this election is a turning point in the history of Iraq, a step to bring about internal stability and restore the role of Iraq on the Arab scene. For that, it is hoped that Iraqis will rightly choose their representatives on a practical basis, without the influence of the residue left by years of internal conflicts and chaos.

"It seems there is a desperate need to educate illiterate workers, and this should be the responsibility of employers. Otherwise, murders that occur for trivial reasons will grow to an alarming rate," remarked Muraei al Halyan in an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan. Last week, for instance, three murders took place among unskilled labourers. Most of the incidents were instigated by a "disagreement over money matters". It was the lack of awareness and the illiteracy of these workers which led them to act brutally against each other over a few dirhams.

"It should be noted that there is a high rate of illiteracy among labourers. They are ignorant of how to deal with laws and procedures when they are menaced by other workers. They are also ignorant of the existence of laws and institutions one can resort to in order to claim one's rights."  For these reasons, there is an urgent need to educate illiterate labourers, who usually undergo a big shock when they come to this country. Companies, especially small and medium enterprises, should set up classes to explain the laws in force and the state departments workers can approach in order to resolve their disputes.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha el Mouloudi @Email:melmouloudi@thenational.ae