Riyadh, Paris ties
OBSERVERS cannot miss the level of enormous understanding between Riyadh and Paris, as the two countries have identical views on the Middle Eastern issues.
Although France has expressed due understanding to the transformations in the region and confidence over reports provided by its allies in the region toward issues brought about by the so-called “Arab Spring,” it stood apart from the approach adopted by Washington toward several issues, notably Egypt and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
France is exerting outstanding efforts in matters of regional security, especially in the war against terrorist groups.
France is working to boost cooperation with Saudi Arabia in combating terrorism based on the security pact signed between the two countries in 2008.
This cooperation will inevitably lead to the identification of reasons behind the increased extremism in the region. The key reason is the laxity toward Iranian interventions in Syria and Iraq, which automatically, led to the emergence of Daesh.
Daesh cannot be eradicated unless we put an end to reasons of its birth; that is continuation of the Syrian regime and the help from Tehran. Here, France is required to deal with the situation seriously through its basic and fundamental role in Lebanon or in the European Union, which is required to take more a clear position toward Iran-backed Hezbollah’s terrorism.
It has also become imperative for Paris to link cementing relations with Tehran to its involvement in a positive and constructive role in the regional crisis as earlier pledged by President Francois Hollande.
Observers have expressed fears that economic recovery and lifting of sanctions on Iran may lead to Iran’s increased support to terrorist militias in the region.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif’s visit to France came to set up a solid understanding toward issues of the region, which is experiencing growing developments at all levels, notably political, economic and security.
— By Aiman Al-Hamadi
Restoring GCC’s dignity
DESPITE the fact that some decisions seem to be of purely political nature but their content is originated from strict popular stances.
This is well demonstrated in the decision announced unanimously by the GCC countries declaring Hezbollah and groups affiliated with it terrorist groups.
The GCC community considers that Hezbollah is a party used to deliberately provoke them and degrade their dignity through its systematic insults and arrogant remarks of its leader Hassan Nasrallah who has been spreading lies since the 1980s.
The GCC community has endured insults from Iran, notably from those parties, organizations and Arab figures loyal to Iran. They also continued to extend financial support to Hezbollah even when the party entered the war in Syria to kill Syrian people, particularly the Sunnis.
It was an abhorrent attitude from Hezbollah to insult the GCC community and trivialize the GCC policies while we have allowed it to infiltrate our media, banks, financial institutions and education curriculums.
On the other hand, declaring the party as a terrorist organization is the beginning to restore dignity of the GCC citizens and to put an end to rumbling insults, Iran’s scorn, screams of Nasrallah and obscenities coming on us from media and Arabic-speaking Persian TV channels.
— By Abdulaziz Al-Jarallah
Nasrallah in trouble
WITH the increasing number of casualties in Syria, pressure is mounting on Hezbollah to end its military involvement. It is also facing criticism due to its actions that led to the problems between other Arab countries and Lebanon, which is basically an Arab country hijacked by Iran through its proxy.
The continued military involvement in Syria and escalation of confrontation with Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries reflect a unilateral political, which is against the interests of Lebanon and its people.
Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah has tried to contain the growing resentment by adopting a policy of intimidation by assuring the Lebanese over the stability of their country reminding them that he alone has the decision of continuity (or discontinuity) of this stability.
In this context, Nasrallah also tried to involve the Lebanese people in his party’s confrontation with the GCC countries by claiming that the GCC decisions are aimed to punish all Lebanese and not his party.
It has become clear that the steps taken by the GCC countries against Lebanon and Hezbollah, notably suspension of Saudi military aid to Lebanon and the GCC’s declaration of the party as a terrorist group, have gravely hit the party and put it in the state of direct confrontation with all Lebanese people, including the Shiites.
Over the past two weeks, heated discussions took place between Lebanese political forces over Hezbollah’s loyalty to Lebanon, its decisions and objectives.
— By Hassan Haidar
Curse of passive smoking
THE habit of smoking is the scourge of all times, which kills smokers slowly.
Smokers are aware of the dangers of smoking but they stick to false imagination of enjoying smoking.
Smokers normally recall the story of a grey-haired man who lived up to the age of ninety though he smoked two packets per day but they forget to tell stories about dozens who died of clots in heart or brain or lung cancers caused due to smoking.
Due to growing awareness about the dangers of passive, the authorities have banned smoking in public places but, surprisingly, allowed it in other areas for unknown reasons.
Here a question can be raised: How smoking is banned in restaurants but allowed in wedding halls?
One of my friends said that he was hesitant to attend events in halls, notably wedding parties, because of smoking habits of some people who did not care about the rights of others.
Health experts have emphasized that passive smoking poses serious health risks, which means attendees who may have heart diseases and even healthy persons are prone to face dangers of smoking.
My friend has suggested that the invitation cards should contain a phrase like “the party is smoking-free” adding that ban of smoking should be applied on wedding party halls with strict penalties on offenders.
— By Salem bin Ahmed Sahab
A star fades away
THE Saudi Arabian Anti-Doping Committee (SAADC) has closed the file of Ittihad Club player Mohammed Nour by imposing a four-year suspension penalty on him.
Supporters of Ittihad Club have not accepted the penalty. The statement issued by the club carried simple and “broken” language and was not very realistic in tone. The SAADC closed the Nour episode with a detailed report on how to deal with the most critical issue but, however, carried inappropriate phrases such as “cheap” and “understanding regulations.”
On the other hand, the SAADC has insisted to sue Ittihad Club based on documents and letters since the beginning of the issue adding that the procedures of Mohammed Nour were legal in accordance with documents duly signed by the player, his lawyer and carried the seal of the Club.
The player has the right to appeal within 21 days or otherwise the decision will enter into force.
— By Hasan Al-Qarni
THE Ministry of Labor is coordinating with the Ministry of Economy and Planning to check unemployment in the Kingdom.
A series of initiatives, programs and plans have been drawn up on short, medium and long terms. In this particular article, we refer to the short-term plan, which will help reduce unemployment, notably by placing Saudis at positions occupied by foreigners.
Based on figures released by the General Authority for Statistics (GAS), rates of unemployment registered a slight drop by the end of 2015 to stand at 11.5 percent.
The number of unemployed Saudis reached 647,000, most of them holders of university degrees and secondary school certificates, while the number of foreign workforce in private sector firms stood at 8.5 million.
However, we cannot depend on jobs occupied by non-Saudis because 70 percent of the jobs are being held by non-educated foreigners working at low salaries, which cannot be filled in by Saudis, at least in the near future.
The remaining 30 percent of the jobs held by foreigners in the private sector, or 2.5 million jobs, could be our target whose qualifications are similar to those of the unemployed Saudis.
Therefore, the 2.5 million jobs may easily be filled in by 647,000 unemployed Saudis. However, the success of the replacement is linked to three things: Cost of the unemployed Saudis; appropriate training and transfer of knowledge; and discipline has to be strictly observed.
— By Bandar Al-Safir