Arabian Business Weekly Update 20 March, 2005

Terror groups must realise that politics and violence do not mix. THE events in Northern Ireland during the last few weeks cannot have gone unnoticed by the forces of terror that operate in Palestine and Lebanon. In the coming months, Hamas and Hezbollah must face up to some stark choices, and in doing so should look carefully at the Northern Irish example. There, Sinn Fein — the political wing of the terrorist group the IRA — has suddenly found itself frozen out of the centre stage. Its leader Gerry Adams has been snubbed by George W. Bush, and his entire organisation is in danger of becoming an international outcast.

  • E-Mail
By  Anil Bhoyrul Published  March 20, 2005

Hezbollah must take IRA lessons|~||~||~|Terror groups must realise that politics and violence do not mix. THE events in Northern Ireland during the last few weeks cannot have gone unnoticed by the forces of terror that operate in Palestine and Lebanon. In the coming months, Hamas and Hezbollah must face up to some stark choices, and in doing so should look carefully at the Northern Irish example. There, Sinn Fein — the political wing of the terrorist group the IRA — has suddenly found itself frozen out of the centre stage. Its leader Gerry Adams has been snubbed by George W. Bush, and his entire organisation is in danger of becoming an international outcast. Why? Because despite assurances to the contrary, the IRA has been linked to a major bank robbery and a brutal murder earlier this year. Adams has found that for all the popular support his party commands, his connections to terror have led to his eviction from the political stage. And so Hamas and Hezbollah now face their own crossroads. After years of boycotting the democratic dream, Hamas now says it will take a wider role in Palestinian politics. Given the impressive way that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has installed his authority, there is a genuine chance that Hamas could, one day, be embraced into a united Palestinian cabinet. But what of Hezbollah? In Lebanon, it has an extensive social welfare programme and nine lawmakers in Parliament. Deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem says he wants to take an even wider role in politics. But he adds: “Weapons will be kept because armed resistance is the most effective resistance." As Gerry Adams has found, politics and terror do not go hand in hand. It is one or the other. Hezbollah must soon decide which one. ||**||Flying low|~||~||~|Less than a year ago, it appeared that Emirates Airline was facing a crisis. The emergence of low-cost airlines posed, in theory, a serious threat to the company's business. At the time, Emirates Airline chairman Sheikh Ahmed dismissed the threat as laughable. So far, he has been proved correct. While Emirates Airline has gone from strength to strength, recording ever increasing profits, the latest low-cost carrier to launch, Al Jazeera Airways, is stuck on the runway. As we report this week, its planned February 2005 launch could be delayed by up to eight months. A deal to lease aircraft has fallen through, and the company now has to wait for the delivery of two new Airbus A320 planes. Given that Al Jazeera's flotation was oversubscribed by 12 times last year, this is a dismal start to its much-heralded cheap-fares venture. ||**||Hiding the truth|~||~||~|On February 13 this year, a woman was brutally attacked in the UAE emirate of Sharjah. Three more such attacks soon followed, causing widespread panic in the city. Thousands of locals were in a state of alarm, fearing a serial attacker was on the loose. But from Sharjah Police came only silence. Despite a newspaper report on one of the attacks on February 25, the police still had nothing to say. Then, on March 13 — an full month after the first attack — Sharjah Police Chief Brigadier Al Mutawa, finally admitted an attacker was on the loose. Two days later, a suspect was arrested. Why did the police chief wait four weeks before warning Sharjah residents to be on alert? Did he not think it was in everyone's interest to be open and honest? He has let the people of Sharjah down, and very badly. ||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code