Despite the UN report into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the increasingly likelihood of war with Syria , the continued clashes between Palestinian groups and Israel and the bloody insurgency threatening Iraq , I remain optimistic for the future and believe these four problems will be soon resolved.
However, soon does not necessarily imply a solution will be found prior to next year’s World Cup to be held in Germany.
Those concerned about bringing an end to these crises, and not just those directly involved, ought to realize that a unique window of opportunity is currently manifesting itself, which I will call the peace of the northern Arab world, in reference to Syria , Lebanon , Palestine , Israel and Iraq . We can also add the specter of terrorism which is spreading like the plague in the region which will undoubtedly be defeated if these problems are solved.
Of course, Hariri’s murder can be solved by punishing 10 men but Lebanon will remain instable and in danger of exploding. The success of the upcoming Iraqi elections is ensured and a new democratic government will assume power in Baghdad before the end of this year but terrorism will continue to threaten the cabinet and the people of Iraq. In addition, Abu Mazen’s government will remain besieged by Palestinian opposition groups, as its predecessors have.
However complicated, all these issues interrelated and can be solved at once. I am convinced that Washington D.C. would be blind not to see this interconnectedness and naïve if it does benefit from the unique opportunity presented by Hariri’s assassination. Let us not forget that while no one could convince Damascus to withdraw its troops from its neighbor, no Syrian troops remain in Lebanon following Hariri’s death. This should serve as indication that other outstanding problems can also be resolved; who could have imagined that Syria would leave Lebanon in the next ten years?
I am certain Damascus will cooperate with the Security Council on the international investigation and therefore bring to an end one of the issues we have mentioned above. But, what of the other problems that have plagued our region for over fifty years?
It will be wrong to mobilize the might of the international community against Damascus on one issue, at a time when it should busy itself with other important issues to ensure a better future for all. It can remove the pressure Abu Mazen is under and give peace a chance in Palestine and address Hezbollah”s excuses for keeping its weapons.
In punishing those responsible for Hariri’s murder, Mehlis and the Security Council are not solving Lebanon’s predicament as a spirit for revenge will triumph and the people will remain in fear.