The UN investigator, Mehlis, is leading us towards what we politically expected, that is that Syria is guilty as charged. The Security Council will further endorse a series of sanctions that it will be unable to escape.
However, will the huge political crisis that is deeply rooted and complicated be left for the UN investigator to administer alone? It is common knowledge that Mehlis can manage such a task and that as punishment, legal sanctions will be imposed, however, the security status in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq will remain unstable. Furthermore, the struggle for survival and the fight for influence in the region will continue to be the reason for criminal acts.
What is apparent to all of us is total devastation emerging in the whole region; however, such a complicated status reflects a new glimpse of hope for the region and anticipation that the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, may result in some major unexpected transformations. For example, the retreat of the Syrian forces from Lebanon was once impossible to envisage. Achieving peace in the region requires key political players such as the United States and major Arab countries within the region to be able to analyze the crisis and act in the best interests of the region.
America believes that Syria is holding a number of hostages and that those crises stem from that very country. It believes that Arab and Iraqi militarized forces infiltrate through its borders into Iraq and that Damascus is supporting Palestinian opposition groups and organizations, which by paralyzing Abu Mazen”s government, are hindering the establishment of peace. The United States perceives Damascus as the jugular vein of Hezbollah”s forces in Lebanon as well as that of Palestinian camps fighters. This has been the case for years and will continue to be so unless the international investigation of Hariri”s assassination offers some solution to such a complicated reality in the region.
We are now facing the hideous crime of Hariri”s assassination, which revealed hidden issues and interests in the region. The opportunity that we now have suggests that we should not deal with Hariri”s assassination as a punishable crime but rather from a comprehensive outlook on the whole region.
Sanctions will lead the assassins to jail and may have worse repercussions than imagined. The only option that we have is to grant Syria a chance to escape the cobweb that could free all involved parties such as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Israel and the United States. Freeing such parties does not mean that Hariri”s assassins would be clear of charges or pardoned but they would be penalized just as the Libyan criminals were after shooting down Pan-Am flight 103. The solution is to free the Syrian regime and country from blame and associate the act with the small number of criminals who actually committed the crime. Only the outcome should be linked to political matters.
Finally, the whole operation will be detailed as follows; Syria pays the price through penalizing the assassins and terminates any discreet presence in Lebanon, and stops its support of organizations and sects that hinder the chances for peace to prosper such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Jihad and militarized Iraqi oppositionists. This is the price determined by the international community, not the United States alone; of protecting the Syrian regime from any attempts to overthrow the current system or that threaten the stability of the country. Furthermore, there exists the opportunity to discuss the possibility of regaining Syria”s occupied territories in the Geneva project.