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A Solution After All? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I am not sure whether the signals that we are getting are simply hopes for an improvement in the general situation, the reason being that we have reached an all-time low with the Hamas seizure of power in Gaza, the continuous uprising in Nahr al Bared in Lebanon, the Iranian escalation that is behind the insurgency in Iraq, the arrival of the third US aircraft carrier to the Gulf, the targeting of international forces in Lebanon for the first time and the recommencing of killing tourists in Yemen.

In light of the aforementioned negatives, I am not sure if there is anything positive. However, we could describe Syrian president Bashar al Assad’s address as the best thing that we have heard for four years. This address contained considerable promises that if only some were to be implemented, would be a great achievement for Syria and the region as the Syrian president expressed his willingness to establish an overt peace and spoke about guarantees such as the “Rabin Deposit” to assure him of the good intentions and an acceptable mediator between the two parties [Israel and Syria].

Furthermore, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has asserted that Iran has reduced the level of uranium enrichment, indicating that Tehran wanted to negotiate after it had found itself in a serious predicament, where Russia and China stood against it. In addition, North Korea, that suggested a nuclear rebellion for our region, backed down for a low cost of $25 million [a reference to the $25 million freeze of North Korean funds at the hands of the United States].

In Palestine, Hamas leaders have changed their anti-Fatah approach, offering reconciliation and putting most things in to perspective. Meanwhile, the disputing Lebanese parties have decided to meet in France at the right time during the summer holidays. The French know very well that the decision between reconciliation and hostility is not in the hands of Lebanese parties, as was previously discovered by the Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa. However, the continuous attempts aimed at dismantling the thorny Lebanese issues might succeed in alleviating the harm of dispute.

In one week, a positive spirit has prevailed in the whole region despite the fact that it may be a misleading delusion for which we are thirsty.

I still believe that most regional issues are trivial to begin with and do not deserve all this blood, devastation, anarchy and tension, however when everybody is expressing pessimism and doubt, matters are always made worse. The Iranians do not need nuclear energy or nuclear weapons to solve their crisis. Skepticism has only brought more restriction, suffering and risk of war upon them. In addition, Syria is a beautiful country with a civilized people and all it needs is to devote itself to the economic reform rather than the Lebanese dispute. Through developing the internal potentials, Syria would have a tremendous influence on the Lebanese issue without using tanks, intelligence or assassination squads. In addition, the Palestinians do not deserve to punish themselves through disintegration; particularly they have a good political system that can assimilate their differences. As soon as they become one party or a consistent system, they will be able to work a political miracle, including the establishment of the Palestinian state.

To change a bad situation is not impossible but the challenge requires responsible leaders with a wider vision for the interests of their countries.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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