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Making the Most of the Crisis (Part 1 of 2) - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is true that the referee has blown the whistle on the military confrontation in Lebanon however; we still face a major crisis, most of which is yet to emerge. Political and military clashes between Lebanon and Israel might continue. Internal Lebanese fighting could erupt. The cards might be mixed with more forces on the Arab scene. The question however is who is going to benefit from the results? There is more to it than meets the eye.

Ayman al Zawahiri was not the only one who sought to take advantage of the Israeli-Lebanese war to win over the Arabs and Muslims in the region and all over the world. All extremist organizations have aimed for the same goal as evident through their websites, platforms and through their media presence.

Each crisis, including natural disasters such as the Pakistan earthquake and Tsunami, as well as religious occasions such as Ramadan, is exploited in order to serve other objectives. While some have used them as a facade for political incitement through discussions, others capitalized on these events to collect charitable donations and channel them to their own ends. I read an advertisement in an Egyptian newspaper in which a professional syndicate called for channeling contributions directly to its bank account in order to support the Palestinian victims in the aftermath of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza following the abduction of one of its soldiers one month ago. This was followed by advertisements by societies, institutions, and unions to collect money for their various activities in the name of supporting the resistance or lending aid to those suffering in Lebanon. These are attractive banners because of the mounting and sincere feelings among the masses that cannot be ignored. For example, a picture of a child with amputated legs cannot be disclaimed and it is enough to demonstrate the barbarism of the attacks without having to go into detail of who is responsible or who is to be blamed or other political controversies that the ordinary citizen cannot stomach.

The Lebanese war is a real catastrophe. Due to its magnitude emotionally and in the media, it will remain with the people for a long time to come. Extremist states and terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and others will exploit it for recruitment, collection of funds, and political propaganda.

Therefore, it is the duty of politicians to search for anything positive from such an ugly crisis, for example by insisting on resolving the Lebanese-Israeli crisis in a manner that denies both combatants, namely Israel and Hezbollah, of any pretexts for fighting. The war was inevitable; if it had not erupted on 12 July, it would have been ignited at a later stage. A certain confrontation was looming because of the military buildup and political suspension on issues such as the Shebaa Farms and the prisoners. Because the event has taken place, it must be used to defuse the crisis and settle what is left of it, especially since the Security Council has laid an important framework for negotiations over territories, prisoners, and the disarming of Hezbollah.

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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