The report concerning the assassination of Rafik Hariri, former Lebanese Prime Minister, that was handed to the U.N Secretary General by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, is more of a political earthquake than a report. All attempts to simplify this matter are nothing but a waste of time and effort. The Syrian reaction that was represented by harsh comments made by the Syrian Information Minister, who regularly uses realistic and moderate language, was both sad and disappointing. Arguments that this report was biased and political rather than legal, will not achieve any results. Similarly, the language of rejection, anger, conspiracy, and plans against Syria will not change reality.
To understand the Syrian stance, even if we assume that the report was biased, false and a well orchestrated conspiracy against Syria, all this does not alter the fact that a long awaited international report has been completed by a United Nation”s resolution, handed over officially to the U.N, and that it will be looked at in the Security Council. Moreover, several countries, most notably France and the United States, will use the report to issue international Sanctions against Syria as for them it represents a strong weapon. After all, the world will not look into the details of the report and its intricate facts, but will rather focus on its conclusions, which are surely not in Syria”s favor.
There are two options for Syrian leadership, to use either emotional or a rational language. The former is well known in Arab culture which is largely employed for local consumption i.e., propitiation of the public. However, this kind of language has long been expired, and does not concern the international society. It is simple yet may be very costly in terms of its consequences. As for the rational language, it is the language of logic, realistic interaction with the report, and the announcement of Syria”s willingness to cooperate with the international community and the international investigators.
The biggest danger for Syria is to lend an ear to the so-called "strategic analysts" in Damascus who express nothing but emotional rhetoric via the Arab Satellite TV stations. Even worse, they provoke nationalist and fundamentalist parties who encourage confrontation yet are the first to hide and escape when war breaks out.
There is a lot to learn for Damascus from the Iraqi experience, and it should take heed of the language of rationality. It must place Syria”s national interest above the interests of extremists and the speakers of the stagnant language who want to confront the entire world yet are unable to manage the most minor of problems. The coming days will not be easy, however, the wise person is one who learns, is cautious, and uses his intellect rather than emotion.