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One People, Two Embassies! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Syrian-Lebanese summit that was held recently in the Syrian capital Damascus between the Syrian and Lebanese presidents was dealt with in the international media and the Arab media in particular, as though it were a summit between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Of course there is important symbolic significance to this meeting, which commenced with a flight departing from Beirut airport carrying the Lebanese president and his wife to Damascus airport to meet their Syrian counterparts. This marks a ‘new’ scene and a departure away from the usual visits and the speedy and ‘cold’ receptions of the past. Perhaps the most prominent outcome of this meeting is the mutual agreement to establish diplomatic exchange and open up embassies in both Damascus and Beirut respectively.

It’s true that the Syrian-Lebanese issue is a strange one, as is the relationship between these two states. We witness the advanced states in Europe, for example, striving to remove the embassies and barriers between them and yet here are two of the most similar states in the Arab world attempting to deepen the divide between them.

This ‘temporary’ situation should change (even in theory) in the case of a change in the situation in the Fertile Crescent ¬¬¬– following the recent [aforementioned] consolidation so that it may effectuate a form of economic integration such as the one established between the GCC States.

Lebanon and Syria share a great deal of common denominators; similar geography and circumstances, one language and similar sects and religions, all of which are expected to complete the two states rather than create a master-slave relationship between them. However, change is looming and it will accelerate after the elimination of the Nasserite ‘genius’ and the abhorrent scholarly attitudes that have destroyed these two states and the region with their inflammatory politics.

The greatest victims were the Arab identity and economy through the scaremongering, destruction, reassurance and terrorism practices, far removed from the theory of Antoine Saadeh and the ideology behind the Syrian Socialist National Party that advocated a greater Syria and propagated the idea that the Syrian people were the most superior among all Arabs. This is a theory that is reminiscent of Nazi and Fascist ideologies that were prevalent at the time and present in more than one hotspot worldwide.

Thus, away from this proposition, one may deeply ponder the real advantages to a better relationship and a non-rigid understanding between Syria and Lebanon; one that is clear, fair and just. However, once malicious and toxic elements enter this equation, it soon transforms into a pulpit to preach social, political and religious ideologies that divide and destroy and leave no room for cohesion on any level. In this scenario, the relationship will be doomed to utter failure and complete devastation and ruin.

Indeed, there are two embassies between Damascus and Beirut, however the conflict in the relationship is bigger than a matter that may be resolved between two embassies. It is a conflict that has caused splits among sects in the two countries and today these two states will split into four imminently if the people continue to breed rivalry as they do today.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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