Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tough Questions Without Answers

For the past 3 weeks, since the start of this godforsaken war that has seen my country transformed from the vacation Mecca of the Middle East to Hell on Earth, I have been trying to figure out Why!?

It was clear to me right from the start that Syria and Iran had a hand in the operation that led to the igniting of this most recent conflict. Our self-proclaimed sister nation and Hizballah’s ideological mentors had chosen to conduct their foreign policy with our blood. For Iran this conflict proved how far and how poisonous and disrupting its regional reach could be, thereby providing it with leverage in any negotiations touching on its security and stability. With Syria, I went back to basics and asked myself what had been the end-goal of the entire Syrian positioning on the international diplomatic scene? And then it hit me, the goal has always simply been that Syria must be first (and Lebanon last) in any negotiated settlement! That has been the entire purpose of the Syrians' backing of Hizballah, it’s been the cusp of their entire diplomatic alignment, and its been the cause of so much of our misery! Given the developments in Lebanon and the separation of the "parallel tracks" that used to define our regional diplomatic policy, the added benefit to Syria of this campaign has been to say to the Americans and the rest of the world, look you don't make any (more) gains in Lebanon unless you deal with us first and foremost; look, Lebanon will not be resolved until our question is solved; Look, Lebanon will never have peace unless we get our way FIRST!!!

So what is Lebanon to do? The entire international platform upon which the Syrians have placed themselves is based on the principle that there shall never be peace in Lebanon until the question of Syria's 'peace' is settled. A painful answer to reach is that we should help the Syrians get their goddamned peace so that they will leave us alone; so that we can also, eventually, sign peace with that other dastardly neighbor of ours and finally - finally live in peace! But what good would that do? Are we supposed to help any regional player who's in a bind and who essentially takes us hostage? Are we to remain a battlefield for Iran also until its nuclear issue is resolved? And what about Iraq? Shouldn't we take up arms and cause internal and regional havoc until a resolution to the Iraqi crisis is found? Even if the trail from our problems were to end with our direct neighbors, what is to say that the Syrians (I'll exclude the Israelis from this line of argument for a while but it could extend to them also) would end their fiddling in our affairs after they reach a peace with Israel? After all, that is when their precarious regime would be at its weakest. With the pretext of war with Israel gone there would be no need for the harsh civic restrictions (oppressions!) imposed on the Syrian people and there would be a viable internal threat against the Alawite regime, and to put it in the words of our beloved Bashar: "Lebanon is the platform, the factory, and the financier of all conspiracies against Syria". So how in hell can we ever expect this evil regime to leave us alone, how can we ever expect them to treat us better than they treat their own people who they deprive of material, spiritual, moral, and civic liberties whenever it might, maybe, by some miniscule chance, led to a loosening of the complete stranglehold they have over that country?!?

If anyone has answers to those questions then by all means....If anyone thinks there is a way out of this conundrum then please....If anyone thinks there will ever be 'peace in the middle east' then go ahead and tell me how because today I completely fail to see it.

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