Monday, March 10, 2008

Arab Eyes

In the wake of Tarek Mitri, our acting Foreign Minister’s, latest [outstanding] statements before his counterparts at the Arab League, and as the Arab world’s leaders arrive in Dakar, Senegal for the annual Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) Summit; I was reminded of another time when Mitri, the OIC, and the Arab League were linked to an effort to draw international attention to Syria’s proxy-war on the Lebanese state and its ruling Parliamentary majority.

Back then (June 2007), Mitri was busy presenting evidence of “Syria's involvement in every aspect of the ongoing terror campaign…” that ripped through the country throughout the summer of 2007. The idea was to present this concrete proof to the Arab League, to the OIC, to the UN, and to the UNSC; the objective, as was postulated then, was to garner support for effective international action to halt Syrian interference in Lebanon - such as the placement of International Monitors on our borders with Syria.

After all, when confronted with the domestic manifestations of what is a regional/international problem [Syrian and Iranian use of terrorist factions as tools of international/regional policy] we had acted – at a great national cost, no less.

And while a set of circumstances – composed of some countries’ wavering in the face of open threats by the Syrians [both verbal and practical] and a set of pressures and counter-pressures that emerged from Iranian-Saudi negotiations – prevented the achievement of the above objective then; the order in which the garnering of support proceeded is of importance, and may be at play once again.

The importance of the order lies in the need for Lebanon’s Parliamentary majority to assert both its Arab and Islamic credentials before an Arab/Islamic audience. It comes in the face of a continued propaganda campaign by Syria’s allies to paint the country’s government in the image of that other pesky neighbour of ours to the south. At no time was that image more glaring than on the screens of the Arab public’s television sets, with weekly terrorist bombings throughout Beirut and a military operation in and around a Palestinian camp. Biased reporting on the part of the Arab world’s most popular television network – which happens to be owned by a leading pusher of the Syrian/Iranian regional dossier, Qatar – drove the point home.

Today the idea continues to be to make Lebanon [or more precisely, the Lebanese government] look like Israel in the eyes of the Arab masses [Iran’s long-time target audience], and so there continues to be a need for us to pursue the defence of our sovereignty through a circuitous, and sometimes unreliable, route (this also explains our Presidential situation, somewhat).

Hopefully this time, however, with the [slow yet sure] image transformation Hizballah continues to undergo in the Arab public sphere – from Arab resistance movement to Shiite Iranian-proxy militia; with a Syrian regime exposed for its lack of intent in pursuing any compromise in Lebanon and, instead, posing a threat to other Arab states; and with even more reports on the porous nature of the Syrian-Lebanese border and the Syrian regime’s links to terror: The world will take a stand.

1 comment:

  1. Such a shift in perception would mean that Arab medias begin to become more independant and to do some serious reporting/investigation work inside the Arab world. Despite healthy (but short lived exceptions) I don't see that happening any time soon.


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