Omid Memarian

Monday, July 31, 2006

Israel’s Destruction of Lebanon: Pushing Back the Prospect of Lasting Peace in the Middle East

Omid-Karim Sadjadpour is an analyst in International Crisis Group, and was a visiting fellow at the American University of Beirut during the 2003-2004 academic year. A few days ago I interviewed him for Roozonline website. Meanwhile, I asked him to answer some questions for my blogs. Here are three questions on the current crisis in the Middle East:

Is there any positive prospect for the Middle East peace process anymore?

I think the likelihood of a successful Middle East peace process has now been knocked back years, if not decades. This latest crisis has only deepened the tremendous mutual mistrust and resentment that already existed between the two sides. Few Arabs have the will or desire to make peace with Israel these days. And likewise, few Israelis believe that the Palestinians or the Arabs will ever accept their existence.

Why Arab leaders couldn’t interfere to establish a seize fire of play a mediating role? Are they agreed that Hezbollah destroy by Israel?

Aside from Bashar Assad in Syria, Arab leaders have been torn over how to react to this crisis. On one hand, they are extremely pre-occupied with Iran’s growing regional ambitions and are concerned that a strong showing by Hezbollah will only heighten Iran’s status in the region. But although they initially criticized Hezbollah for provoking Israel, the Israeli response has been so destructive and unremitting that Arab leaders have since been forced to issue strong criticisms of Israel in order not to alienate their own populations.

Israeli and United States officials say that this war is a part of war on terrorism. Do you think that this attack can bring peace to Middle East?

I hope I am wrong, but I fear that Israel’s destruction of Lebanon has pushed back the prospect of lasting peace in the Middle East another generation. There is simply no trust between the two sides, and the younger generations in the Arab world and Israel that are watching this war on TV are getting prematurely jaded.


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