Future Bloc leader and former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora arrived in London on Friday, November 26, 2010, setting to meet British officials and members of the Lebanese diaspora in the UK.
On Monday, November 29, he met with British Minister of State in the Foreign Office Lord Howell of Guildford to discuss “the latest Lebanese developments and challenges.” Siniora also gave a lecture at King’s College that same day on “Lebanon & the Middle East in a World in Transition,” whereby he–naturally–voiced his support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and “peace in the Middle East.” Worthy of noting: Half the audience was Lebanese, and mostly sympathetic.
The initiative came from Siniora. Dr. Michael Kerr, from the Middle East & Mediterranean Studies programme at King’s, was contacted by one of his advisors, asking him to host the lecture, an offer Dr. Kerr could not refuse.
The scheduling of the lecture could have been a “sequel” of (if not a fully-fledged reply to) a discussion given a month earlier at King’s, on Tuesday, October 26, on “Memory, violence & reconciliation (Reflections of the Lebanese Civil war).” Contrary to Dr. Franck Salameh’s (Boston College) apology of Lebanism on October 26, Siniora adopted a rather Arabist, or neo-Arabist, approach. The tone was academic (obviously the work of a PhD or M.A.), to say the least, and loaded with political messages.
Throughout his lecture, Siniora focused on the importance of achieving peace in Lebanon and the region. In 1982 [Israeli invasion of Lebanon], 2000 [Israeli withdrawal], and 2006 [Second Israeli war on Lebanon], violence and war yielded no results, Siniora said. Therefore, peace and non-violent means be necessary to resolve the Middle East conflict.
Quite a concealed reply to sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s Sunday (November 28) speech. During a graduation ceremony of Hizbullah students, sHN reiterated his version of the STL affair: it’s a Zionist machinery–naturally. Hizbullah defeated Israel in 1982, 2000, and 2006, the STL affair is just another ordeal which Hizbullah will successfully overcome, sHN said.
Two contrasting world visions, incompatible choices, and antithetic alliances… but…! no mention of Syria in both speeches! Why? Elementary my dear Faheem: Syria is playing on both sides, lately; hunting with Iran and running with Saudi Arabia. A touching diplomatic improvement, really.
You can’t like politics and hate cynicism.
So no negative mention of Syria’s role in Siniora’s speech. It seemed as if Syria didn’t matter, because what matters, is that peace, stability, and security be achieved in Lebanon and the whole Middle East. Just for the record: peace between Israel and Palestine, only. Not a word about a would-be Israeli-Lebanese peace, of course, but the audience needn’t be very bright to figure out that something along these lines was alluded to by Siniora. Other key point of the lecture, solidly correlated to the aforementioned one: the necessity of a solution for the Palestinian problem. The former Prime Minister of Lebanon was not addressing this issue from a Israeli-Palestinian perspective (for that’s the responsibility of Israel and the Palestinian Authority), but from a Lebanese-Palestinian one. Let us think of a way in which Lebanon can help the Palestinians… State-building? How can we help on that one, since we are the ones who need help. Erm… are you thinking what I’m thinking?
In short, March 14 offers you stability and security. You won’t have to worry about another Israeli war, but you’ll have to accept a risk of Palestinian implantation in Lebanon.
On the other hand, March 8 offers you instability, insecurity, and paralyzed state institutions. But there will be little risk of Palestinian implantation.
Pick the option you like.