07/17/2015, 00.00
LEBANON – IRAN
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Hope for an end to Mideast wars, from the Iran nuclear deal to the ‘Peace of the brave’

by Fady Noun
In Lebanon and the Arab world, public opinion has reacted to the deal with caution and scepticism. For some, it might unblock the election to Lebanon’s presidency. Tehran and Riyadh vie for a role in any regional peace process. As Ramadan ends, many fear renewed violence.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Weary about miracles, public opinion in Lebanon and the Arab world have reacted to the Iranian nuclear agreement with both caution and some scepticism. For example, the National Liberal Party (NLP) has accused Hezbollah and Michel Aoun of planning to use the nuclear deal to impose a "fait accompli deal". Others see the agreement as a harbinger of future conflicts.

For the 8 March Alliance, the agreement is a way to counter obstacles that have prevented the election of Lebanon’s president for more than a year. For parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, this has created a certain “atmosphere”.

"This agreement can help create an atmosphere that will help overcome the obstacles that prevent the election of a president," Berri said.

For Mohammad Raad, the nuclear deals marks a turning point. Although this is somewhat self-evident insofar there was no deal before it was struck, Hezbollah’s chief whip in parliament could point to Berri’s “atmosphere” as a way to overcome through dialogue rather than force the various regional crises dominated by the Tehran-Riyadh rivalry.

According to many observers, John Kerry negotiated the deal in such a spirit. And he is one to know that one has learnt nothing about war until one has learnt to hate war. Likewise, the Vatican’s positive response to the Vienna deal confirms the orientation based on John Kerry’s personal experience.

Of course, as more than observer has pointed out, to achieve regional stabilisation still requires getting Saudi Arabia on board. We can expect the United States to work on it and that Tehran will do its part. But only the coming weeks will tell.

Lebanon: the easiest conflict to settle

According to a Western diplomatic source, of the various regional conflicts that rage from Yemen to Syria via Bahrain, Iraq and Lebanon, the last one appears to be the easiest to settle.

In order to break the current impasse, all we need is to renew the call for the spirit of compromise that prevailed at various stages in Lebanon’s political life, like in 1958 when Saeb Salam uttered his trademark slogan “No winner, no loser”.

Of course, Riyadh and the 14 March Movement must take into account that with the Vienna agreement, Tehran and its allies have a greater political role to play. For their part, Tehran and the 8 March Alliance must maintain the Vienna agreement’s achievements – which herald the emergence of new zones of influence in the Middle East – by acts of reconciliation and moderation, cognizant that they will still have to fight against an implacable enemy, Sunni jihadism, whose geopolitical function includes breaking the geographical continuity between Tehran, Damascus and Lebanon.

In this chess game, in which losing pawns does not prevent victory, the Lebanese should be smart and self-interested. Yesterday, the World Banks’s US$ 414 million loan to Lebanon to build a dam on the Bisri (Awali) River was the talk of newsrooms around the world. Such a project could irrigate thousands of hectare and feed almost 1.6 million Lebanese, but one that could be lost if parliament does not vote by 20 July.

In the current standoff, everyone is a loser. The “rights” of every Lebanese, not only those of Christians, would be better protected if the government was allowed to work again, starting with the election of a president, which should not be seen as a partisan victory but as a ‘Peace of the Brave,’ far from any partisan dream of domination but in line with on a regional evolution that will never come other than the way it is today, without winner or losers.

Turning inwards

We hope that the members of the FPM (Free Patriotic Movement) youth wing who have been handing out leaflets will understand that federalism is a form of inwardness and that those who defend this option have forgotten the Church’s mission, that the weakest of presidents can become strong if he gets support, that in case of a regional stalemate, the state can better defend “minorities, that an enemy on its border will not bother an Israel “threatened by peace”.

As the holiday break begins today, the army remains on high alert. In a press release, the authorities announced yesterday that exceptional security measures have been taken around places of worship and mosques, main roads, markets and tourist locations.

The examples of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait show that the enemy is at the gates, taking advantage of the smallest breach to break into the place. Strength lies in unity. This is also true for the murderous madness that erupts before our eyes on a daily basis, like in Saifi where a man died yesterday, his face done in with a dagger’s pommel. Such an image reflects our inner violence, as well as our dysfunctional society and institutions.

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