Originally published in Al Hayat
Former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri’s tragic assassination capped a series of events that carry the potential of fundamentally altering not only Lebanon’s future, but also Syria’s and the broader regional landscape as well.
Since the end of the Iraq war, Washington and Damascus have been locked in a dialogue of the deaf. U.S. policy has been reduced to a series of demands and threats.
Bashar al-Assad’s presidency has failed to live up to the hopes for far-reaching domestic reform that greeted it in 2000. After a brief opening, Syria clamped down on dissent, and economic change remains painfully slow.
This ICG report is one of three published simultaneously, proposing to the parties and the wider international community a comprehensive plan to settle the Israeli-Arab conflict.
President Bush, announcing U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on 24 June 2002, has set the terms of the international response to the conflict for the immediately foreseeable period. Before peace can be negotiated the violence has to stop.