A Lasting Peace?

By William S. Cohen, Former Secretary of Defense

I was struck by Secretary Rice’s op-ed in the Washington Post on August 16 titled, “A Path to Lasting Peace.”  In it, she argues that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which brokered the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, lays the foundation for a lasting peace between Israel and Lebanon.  She says, “this resolution clearly lays out the political principles to secure a lasting peace: no foreign forces, no weapons and no authority in Lebanon other than that of the sovereign Lebanese government.”  She continues, “The implementation of Resolution 1701 will not only benefit Lebanon and Israel; it also has important regional implications. Simply put: This is a victory for all who are committed to moderation and democracy in the Middle East – and a defeat for those who wish to undermine these principles with violence, particularly the governments of Syria and Iran.”

I agree that it is vital for Secretary Rice and President Bush to continue highlighting the dangerous role Syria and Iran have played in spurring the violence between Israel and Hezbollah and, on a broader level, for undermining Resolution 1559.  The Iranians have undermined Resolution 1559 by supplying arms and weapons to Hezbollah.  Syria is highly complicit for contributing supplies and serving as a transit point.  Both countries must be made aware that the world will not stand by and watch as the state of Lebanon continues to be used as a proxy for their regional ambitions.

Still, I hope Secretary Rice’s message is just the first part of a stronger Administration effort toward reaching peace across the whole region.  Like the first Gulf War opened the possibilities for Madrid, this violence might also open an opportunity for progress.  The Administration must be looking for ways to reengage the President’s vision of working toward two states.  The violence on each of Israel’s borders is interconnected, and the Administration must make that point clear.  As long as there is no movement on the Israeli-Palestinian peace track, and two states do not exist for the two peoples, there will be no moderation or democracy in the region.

Explore posts in the same categories: CALME Luminaries, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East Peace

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