The Wall Street Journal Today Published a Landmark and Prescient OP-ED by Former Lebanese Prime Minister Michel Aoun

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The Lebanese-American Council for Democracy issues a statement regarding Aoun's article.

The Lebanese-American Council for Democracy issued the following statement today:

“Today, the Wall Street Journal published as its lead editorial piece an unprecedented, powerful, and humane op-ed piece by former Prime Minister Michel Aoun,” said Tony Haddad, president of the Lebanese-American Council for Democracy. “Written at the end of last week, the article lays out the basic groundwork for a comprehensive solution to Lebanon’s current crisis. In it, Aoun states that political negotiations will ultimately be the endgame of the horrendous crisis now facing Lebanon, and that the solution that will be available when the killing stops days, weeks, or months from now will be the same solution as the one which was available months before this crisis erupted. In light of this weekend’s horrific killings in Qana,” Haddad said. “Mr. Aoun’s prescience is undeniable.”

“Aoun urges in the article that basic universal human values, such as the equal value of human life, whether Lebanese or Israeli, should be the operative fact around which a solution is built. Aoun challenges Israel and the Arab governments to recognize this universal fact, and to use it as a basis upon which to analyze and solve the current conflict.”

“Aoun also outlines and details his party’s own interactions with Hezbollah, and delineates precisely how he was able to bridge the ideological, political, and religious differences between his party, the Free Patriotic Movement, and Hezbollah. Aoun explains how he addressed those differences not through conflict, but rather, through internal dialogue, and was able to resolve some highly contentious points of disagreement. Aoun states, for example, that his party’s dialogue with Hezbollah caused Hezbollah to agree for the first time that Lebanese who collaborated with Israel during Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon should return peacefully to Lebanon, that a civil society should replace the present confessional system which distributes power on the basis of religious affiliation, to finally delineate the border between Lebanon and Syria, to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries, that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon should be disarmed, that security and political decision-making should be centralized with the Lebanese government, and that all Lebanese political groups should disengage themselves from regional conflicts and influences.”

“Most importantly, Aoun describes how his negotiations with Hezbollah resulted in an articulation of the three main roadblocks regarding resolution of the Hezbollah arms issue: First, the return of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli prisons. Second, the return of the Shebaa farms, a tiny piece of Lebanese territory still occupied by Israel. And third, the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to provide for Lebanon’s defense, centered upon a strong national army and central state decision-making authority in which all political groups are assured a fair opportunity to participate.”

“Aoun describes how the Lebanese government and the international community brushed aside his party’s attempts to resolve the explosive situation in Lebanon. He describes how the international community imposed a twisted electoral law upon post-liberation Lebanon, which resulted in an unrepresentative and paralyzed the Lebanese government.”

“In the article, Aoun set forth a comprehensive solution which, because it is based upon human values and reconciling the rights of parties, would stand the test of time and ultimately lead not only to physical disarmament, but also a ‘disarmament of minds’ on both sides.”

“This article proves that the U.S. administration is overlooking real solutions to this problem, solutions being presented by those who can deliver, who can accomplish the goal of freedom, stability and democracy in Lebanon. Instead, the administration has been following a path which has led repeatedly to impasse, and to the situation we are in today,” Haddad said.

Lebanese American Council for Democracy

601 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 900 South Building

Washington DC 20004

Phone: (202) 220-3039

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