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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Waiting for the Lebanese Winograd Commission

Say what you will about the state of Israeli democracy, no Arab country would ever have appointed a commission like the Winograd Commission. And you can bet that a report like this would never be issued. But in Lebanon, they wish one would be....
Many criticize Hezbollah's actions and the fact the Lebanese state has allowed the terrorist organization to escape without due payment for its decision to abduct two IDF soldiers last July 12, which provoked Israel to go to war.

Left-wing opposition legislator Elias Atallah spoke for many in his damning editorial in the daily Asharq Al-Awsat called "Where is the Lebanese Winograd Committee?"

"I envied the enemy for their ability to confront their leaders with their errors. They change governments as if they were changing hairstyles, without inflicting damage to their public. Our rulers, by contrast, are not answerable."

Lest he be suspected of pro-Zionism - which in Lebanon can spell a death sentence - Atallah reiterated that he regarded Israel as Lebanon's bitter enemy. "I nonetheless recognize that in Israel, the government must answer to the public. And so, they learn lessons and learn from experience," he wrote.

Another prominent journalist, Edmond Saab, editor-in-chief of An-Nahar, called for a state inquiry into Hezbollah's accountability for the war and the devastation it has caused in Lebanon. "An investigation of a military and legal nature is an appropriate measure. We must investigate whether Hezbollah erred in miscalculating the Israeli retaliation.

Saab named the lack of public scrutiny in postwar Lebanon as a cause of the political mayhem that engulfed the country in recent months. "Had we launched our own mini-Winograd committee, it would have served to resolve the prolonged and protracted political stalemate that we witnessed between the coalition and Hezbollah," he wrote.
I think that last statement is wishful thinking. And I don't expect to see a Lebanese Winograd Commission - or for that matter one in any other Arab country - anytime soon.


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