Friday, September 14, 2007

the EU took its boldest step

from Journal of Turkish Weekly

The EU remains – for now – relatively uncontaminated by America’s disintegrating reputation in the Middle East. But the Union could see its reputation worsen if it allows its commitment to Lebanon to become part of the emerging US strategy of isolating Iran by hardening today’s regional Sunni-Shia divisions. To avoid this fate, the EU’s commitment in Lebanon needs to be supplemented with a nuanced political strategy that seeks to avoid isolating Lebanon’s long suppressed Shia population. The threats emanating from the Middle East are diverse: regional conflicts, totalitarian religious ideologies (mainly led by Shia Iran and Wahhabi Saudi Arabia), terrorism, nuclear armament programs, obstacles to modernization, and unstable regimes. All of these affect Lebanon, and are aggravated by the country’s own peculiar socio-political dynamics – i.e., its Maronite, Sunni, and Shia divisions.

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