United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit the
Middle East tomorrow, two days after the fourth anniversary of the
Seeing a renewed dynamism in diplomacy in the Arab world, Ban
will explore the UN role in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.
He is expected to express his support for ongoing efforts to
bring about peace and stability in Iraq, Lebanon and in the broader
Middle East context.
Stability is nothing but a wild wish in Iraq, with sectarian
tensions running high. The US-led war in Iraq has left the country
and its people in conflict, bloodshed and tears.
When US casualties reached 2,000, a US military spokesman callously
said this was "not a milestone" but "an artificial mark on the
But grim numbers cannot be dismissed.
March 20 has turned out to be another statistic that cannot be
The fourth anniversary of the war, which was observed in the
United States and Europe over the weekend, was an occasion not to
celebrate but to protest and ponder.
The war was supposed to be brief, a five-stage plan: go in,
topple the Saddam Hussein regime, find Saddam's destructive
weaponry, rehabilitate Iraq and leave.
The first and second happened; the third was exposed as a bogus
argument; the fourth can at best be described as work in progress;
the fifth is not an option in the foreseeable future.
The situation in Iraq has deteriorated to the point of internal
collapse. All that the US-led security crackdown in Baghdad has
achieved is forcing the insurgents farther afield.
This is the nature of a conflict that over four years has riven
Iraq, killed hundreds of thousands of its citizens and sent more
than 3,000 Americans home in body bags.
The latest international efforts to find a more comprehensive
way of stabilizing Iraq are moving in the right direction.
Next month Iraq, Syria, and Iran along with the US and the other
permanent members of the UN Security Council will discuss ways to
bring stability to Iraq.
Hopefully, diplomacy can now succeed where military might has
(China Daily March 21, 2007)