I don’t care if Fatah al-Islam is evil incarnate. I don’t care if they are Hariri-funded or a front for Syrian mukhabarat or Islamaniacs from Tunis or aliens just landed from Mars. Artillery is NOT THE ANSWER. Worst of all, everyone knows this, especially the LAF. The problem of the camps (in its myriad forms) is not a mystery, not a new development. Direct military confrontation serves no purpose. In fact, if security and peace are the objectives, one can easily argue that such an assault is horribly counter-productive as it only increases the militance-misery quotient.
I am all for disarming the camps, but this will never happen outside a political process that integrates the refugees into Lebanon’s political, civil and economic life. Everyone knows this. This is not rocket science. The camps are open wounds and they bleed when the body (Lebanon as a whole) is under stress or trauma. The camps are complex political, social, security and economic problems and thus require complex (and intelligent) solutions. Even in the USA, they have not yet made a bomb smart enough to solve such problems. To think that tank rounds will do requires a willful ignorance of not only Lebanon’s past and present, but also the general nature of human communities.
Was no one paying attention during Israel’s war on Lebanon last summer? Wholesale destruction does not pay. Its returns are limited and unpredictable (see Afghanistan and Iraq for further evidence). Every human problem is ultimately a political one and thus admits political solutions. Process does pay, and it requires less investment in human capital and lower operating costs than violence.
The LAF should stand down. There is nothing to be gained here. Indeed, only something to be lost: human life. This must end, now.