After October: Military and Political Change in the Middle East
Any attempt at synthesis of the effects of the October War would seem premature because of the proximity of the events, the complexity of the situation and the subtlety of the regional and world relations involved. But although, for scientific reasons, complete synthesis must be ruled out, for political reasons some basic interpretation is desirable.
Set in motion by the intolerable situation of "no war and no peace," the October War ended entrenched in the situation of "no victory and no defeat." This invites the fundamental question: Does this new situation offer greater chances of peace than the previous one? Or, more precisely: Can there be peace without victory?
In the Israeli outlook the answer is negative: there can be no peace without victory. True peace can only be a Pax Israelica imposed upon the Arabs by superior force. As against this the Arab argument emphasizes that peace must be a just one for the Arabs and Palestinians or there will be no peace; it must be a peace based on right, a Palestinian Peace.
Although the October War eliminated the prospect of an Israeli peace, it did not endorse the Palestinian line; it was a war of paradoxes which have altered the balance of forces in the Middle East.
Ghassan Tueni is a leading political figure in Lebanon and publisher of the daily al-Nahzar.