Let’s talk about the best of all possible scenarios.
Obvious start: Ramos-Horta is welcomed home by all Timorese, including the political elite. A spirit of national unity allows for an immediate consensus on security-sector reform, and Timorese recognize that if the UN could not even run into gunfire to fetch their bleeding President, it cannot guarantee security even in the short term.
Next, after a period of reflection, and diligence by the media and the judiciary to main innocence until proven guilt, the rest of Reinado’s men hand themselves over to Timorese authorities. They are tried in a timely manner, and afforded a vigorous and capable defense, and the nation follows over the mass media. The trial gives the accused petitioners the chance to air their motives and point of view, and is cathartic for many of Reinado’s supporters.
The government and WFP continue food aid or work schemes to the most vulnerable IDPs in Dili, and material and logistical support is brought in to rebuild houses. Land conflicts are aired and addressed at the suco level with support from national institutions. People leave the camps.
The government and international institutions finally give due attention to the issue of food security and its relation to conflict in Timor. Government looks to buy and market as much surplus rice as possible, and builds a store of Timorese rice for emergencies.
The opposition parties invest in Parliament as the most important venue to challenge the government and build democractic institutions, but stop making unfounded insinuations and barbed comments in press conferences and blogs.
After a period of stability in the security sector, Timor asks the ISF to leave.
Basically, the best of all possible scenarios is to look at how Timor can be self-sufficient, or independent. It is Timorese institutions that will guarantee this. Ramos-Horta knew this when he Timorized his security team, even though it cost him dearly. The ISF is not a solution, even to catching the ‘rebels’ on the run. UN Police are not a solution to Dili’s instability. WFP is not a solution to Timor’s food security problems. Blogs and the international media are not places for dialogue — the Timorese parliament is.
The vast majority of Timorese live by an ethic of self-sufficiency. They have to for survival. I would argue the political economy of aid and peacekeeping in Dili has severely warped the elite’s notion of “independence.”