Saturday, August 12, 2006

Peace in Lebanon at Last?

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the UN has passed a resolution to end the current fighting in Lebanon. It looks like the Islamic fascists have been saved by the bell. Syria will remain intact to cause more mischief for Israel and continue to oppress its people. Iran will continue cooking up its witches brew of Jew hatred. A lot of problems that could have been resolved will remain. I'm not very happy about this. Not happy at all.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1701 Friday evening, calling for a cessation of hostilities between Hizbullah and Israel.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will recommend to the cabinet that it accept the UNSC resolution at its weekly meeting Sunday.

The resolution authorizes the deployment of 15,000 UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon in support of Lebanese army forces, which are to move into the region and replace Hizbullah in parallel with a withdrawal of Israeli forces.

Israel is not required to withdraw until the deployment of UN and Lebanese forces begins.

The new UN peacekeeping force, still under the auspices of UNIFIL, will, according to the resolution, be enhanced "in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operations." The 15,000-strong force will be charged with helping the Lebanese government to implement its sovereignty "over all Lebanese territory," including that previously been under the de facto authority of Hizbullah.

It explicitly requires Hizbullah to be disarmed south of the Litani River.
So there is a serious sticking point. Will Hizbollah agree to such a disarmament? Still no word on where the 15,000 troops will come from. France so far has only offered 5,000.

Reuters reports that
The U.N. resolution called for a "full cessation of hostilities". Hizbollah should stop all attacks immediately and Israel should end "all offensive operations", it said.

After fighting stops, Israel must withdraw all its forces from southern Lebanon at the earliest opportunity, said the resolution. Lebanon is due to deploy its armed forces throughout southern Lebanon as Israel withdraws.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he would help the parties over the weekend to establish a timetable for a truce.

He chastised the Security Council for not acting sooner when civilians on both sides "have suffered such terrible, unnecessary pain and loss".

"All members of this council must be aware that this inability to act sooner has badly shaken the world's faith in its authority and integrity," Annan said in an address. "War is not politics by other means."
Evidently Kofi has heard of Clauzwitz but does not agree with him. Noted also in the above is that Hizbollah must stop all attacks. Then of course a time table must be agreed to by the combatants.

Reuters is reporting that the UN force could deploy within 7 to 10 days.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The United Nations expects Israel's ground offensive to wind down within 48 hours and an expanded international force to begin deploying in southern Lebanon in a week to 10 days, the U.N.'s envoy said on Saturday.
All the suffering of the Lebanese people. All the suffering of the Israelis will have been for nothing. This is not an end to the war. It is merely a truce that will allow the enemies of civilization a chance to regroup and re-arm. I'm not a happy camper. What is happening is just the prelude to the next war.
The resolution says Hizbollah must halt all attacks and Israel must stop "all offensive military operations."

De Soto said Israel's offensive was in its "last throes" and should wrap up in one to two days. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has backed the U.N. resolution, plans to put it to a vote of his cabinet on Sunday, officials said.
The question of the hour is: will Hizbollah cease its attacks? That is the sticking point. In any case this is a victory for the forces of Islamic fascism. It is hard to understand why G. Bush favors such a move after uncovering the plot on August 10th to take down up to 10 aircraft with improvised explosives. A capitulation to the forces that set those attacks in motion. What is George thinking?
De Soto and other Western diplomats said U.N. troops were likely to start moving into southern Lebanon in about 10 days, barring another escalation in fighting.

Israel expects a ceasefire to take effect by Monday, the Ynet news web site reported, quoting sources in Olmert's office.

Israeli officials say the U.N.'s resolution will allow the army to press ahead with "defensive" operations, including attacks on Hizbollah rocket launchers and arms convoys.
There is one small loophole. "barring another escalation in fighting". Will Hizbollah cease its rocket attacks? That is the major fly in the ointment. There are a few other flies.
France is expected to lead the force. Western diplomats said Italy, Spain and Turkey were expected to send contingents.

Although the resolution authorizes 15,000 international troops, a senior diplomat said: "It may be difficult to get them. Forces for this kind of operation aren't easy to come by."
I guss that means the fighting may go on until enough troops willing to fight Hizbollah can be found.

How about the troops so far lined up? France is no friend of Israel. Spain is openly antagonistic. Turkey has an Islamist government. Italy is at best neutral. Will these troops actually disarm Hizbollah and move its forces north of the Litani? Or will this be another aid and comfort mission by the UN to what George Bush once refered to as the forces of evil?

Time will tell. This morning I'm not optimistic about Israel's future.

Update: 12 Aug '06 1434z

IOL reports the resolution will be a UN chapter 6 Security council resolution. Makinging it a should comply resolution rather than a must comply resolution.
At the insistence of Lebanon, the United States and Britain agreed to drop a reference to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which permits a robust UN peacekeeping operation and instead put the resolution under the weaker Chapter 6.

British UN Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said the text would carry language that would permit peacekeepers to use force to implement their mission.
Interesting. Why would the Hizbollah government of Lebanon not want a must comply resolution?
But the text is not expected to define when Hezbollah would be disarmed and by whom, as called for in previous UN resolutions.

As in earlier drafts, the resolution is expected to include an arms embargo on weapons flowing to militia in Lebanon except for those ordered by the Beirut army and UN forces.

A second resolution is expected to follow within a month setting out terms for a permanent cease-fire.

Lebanon also wanted language changes on the disputed Shebaa Farms strip, occupied by Israel. Lebanon claims the territory, which the United Nations says is part of Syria unless Damascus agrees legally to change the border.

Beirut had wanted UN peacekeepers to occupy Shebaa on the Syrian-Israeli-Lebanese border until the borders were demarcated but the United States and France dropped this demand.
Well thank the Maker Hizbollah is not getting its Shebaa Farms wish. Unfortunately Hizbollah is not being required to disarm.

You know this whole UN farce seems in so many ways a recipe for short and long term failure.

In any case Israeli forces are pushing deeper into Lebanon.
Israeli troops pushed west to Ghandouriyeh, a village 11 km (7 miles) inside Lebanon, their furthest penetration yet, security sources said. Hizbollah said it ambushed them there.

Air strikes in the south killed up to 15 people in the village of Rshaf and four civilians in Kharayeb, security sources said. Raids in the Bekaa Valley killed one civilian.

Israeli bombs also hit Beirut's suburbs, roads in the north, electricity pylons near Sidon, the Beirut-Damascus highway and the southern city of Tyre, witnesses and security sources said.

The U.N. resolution called for a "full cessation of hostilities" and authorized up to 15,000 U.N. troops to move in to enforce a ceasefire. It said Hizbollah must halt all attacks and Israel must stop "all offensive military operations."

Lebanon's cabinet, which contains two Hizbollah ministers, was expected to approve the resolution later in the day.

Olmert will urge his cabinet to approve the resolution at a meeting on Sunday, but an Israeli official said the army would not stop its Lebanon offensive before then.
More Bekaa attacks by Israel? I wonder what is up with that? I have my suspicions.

Here is the reaction of various governments (Israel, US, Lebanon) to the UN proposal.

Update: 12 Aug '06 1530z

Some commentary about how America has let a staunch ally down and links to more commentary.

Update: 12 Aug '06 1927z

Nasrullah has his talking points
"Fourthly, while everyone is talking about stopping the hostility activities, it seems that the Zionist enemy understands it is being allowed to complete the ground operation. Therefore it is our right to kill the soldiers in the field and defend our land and ourselves. As long as Israel occupies and is aggressive, we will realize the resistance as we see fit."

This means that if Israel stops the fighting in Lebanon, Hizbullah will stop firing rockets at Israel but will continue hurting IDF soldiers as long as they are in Lebanon.
In other words the fighting is not any where near over.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a disaster for Israel. They have lost badly. My predictions:

1 Iran and Syria will order Hizbollah to stop firing missiles - and may even return the soldiers - and then go about taking over Lebanon over the next 2 years. By acting like a responsible ceasefire partner, Hiz gain more respect internationally and more credibility, thus more leverage to plot.

2 The increased prestige Hiz have gained will increase recruitment levels, and many Lebanese will now identify them as the true political force of Lebanon.

3 Iran and Syria will re-arm Hizbollah with weapons permitting deeper strikes into Israeli territory from north of the Litani.

4 Hiz's control in Lebanon will permit more recruitment, weapons storage and sanctuary for jihadists conducting terror in Iraq.

5 The UNIFIL force will be a total shambles, protecting neither the Israelis or the Lebanese. If they do nothing, they will be allowed to stand around. If they act against Hizbollah, expect a major terror attack on one of their barracks such as the Hiz attack on the US Marines in Beirut in the early 1980s.

6 Israel's vaunted deterrence has been smashed. Iran, Syria and other enemies of the state of Israel will take note.

7 The next round of missiles/ rockets will be far more powerful and probably tipped with WMD.

8 The Americans have been embarrassed by Olmert at the UN. They will be furious at his poor leadership. An outcome where Hizbollah comes out stronger than before the war is a defeat for America and a win for Iran. Not good news. The Pentagon will be apoplectic.


We need to take into account the unpredictables. Hizbollah could do something stupid and create a pretext for Israel continuing the war - by say hitting Tel Aviv or executing the kidnapped soldiers. Olmert, under huge pressure domestically and seeing his future at risk, may have a change of heart tomorrow. Perhaps success on the ground may mean that Olmert is persuaded to continue the ground offensive. Iran may enter the fray. However as it stands things look dire for Israel.

I dont blame the Americans here. They gave Olmert & Co a lot of time to get this job done. The sad fact is that a major offensive now would take Hizbollah out of the equation. Olmert is an absolute disgrace and will be remembered as the man who exposed Israel to terrible danger.