Monday, July 24, 2006

Rice in Beirut

As you may know already, Condi Rice has gone to Beirut to seek a resolution to the Israel-Lebanon-Hezbollah crisis. WaPo reports:

On an unannounced trip to ravaged Beirut, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice outlined a plan Monday to deploy an international force, possibly led by NATO, in a buffer zone just inside Lebanon for 60 to 90 days, after which it would expand its mission to help the Lebanese army regain control of the south, Lebanese and U.S. officials said.

But the prospects don't look good:

Rice's plan to end the conflict, prop up the Lebanese government and weaken Hezbollah was greeted with skepticism by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Lebanon's top elected Shiite official, and other leaders. Siniora and the speaker of parliament, Nabih Berri, a Shiite with close ties to Hezbollah, warned that Hezbollah was unlikely to accept any foreign military presence in its traditional stronghold in heavily Shiite southern Lebanon. Hezbollah has already rejected calls to disarm.

Meanwhile, also from WaPo: "The Saudi foreign minister personally urged President Bush yesterday to intervene to stop the violence in Lebanon, the most direct sign of mounting frustration among key Arab states with what they see as a hands-off U.S. posture toward Israeli strikes against Hezbollah."

With no ceasefire in sight, the Israeli offensive in Lebanon continues and, according to Haaretz, Hezbollah has launched many more missiles at northern Israel, hitting civilian targets.

No commentary tonight. What we need is a breakthrough of some kind.

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