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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  • Dear
    I have just escaped from Lebanon through Syria for the simple reason of me not wanting my 5 and 7 year old kids to grow up with a complex of the sounds of jets!! and oh yes... to stay alive.
    The simple fact in this conflict is that Lebanon is the fighting grounds of much bigger powers.
    I truly believe that in their hearts, Hassan Nasrallah and the Hizbullah fighters are fighting for a free Lebanon. After all they never attempted to invade Israel... not even once, and detaining enemy soldiers to free your own is permissible at war. As a reminder Lebanon and Israel are still at war.

    The striking issue here is Ahmadi Najad's comments. He said that if one rocket falls on Syria, Iran will regard that as an attack on the Islamic Umma. Hmmmm... this is really strange since Hizbullah is a Muslim Shiite party, built and strengthened by Iran. I wonder what is behind that.
    What Hassan Nasrallah needs to realise is that Iran has sold him out and time will prove that.
    On the other side, the Israelis know from experience that going into Lebanon is no picnic and yet they pretend to go in, over-react and destroy the country.
    For once I believe that the Israelis are in over their heads and they are actually being pushed by Condy and company to stay the course, but the big question remains; what can be achieved out of this?

    It is absolutely clear that the destruction of Hizbullah as a force and as a school (Yes school) is impossible. Hassan Nasrallah and Hizbullah are the champions of the masses in the Arab ans Muslim world, and undoubtedly they have not lost one heart (except the dead ones) or soul in their population bases in Lebanon.

    Blair and Bush are clearly playing a game and that was evident in their open microphone performance.
    We are to either assume that these politicians (all of them with no exception) are stupid or they regard us as such. I know I am not stupid...

    Here is a suggestion for an end to the ongoing murders.

    Immediate cease fire coupled with an exchange of 1 abducted Israeli soldier with half the Lebanese prisoners in Israel.

    2 weeks for an Eastern European strike force (Since they are not partial to either) to enter Southern Lebanon and Northern Israel for 10 KM on each side. In the same time, Hizbullah fighters and all of their weapons join the Lebanese army under the resistance brigade. They remain anonymous (except for the liaison officers with the Lebanese army) with the understanding that no military operation will take place prior to approval from the Prime Minister and the Minister of defence (Use the Israeli model).

    After week 2, Israel pulls out of Shebaa Farms and is replaced by the international force. The disputed borders are debated and finalised. If Shebaa farms prove to be Lebanese, it is officially given to the Lebanese government. If it proves to be Syrian, it is kept under UN control until Syria and Israel solve the Golan Heights dispute.

    Final exchange of prisoners. 1 abducted Israeli soldier and the remains of Ron Arad (the missing pilot) if available in exchange for the remaining Lebanese prisoners and the return of Lebanese defectors who left Lebanon to Israel when the Israeli army departed Lebanon in 2000.

    After 5 years, the international force departs Lebanon and is replaced by the Lebanese army.

    Do I think that this will happen? No way, because none of these politicians have their hearts in the right place.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:27 AM  

  • This would never happen because this in no ways benefits Israel. Why would Israel give up its advantage for what you think is just. For them to release half the lebanese prisoners they have for one prisoner is ludricous. For them to give Lebanon back their Sheebaa farms is just stupid. Israel Can take all the arab countries on at once. They've done it in the past and they can do it now.

    the only way to prevent Israeli aggression is for Iran to get a Atomic bomb.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:40 AM  

  • It is clear that the ending of hostilities lies with Hizbulla and Hamas. If they would quit killing and kidnapping the Israelis, the Israelis would quit killing them. I understand that the neighbors of Israel do not want them there and feel that they are occupiers, and there in lies the rub. Israel on the other hand has little choice at this point. They can either live with the attacks by their neighbors or fight back. They have, in the past, done a little of both. The last options is to say no more and try to eliminate the threat. Perhaps they are at that point now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:28 AM  

  • Uh, are you suggesting, Anonymous, that Iran should go nuclear as self-protection against Israel? Given that Ahmadinejad would like to see Israel destroyed, I think you have it all backwards.

    I agree with you, Manapp99. Israel does not have imperial aspirations. By no means does it seek to dominate the region. It wants to be left alone, for the suicide bombs and rocket attacks to stop. Israel is a dymanic society that wants to participate in the international community (and compete in the global market). We may question the proportionality of Israel's offensive in Lebanon, perhaps, but it does seem to me that the aggressors are clearly on the other side.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 4:56 PM  

  • Your suggestion is an interesting one, Refaat. Thank you for it. I agree that it won't happen, but some international force on the border is looking more and more like a reality.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 4:58 PM  

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