Monday, August 14, 2006

it’s 0500 GMT; do you know where your ceasefire is?

In accordance with the deal brokered in the UN Security Council, a truce between Israel and Hezbollah was due to come into effect at 1:00 AM EDT. In an attempt to cram in a little extra enmity-encouraging bloodshed, both sides in the conflict made sure to keep the bombs flying right up to the deadline.

Well, it seems they might have rushed all that mayhem for no reason. The BBC is reporting:

Crucial Lebanese cabinet talks on disarming Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon under a UN-brokered ceasefire have been put off.

. . . .

The postponement, amid reported divisions, seriously complicates the establishment of a stable ceasefire, the BBC's Nick Childs in Beirut says.

. . . .

After five hours of discussions on Saturday, it had agreed to accept a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution with reservations.

. . . .

However, the issue of Hezbollah's disarmament and its military presence in southern Lebanon continues to cause major tensions within the fragile government, our correspondent reports.

He says that without a meeting and an agreed plan, it seems that the deployment of 15,000 Lebanese army troops to the south is unlikely to go ahead.

Since Beirut is no closer to sending the 15,000 troops to join UN peacekeepers, the United Nations force is now in limbo. Given that Israel has said that it will stay in southern Lebanon until it can hand over control to the UN, it seems we can now add one more disastrous and counterproductive consequence of Israel’s strategy to the list that I posted two weeks ago: an open-ended reoccupation of Southern Lebanon by the Israeli military—something Israel swore would never happen again.

When you consider that Hezbollah has reserved the right to fight on until every Israeli soldier has cleared out of Lebanon, and when you consider that Israel has sworn of offensive actions but reserves the right to attack for defensive purposes, you have to wonder how long this US-French compromise of a ceasefire can actually hold.

And you have to wonder if the western half of that compromise didn’t foresee such problems all along. Will a prolonged Israeli presence in the south of Lebanon “inspire” a Hezbollah rocket or two? Will that provoke a “defensive” response from the IDF? Will that induce Hezbollah to fire off another couple hundred Katushyas? And will that cause a certain mustachioed UN ambassador, or his boss, to say, “You see, there’s just no speaking with those terrorists” (or “Islamic fascists”)?

Only GMTime will tell.


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