Friday, August 11, 2006

Israelis Gets a Fig Leaf

Today's UN resolution was much more about providing a fig leaf for Israel and the Bush administration than establishing pre-conditions for peace.

Contrary to their initial proclamations, the Israelis did not crush Hezbollah, eliminate Hezbollah as a military force, or intimidate the Lebanese government into renouncing Hezbollah. To the contrary, Hezbollah is still entrenched south of the Litani River, is still very well armed, and has much more confidence in their ability to withstand the Israeli military than they did two months ago.

The UN resolution calls for 15,000 UN troops and the Lebanese Army to deploy in Southern Lebanon. They also called for Syria and Iran to stop sending weapons to Hezbollah. As a result, the resolution seems to assume the disappearance of Hezbollah as a military entity.

Fat chance!

There's only one way that could happen and that is to settle the disputes between Hezbollah and Israel. In other words, Israel needs to release its Hezbollah prisoners and come to a settlement with the Lebanese government over Shebaa Farms.

If the Israelis and the Bush administration want Syria and Iran to stop sending weapons to Hezbollah, they will have to settle their issues with those countries as well. That means returning the Golan Heights to Syria and making non-invasion pledges to both Syria and Iran.

Otherwise, the situation is going to be very unstable. The fact is that the Shiite civilian population is going to be moving back into southern Lebanon soon. If there is no general settlement, Shiite men are going to be reorganizing and enhancing their Hezbollah, Amal, and other militias. If there is no settlement, the only way that the Lebanese government and the UN will be able to stop the re-establishment of the militias would be to act as an occupation army. The U. S. occupation of Iraq has failed despite 130,000 troops on the ground. Why would anyone think that a weakened Lebanese government and a much less motivated UN could succeed?

Having failed with the military option, it is now time for the Israelis to settle.

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