Tuesday, August 15, 2006
And now MSNBC shows us exactly how eager all three of these parties are to work together in respecting the UN cease-fire conditions intended to enable the much sought after withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon:
Brief anti-MSM-spin interlude: Israel does not "refuse to withdraw" -- operative provision 2 of the cease fire specifically times Israel's phased withdrawal only in conjunction with the deployment of Lebanese and UNIFIL forces in the south of Lebanon.
Israel refuses to withdraw before U.N. peacekeepers and Lebanese troops arrive in the south and Hezbollah guerrillas move north of the Litani River.
This has nothing to do with Israel at all, and is purely about observing the terms of a cease-fire these parties all agreed to. Let's continue observing how they observe them:
Oh how they hate occupation. So much so that -- contrary to the cease-fire they all created and agreed to -- they each refuse to take precisely the actions required to achieve the goal they claim to share. Hizballah seems to think no one will notice that their only message to Israel is "keep your troops here, or we will rocket your civilians again."
The Lebanese army says it won't deploy to the region while Hezbollah remains armed there — but the guerrillas refuse to give up their weapons in the south.
The U.N. peacekeepers, meanwhile, won't go until Lebanese troops replace Hezbollah fighters.
While most people only get buyer's remorse once they realize they should have checked the fine print, it appears that Hizballah fraudulently signed off on the cease-fire without having read it at all.
If by "politically difficult" they mean "not gonna happen, no way, no how," then perhaps Nasrallah should have rejected the cease fire -- even at the risk of exposing his agenda of aggression. By accepting a cease-fire whose conditions he had absolutely no intention of honoring, yet whose failure is somehow expect to be blamed on the Israeli side that is honoring it, he makes a mockery of the UN and the international community -- not that this is such a difficult thing to achieve these days.
But surrendering weapons held by fighters in the south would be politically difficult for Hezbollah. The U.N. cease-fire deal failed to address its key demands: the return of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails and an Israeli evacuation of the disputed Chebaa Farms territory.
This is understandably an intolerable insult to an organization whose sole purpose for existing is to fire rockets at Israel's communities. Oh, and to run ambulance services, kindergartens, soup kitchens and weapons depots.
Israel wants to ensure Hezbollah no longer has the ability to fire rockets at its communities and is unable to rearm.
He used the term "abide by" here euphemistically, his actual meaning clearly being to "disregard" the terms of the cease-fire, other than those applying to Israel.
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday said he would abide by the cease-fire and cooperate with the U.N. force and the Lebanese army.
No reports yet on whether Lebanon's national policy of wishing real hard for Hizballah forces to become invisible has had any effect, but in coming days it is expected the Lebanese government may request everyone wish harder in a stepped up effort to observe the terms of the cease-fire.
The Lebanese army, which has long coordinated with Hezbollah, now says it alone must be in charge of an area over which Hezbollah has held sway for years.
"There won’t be weapons except those of the state," Information Minister Ghazi Aridi told reporters after Saturday’s Cabinet meeting.
And a collapse of his government would obviously be a terrible thing. Of course a collapse from such appalling heights wouldn't actually hurt much, being roughly equivalent to falling out of a sleeping bag.
A head-on confrontation with Hezbollah could split the military and lead to the collapse of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora’s government.
So many words wasted giving lip service to what everyone hopes will sound like moderation, without actually lifting a finger to actually do anything.
Last year's Cedar Revolution showed that when Lebanon's moderates actually give a damn, they are capable of standing up and by resolute force of sheer numbers driving Syria from their country. To suggest there is nothing that can be done is misleading. But it does require another courageous step by Lebanese people who have shown the world they are capable of it. And this time it could actually buy them an entire country of their own, and real peace.
Stand up to Hizballah now, Lebanon. Sure you are angry at Israel, but now is the time to take the one and only action that can actually create the free and peaceful country you deserve. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. Syria and Iran will only be expanding Hizballah's arsenal during this re-armament interval.
Might standing up united against Hizballah "collapse" your Prime Minister's government? Perhaps. If so, it would a pity, given its accomplishments.
You deserve better.