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Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Proposed UN Resolution, and why it won't fly

So finally France and US agreed on the text of a resolution:

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The United States and France agreed on Saturday on a Security Council resolution calling for fighting between Israel and Hizbollah to end, but on the ground both sides traded fire and a Hizbollah rocket killed three.

The 15 member U.N. Security Council was due to receive the text at 1900 GMT to review it, the United Nations announced.

"This is a first step. There is still much to be done," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "But there is no reason why this resolution should not be adopted now and we have the cessation of hostilities ... within the next couple of days."


You can read the proposed text here.

Of course, it is highly unlikely that HA is going to accept this resolution if and when it is passed. It is going to take something more than this to get a "cessation of hostilities ... within the next couple of days." I am sure Mr. Blair realizes this, and so do the French and the Americans, but I wonder if they understand the situation on the ground.

Israel has the upper hand now, it is blitzing Lebanon and making slow headway inside Lebanese land. However, I do not see that they get to decide when to stop fighting, unless they can eradicate HA. Once they have established their security or buffer zone, only the damned HA will decide when the fighting stops... I fear that bad management of this crisis by everyone involved has only played into the hands of Iran and its proxy, and will only serve to prolong the suffering of Lebanon and its people.

More precisely, here is why I don't think this is going to work.

For a lasting ceasefire, cessation of hostilities has to be at the best interest of the warring parties involved. In this case, those parties are Hizbulla backed by Iran, and Israel. For Hizbulla to agree, it must have something to gain, or it must be able to cut its losses, bearing in mind that Iran as well has to agree. On the other hand, the militant group has a vested interest in continuing to fight, as this keeps at bay the prospect of disarming them, and will lead to them continuing to pressure Israel and the Israeli public. One has to bear in mind that they do not care about the Lebanese public or the interests of Lebanon, only their own and Iran's. More importantly, I think that they (and Iran) want this to drag on, and have the capability to sustain their fighting capabilities on the medium run. It is their only means of survival and salvaging their presence and Iran's on the Lebanese political scene.

That said, nothing has been offered to Iran, and I don't see that anything will (or should) be offered to them. Iran understands this and refuses to be ignored, and refuses to lose its presence in Lebanon. They will continue to support their proxy, spurring them on, doing everything in their power to keep them alive and kicking until they make their point. Iran will not be ignored, they have nothing to lose in prolonging this conflict, but they have something to gain.

The cold hard conclusion, we are up for a long hard process both diplomatically and on the field, which happens to be a country that is being systematically destroyed.

Update
Syrian FM arrives in Lebanon at 1 pm local time (6am ET)

3 comments:

fubar said...

R --

Very good post, thanks.

Arms embargo of Lebanon, except for arms expressly authorized by the Lebanese government is a slap in the face to Iran. And if Iran or Syria violate a UN sanctioned arms embargo, they, as members of the UN, are eligible for sanctions.

e said...

R,
No one expects HA to accept this resolution. It is a PR move that will shift the blame to HA directly and to the Lebanese indirectly.

People will begin asking: If the Lebanese are so worried about their civilian casualties, why aren't they supporting this resolution? After all, the casaulties will stop once both sides accept the resolution.

In another 4 weeks of blockade and fighting, this whole "we are all HA" will go away and the Lebanese will either give up on Lebanon or stand up to HA.

I have to say, that I didn't believe that the US would sell out the Siniora government so quickly, but I guess they don't mind if it falls. They are worried about Iran more.

To summarize, this resolution is a victory for Israel and puts Lebanon in an awkward position. Nobody thinks that it is really a basis for stopping the fighting.

e

Anonymous said...

I think HA will eventually accept this with minor modifications because they're not stupid and because:
1- the rethoric has been shifting from "open war" and "we don't need Arabs' help" to "if you stop hitting me I'll stop hitting you" and "why arn't the Arabs working on a cease fire?", or something to that effect.
2- HA realizes that any broad lebanese support is temporary and is really not love for HA but rather anger towards Israel for demolishing the dream one bridge at a time.
3- HA's base can only absorb so much destruction before reality sets that there is not enough "pure" money out there to compensate for the losses.
4- this is maybe the last opportunity to claim some kind of victory especially if this leads to some concessions from Israel on Shebaa farms.