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John Wayne's Holster: Cease Fire! – For Now
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Monday, August 14, 2006

Cease Fire! – For Now



Both Israel and Hezbollah have accepted the terms of a cease-fire.

And both sides are claiming victory!

Both are partially correct.

Hezbollah is claiming a "strategic, historic victory". Israel’s goals were to eliminate Hezbollah's ability to strike her and to remove Hezbollah from power. Neither goal was accomplished. The fact that Hezbollah is still in power in Lebanon and can still target Israel with its missiles is a victory in and of itself.

Israel on the other hand, has destroyed much – but certainly not all – of Hezbollah’s infrastructure in the south. And Israel still occupies much of southern Lebanon. Although she has not completely accomplished her goals (see above), Isreal has made significant progress and has by no means lost the battle. And the fact that a UN "peace-keeping" force will be assisting the Lebanese in regaining control of the south – assuming it is successful – is a big feather in Israel’s cap.

So now there is a cease fire. But how long will it last?

Probably not for long!

Israel still maintains a presence in southern Lebanon and has no immediate plans for leaving so long as Hezbollah is perceived as a threat. In an address to the Knesset today, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to “…pursue [Hezbollah] everywhere and at all times…”.

That doesn't sound like a recipe for peace.

Where does Hezbollah stand on the cease-fire? Yesterday, the spokeman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Hamida-Reza Asefi, stated that attacks on Israel would continue as long as "occupation lingers". According to Hezbollah council member Ahmed Barakat, Hezb still possesses thousands of rockets and other "surprises" for use in the days following the implementation of the UN cease-fire.

Taken together, the positions maintained by both Israel and Hezbollah do not exactly evoke images of white doves and olive branches. Its more like two fighters going to their corners between rounds.

Here at home, President Bush is declaring victory for Israel. According to Bush, “There's going to be a new power in the south of Lebanon”.

Perhaps. But I wouldn’t lay my wager down just yet.

Israel certainly has military superiority when it comes to its Air Force (IAF) and its arsenal of missiles. Not to mention its nuclear capabilites or the "bunker busters" it recently purchased from the US. But when it comes to a ground war – a guerilla campaign on Hezb’s home turf – they enjoy no such advantage. I think they will find it difficult, if not impossible, to uproot Hezbollah without the help on the Lebanese people. And considering the approx. 1,000 civilian casualties inflicted on the Lebanese by Israel, Israel has not exactly won over their hearts.

Certainly, the UN can play a major role here in trying to implement a peaceful settlement. But I wouldn’t count on it. The UN has no backbone. For starters, they give Hezbollah and Israel moral equivalence. Under such terms, it is unlikely that they will be able to negotiate a solution which Israel will accept. And Hezbollah will not accept any terms that require their disarmament or an abdication of power

The bottom line: The cease-fire will be short.

And don't rule out an expansion of the war into Syria - and possibly even Iran if the US gets involved.

1 Comments:

At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Roy said...

As long as Hezbollah defines victory as simple survival it will be hard for Israel to defeat them. It is obvious that they care nothing for Lebanon if they are claiming victory, by the way I would hate to see what defeat looks like. I do think that Olmert is no Sharon, at least in military tactics. I agree that the cease fire will be short lived. Even if it lasts for awhile Hezbollah will just be preparing for the next attack. Both sides learned alot from this little battle. Hezbollah will be more dug in and place even more civilians in dangerous places.

Joe you have got to check out these pics from an anti Israel rally in SF.

 

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