15 August 2006

While the dust settles

The ceasefire in Lebanon seems to be very fragile. Is it because of some Hezbollah cells still being out of touch with their bosses (very doubtful) or, rather, because of Hezbollah trying to test the limits of IDF patience, which is much more likely? In any case, the sporadic skirmishes, use of grenade launchers and even 10 katyushas launched (but landed short of the border) - all this does not look as good news. Especially in view of the following statement:

Despite the cease-fire, Hezbollah has said it will still attack Israel Defense Forces in southern Lebanon.

Some ceasefire, ain't it?

Of course, the dust is settling slow, especially due to the fiery speeches by Nasrallah and Olmert, - both of them proclaiming victory for their side. Bush, on the other hand, came out with a confirmation of Olmert's claims, but of an exceptionally poor quality:

President Bush declared Lebanon a front in the "global war on terrorism" Monday, equating the Israeli battle against Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas to the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We'll vastly prefer some other parallel of course, and woe to us if the situation on our northern border will become similar to that in Iraq.

But all this pales into insignificance compared with the first breaches in the terms of the UNSC resolution 1701. It started with Nasrallah declaring in his "victory" speech that he does not have a slightest intention to disarm.

Calls for a debate on disarming Hezbollah were "inappropriate", he said. "This is the wrong time on the psychological and moral level particularly before a [full] ceasefire."

And his sentiment is echoed by the Lebanese government:

Lebanon's Defense Minister Elias Murr said the Lebanese army would send 15,000 troops to the north of the Litani River around the end of the week, ready to enter the southern border area. But he said the army would not be disarming Hezbollah, who have controlled the area for six years. "The army is not going to the south to strip Hezbollah of weapons and do the work Israel did not," he told LBC Television.

Does Mr. Murr wish to see IDF resuming the task - as a subcontractor for the Lebanese army? This statement is either stupid or an outright provocation - it is up to Lebanese to decide which.

All in all, it looks like the paper used to write the resolution on becomes more attractive as an investment alternative, compared to the resolution itself.

And Kofi Annan shakes his finger at both sides with an excellent advice:

Lebanon and Israel must immediately inform the United Nations if they have been fired on, with as much detail as possible, "refraining from responding except where clearly required in immediate self-defense," Annan said. In the case of any firing, Annan said that "the UN undertakes to bring, in an impartial manner, such incidents to the attention of the Security Council as quickly as possible."


I hope that the ceasefire is not going to unravel. It just wouldn't be pretty if it happens.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com