Friday, August 11, 2006

The Diplomats Finally Speak

Remember yesterday when I suggested that diplomacy surrounding a Lebanon cease fire didn't seem likely to produce results? Well, not so much.

The UN security council has adopted the compromise resolution from France and the U.S. The compromise calls for 15,000 UN peacekeepers to be deployed to south Lebanon, alongside the Lebanese army. Israel has accepted the resolution, and Lebanon is expected to as well.

UPDATE 7:59 pm CDT: I keep searching for news that reassures me the combined UN/Lebanese force is going to be more than cover for Hezbollah's rearmaments. This doesn't reassure me:

The Lebanese Army is not trained to serve as a professional military force. It functions as a fine and efficient police force and knows how to disperse demonstrations. It can even detain hashish growers in the Bekaa and fire ancient cannons at planes, but "if required to wage war on the ground, it is best to invite another army," explains a Lebanese military commentator.


According to "The Middle East Strategic Balance," published by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, there are 61,400 soldiers registered in the Lebanese Army: 60,000 of them are in the infantry, about 1,000 in the air force and 400 in the navy. There is no reason to be impressed by the size of the force; even if one examines only the infantry, this army is unskilled, has antiquated equipment, with an eternal shortage of replacement parts, and an annual budget of about $500 million. Most of this sum goes for salaries, maintenance of the Internet site and official receptions.

Via Israpundit.

UPDATE 8:25 pm CDT: Captain's Quarters looks at the resolution and says this:
Everything hinges on Nasrallah. If he accepts the terms and allows Siniora to dislodge them from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah is finished regardless of their public claims. Their raison d'etre is the defense of the southern border against Israel -- and if the Lebanese Army takes that responsibility, then their militia serves no purpose in the middle of Lebanon. If Nasrallah balks, then Israel will have a green light and a wide window to finish the job, and they will have lost very little in the hours it will take for the gambit to play to its conclusion.

That is a solid, logical analysis of the situation, but it presumes logical behavior, or at least memory, on the part of the "international community." My fear is that calm will settle, Nasrallah and Iran and Syria will find new ways to get weapons and rockets into south Lebanon, firing will start again, but that the world would quickly turn on Israel. Recalling the damage the Israelis did to Lebanon, including just today an attack by a drone aircraft on a refugee convoy, many would repeat even more loudly that Israeli self defense was disproportionate, and work to rein in Israel instead of disarming Hezbollah. The light would be green tomorrow should Nasrallah renege, but I fear it would not be in 6 months.

The Corner has the text of the resolution.

UPDATE 11:30 pm CDT: Lebanon may not be so willing to accept the resolution:
Lebanon expressed profound doubts about the likelihood of today's UN ceasefire resolution being able to end a ravaging month-old war between Israel and the Shiite militia Hezbollah.


"The Lebanese are not confident in Israeli distinction between 'defensive' and 'offensive'," he added. "The end to military operations should be unqualified."

Mr Mitri also complained that the UN resolution did not call for an immediate end to trade blockades imposed on the country by Israeli forces for the stated purpose of preventing arms shipments to Hezbollah.

He said more, but that last bit seems the most important objection. The foreign minister's reported remarks said little about the cause of the war: the illegal, foreign-supplied army residing within Lebanon's borders.


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