Saturday, August 05, 2006

Lebanon: Cease Fire, Byzantine Politics, And Bloody Hypocrisy

On Saturday morning, the U.S. and France reached agreement on a UN security council resolution. The resolution calls for a cease fire by both Israel and Hezbollah as a precursor to a larger political settlement.

Christian Lebanese politico Gen. Michael Aoun had allied himself with Hezbollah after Syria's withdrawal last year. He's now talking at least like he means to live up to that alliance:

"This war is bringing us closer together," he said. "We are actually living more tolerantly with each other than ever."


But doesn't he think Hezbollah's attack on Israel has made things more difficult?

"I admit they made a mistake," he said. But "I can't blame Hezbollah. They launched a pure military action against a military patrol. We are at war with Israel," he said. "There is no treaty [between us]."

He added that "the response by Israel has been so huge that no one in Lebanon thinks Hezbollah is in the wrong."

In London, the moonbats came out to decry Tony Blair's support for Israel. Fortunately, far fewer Londoners showed up for the march than expected.

Israel launched another commando raid, this time against an apartment block in Tyre. They were trying to disrupt a terror cell that had been firing long-range rockets against Israel. The use of commandos appears to be a direct result of the criticism Israel faced in its bombing campaign:
Head of Naval intelligence told Army Radio that an aerial assault on the building was avoided since it was not known whether there were civilians in the building. He also mentioned that the ground operation sent a strong message to the fighters, indicating that the IDF can reach deep into Lebanon.

Hezbollah has blustered that they repelled the attack, with help from the Lebanese army. There is no actual evidence of their claim of having killed an Israeli soldier. Israel claims, with far greater credibility, to have killed 7 Hezbollah fighters and one Lebanese soldier.

It's a tragedy that Israeli soldiers have to risk their lives for sake of appearances, because there is little reason to believe that Hezbollah cares anything for the lives of the Lebanese people:
"Look what they did to this place," Dr. Fatah said, shaking his head. "Why in the world would the Israelis target a hospital?"

The probable answer was found a few hours later in a field nearby. Hidden in the tall grass were the burned remnants of a rocket-launcher.

Confronted with the evidence, Dr. Fatah admitted his hospital could have been used as a site from which to fire rockets into Israel.

"What choice to we have? We need to fight back from somewhere," he said, tapping his foot on the ground.

"This is Hezbollah's heartland."

It's becoming clear that Israel cares more for Lebanese lives than even some Lebanese.
The Shiites of southern Lebanon have seen Hezbollah as their protectors ever since the group first emerged as an Iranian-backed militia during the Lebanese civil war.

There not protectors if they are just setting you up to be killed by Israeli bombs.
Financed, armed and trained by Iran and supported by Syria, Hezbollah was treated by the Lebanese government as a legitimate, arm's-length force patrolling its southern border. Over the years, its social arm has come to provide social services -- schools, medical clinics and charities.

It might have been nice of them, as they plotted war against Israel, if they had found a few extra dollars for some bomb shelters. Apparently, civilians surviving their war wasn't part of the plan.

UPDATE 1:06 pm CDT: The cease fire accord before the security council calls for a full cessation of hostilities by both Hezbollah and Israel. Specifically, it calls for Hezbollah to stop all attacks and for Israel to stop all offensive attacks. The ambiguity of the word "offensive" is the problem. Is the raid on the Tyre apartment block offensive or defensive? I would say the latter, but the Muslims with the guns would call it the former, and they'll take any excuse available to start firing at Jews.

The resolution mentions the Chebaa farms twice, and calls for the UNIFIL force to assist the Lebanese government to establish a buffer zone between the Litani River and the Israeli border. It ultimately calls for a military force in place of UNIFIL though it does not define that force, and for negotiations on the various disputes between Israel and Lebanon, including the Hezbollah prisoners detained by Israel.

The resolution will be discussed on Saturday afternoon, and could be voted on as early as Sunday.

I have to think the Muslim world will consider this a victory for Hezbollah. It requires Israel to stop defending itself, allows Hezbollah to recede back into the civilian population until foreign troops leave Lebanon, and offers the possibility of an Israeli prisoner release. Depressing.

UPDATE 2:08 pm CDT: Hezbollah fired a barrage of up to 130 rockets in a single hour at Israel. A total of over 170 rockets hit the north, killing a 60-year-old Bedouin mother and her two daughters. Unlike Qana or South Beirut, there is no question whatever that the building they were in was not a military target.

A good point on the UN resolution at Israpundit. The post disappeared, but the gist was that the resolution calls for a "full cessation" of hostilities, not an "immediate cessation", a point made at Belmont Club and Right Wing Nut House.


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