Tuesday, August 08, 2006

We're In The Hands Of Diplomats

Qatar argued Lebanon's case before the Security Council, claiming an unsustainable cease fire would lead to civil war. It's an argument made behind the barrel of Hezbollah's gun. The U.S. responded to the proposal for Lebanese troops realistically, accepting the theory behind a deployment but rejecting the possibility it could actually come true. Ehud Omert is now examining the proposal.

Apropos of Qatar's civil war case, Michael Totten made two recent observations: first suggests that Lebanon is safe provided its leaders remain interested in peace, and the second is that the threat of civil war will perhaps bring about Hezbollah's surrender. Raja at Lebanese Bloggers is convinced that the Lebanese state is the only actor which resolve the situation, and is relieved it has finally done more than rend garments and gnash teeth.

All the diplomacy suffers an assumption that I think will prove false: the parties seem to presume Hezbollah to be a rational party. Lebanon assumes that the sight of its army in the south will automatically cause it to disarm. The U.S. and the French assume the prospect of a prisoner release and the Shebaa Farms will do the same. The Arab League thinks the Shia devil within Lebanon can be outmaneuvered. But Hezbollah is a totalitarian party, and has proven itself as ruthless and intransigent as any other such party, willing to take any opportunity to press its designs. It can take advantage of the Lebanese army deployment to launch a true civil war, or even a coup d'etat with sympathetic elements in the armed forces. It can press its agenda using disenfranchised Shia in other countries, especially Iraq. Or it can just wait until the furor dies down, resupply, and wait to make a new attack on Israel.

But the idea that any peace with Hezbollah is more than temporary seems foolish in the extreme.

The character of the group, and what it has thrust upon Lebanese Shiites, can be partly seen in this Michael Totten photo essay. It's not a group of people to be trusted with the peace.


Technorati tags: | | | | | |

No comments: