Monday :: Jul 17, 2006

Cease Fire Talk Gains Ground

by Steve


While the G-8 issues statements and talks about a UN action and Bush approves plans for an evacuation of Americans from Beirut, Israel has sent in ground troops to southern Lebanon today to go after Hezbollah. Overnight, Israel attacked targets in northern Lebanon, putting the whole country in the target zone. And perhaps feeling a little pressure from the international community and sensing the opportunity to appear willing to defuse a situation they poured too much gasoline on, Israel just signaled that they would agree to a cease-fire if their hostages were returned and if the UN got Hezbollah to withdraw from the border area. In the most promising sign, Hezbollah’s sponsor Iran signaled that a prisoner swap and cease-fire were now possible as well. This comes as Hezbollah has shot down its first Israeli aircraft. Tony Blair and UN Secretary Kofi Annan supported international forces being inserted into southern Lebanon to reestablish a safe zone and ensure no further attacks from Hezbollah.

Both Syria and Iran now are supportive of a cease-fire and a prisoner swap to end this, but that will not change the fact that both countries supported the hostage takings in the first place, and both countries have been damaged as a result of this mistake. I stand by what I said yesterday, that Iran should be sanctioned and isolated as a result of this.

Also note however how the Israelis tipped their hands today. Olmert doesn’t want international peacekeepers to take over in southern Lebanon and get rid of Hezbollah militias. Instead, he wants Lebanon’s military to do it, which he knows full well is not capable of doing it. It calls into question whether Olmert wants Hezbollah expelled and the area made a safe zone, or whether he wants the ongoing pretext for invading and taking over southern Lebanon. Nevertheless, there are signs today that a deal is possible to move this crisis towards a temporary resolution, no matter what awaits Iran internationally as a result of this gross miscalculation on their part.

Steve :: 8:45 AM :: Comments (18) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!