Friday, September 29, 2006

UN mediated truce not a total victory for Hezbollah?

Via Michael Totten, this sounds like good news. If the analysis is correct, then Nasrallah was hurt much worse by the UN deal than most pundits predicted, myself included.

However, I think there is good reason to be suspicious of this analysis. It resounds of wishful thinking and reports Nasrallah's weakness (amongst the Lebanese Shia for example) in areas that are contradicted by other news outlets.

Two things were brought about as a result of the last action: Lebanon has pledged to take back control of the Hezbollah dominated south and the UN has pledged troops to help them do this. If they do indeed regain control, then the net result will be better for both Lebanon and Israel. In this I agree with the author of this article. We differ on the point that I am not convinced that Lebanon and the UN have either the inclination or possibly even the ability to truly take back the south. If Nasrallah is even nervous about this, however, then obviously that is a positive sign.

Ultimately I think Olmert failed because he did not do enough to weaken Hezbollah and therefore help Lebanon defeat them. He also did not give sufficient incentive to the Lebanese to undertake this difficult and painful task. It should have been made clear at the end of the conflict that if Hezbollah continued to be a force that threatens Israel, then all of Lebanon as a country will bear the responsibility. Unfortunately I don't think that this threat is viable even implicitly because we have seen that Israel will quickly cave to pressure from the UN.

However, if the Lebanese do the right thing by taking back control of their country and the UN helps them then the end result is the same: peace, security and prosperity for Lebanon and a little bit more breathing room for Israel.


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