It should come as no surprise that the vaunted Untied Nations-brokered cease fire in Lebanon is unraveling by the hour, less than three days after it went into effect.
The original terms called for a 30,000-man armed force to occupy southern Lebanon, and enforce the peace in a newly created demilitarized zone between Lebanon and Israel. The news reports also claimed that disarming Hezbollah was part of the deal, but questions are being raised as to whether that was actually in the agreement.
Now, we find that only a tenth of the promised troops will be available any time in the near future, many nations that promised support suddenly don't want to commit troops if shooting is involved, and it will be at least a year before anything close to a 30,000-member force could be on the scene. So, if Israeli forces pull out, the vacuum will be filled by --- wait for it, OK, you guessed it, Hezbollah! What a surprise, what an unexpected turn of events, what a shocking development!!
But let's not forget that the war between Israel and Hezbollah was a diversion. It was instigated, funded and armed by Iran, supported by its puppet Syria, and launched just in time to divert the Untied Nations' attention at the crucial moment when it was supposed to actually do something about Iran's continuing development of nuclear weapons.
We now are less than a week from the August 22nd Doomsday as the Iranian leader Green Bean Almandine has proclaimed, and the UN is once again stumbling about like a drunk on a bender, mumbling slurred commentary on matters that are discernable and important only inside that whiskey soaked, long dead mass of gray matter.
It will be interesting from a detached point of view to watch the American political scene as the rabid opponents of the George Bush administration, which means just about any opponent of the Bush administration, try to come up with a way to blame this on him and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Democrats screamed at the top of their lungs in the 2004 election race that Bush was acting unilaterally (which has always seemed appropriate to me if the rest of your potential partners are as inept as the Untied Nations), but now that he has tried to work within the UN framework, that organization has again been shown to be useless, clueless, and incapable of anything but hand wringing and drivel. How to blame this on Bush? How to blame this on Bush? Think Dems, think! Otherwise the public will have a moment to put two and two together and realize that you are talking out of both sides of your mouth again, and hoping no one will notice.
But while the partisan posturing proceeds in the US, a deadline is fast approaching, and it should not be ignored. The Israeli army has halted its movement out of Lebanon and won't start again until there is a real international force in place. The Bush administration can let that subject sit on the back burner for the next week.
We need to be focused on Iran and ignore any attempts to divert our attention elsewhere. Iran already is attempting to make lemonade out of lemons, dealing with the destruction of so much of south Lebanon and the deaths of about 600 of Hezbollah's best fighters, by sending in teams of personnel and millions of oil dollars to rebuild before the populace wakes up and starts pointing fingers at Hezbollah for causing the destruction in the first place.
Meanwhile the Israeli populace is apoplectic over the incompetence of the Olmert government and its indecisiveness over the proper approach to the fighting.
Dear Prime Minister Olmert, if you are ever in a situation again where you or your countrymen have to fight, there is only one rule to remember: Get there first with the most, and fight with all you have for a total victory.
Anything else is window dressing. But you have found that out and your future is now in the hands of your very distressed countrymen.
Pundits also are questioning Secretary of State Rice, President Bush and even Great Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair over the outcome of this UN mandate. That just amounts to more politicking.
The US and Great Britain recognized the need for Israel to hit the terrorists and hit them hard. Olmert was too timid, and betrayed his countrymen as well as his backers in the rest of the free world but it was smart of Bush and Blair to give Israel enough time to do the job, if it was done right, and then put a halt to the fighting in time to refocus on Iran.
The situation in southern Lebanon will be resolved, sooner or later, with the dismantling of Hezbollah, either from within Lebanon or from without by armed force in another war. But if it goes to fighting again it assuredly won't end as it did this time.
Meanwhile, our eyes are, and should continue to be, focused on Iran. The fighting in Lebanon was bad enough this time. God help us if that maniac starts shipping out nuclear arms.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006