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Was the Cease-Fire a Trap for Hezbollah?

Captain Ed offers the most interesting idea, that this cease-fire deal may have been a kind of trap for Hezbollah:

Does anyone not believe that this crisis has been precipitated by Hezbollah's refusal to leave southern Lebanon and disarm? The cease-fire proposal put the onus on them to cease their attacks on Israel and to dismantle their military wing. I warned earlier that such a requirement would eliminate the need for Hezbollah at all; their entire raison d'etre for the Lebanese people has been as a shield against the Israelis. If the Lebanese Army took that function away from them, they just become another terrorist militia, a construct of which the Lebanese have rightly tired.


Nasrallah knew this. He signaled his approval yesterday of the cease-fire but objected to the arms embargo and the disarming of his organization. Perhaps he thought the Israelis would reject it, but when the Israeli Cabinet adopted it unanimously, it looks like Nasrallah had his bluff called.

Unless Siniora gets this resolution adopted in the next couple of hours, Israel will push past the Litani into Bekaa -- and this time they will have the tacit endorsement of the UN Security Council.

Jeff Goldstein writes that the cease-fire agreement is similar to President Bush's strategy with Saddam Hussein:

In an update to my post yesterday I allowed for this possibility as it occured to me (after my initial knee-jerk fury) that Bush had used a similar tactic with respect to Iraq--namely, that he gave Hussein a last, public, and internationally-monitored chance to prove he'd disarmed, knowing (most likely) that Saddam would call the bluff and rely upon the caterwauling and disapproval of a couple of bought-off UN Security Council member countries to prevent an invasion.


So it's possible that his administration has orchestrated, along witih Olmert, the same kind of plan here--knowing, as nearly everyone must, that Hizballah will refuse to disarm.

What an interesting plan, if it turns out that the cease-fire was designed to situate Israel so it has the UNSC's endorsement to go after Hezbollah full force once the terror organization either doesn't agree to the cease-fire or violates it. I hope the cease-fire fails because it would give Olmert a second chance to get the Israeli offensive against Hezbollah right and destroy it once and for all. I just hope Olmert has the nerve to do it.

11:11 PM EDT Just about an hour ago the BBC ran this:

Lebanon falters over truce detail

Crucial Lebanese cabinet talks on disarming Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon under a UN-brokered ceasefire have been put off.

A truce between Israel and Hezbollah is due to come into force at 0500 GMT.

The postponement, amid reported divisions, seriously complicates the establishment of a stable ceasefire, the BBC's Nick Childs in Beirut says.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered the country's army to halt fighting at 2300 GMT on Sunday.

Israel will now begin withdrawing some of its forces immediately, according to the newspaper Haaretz, reporting on a meeting between Mr Olmert, Defence Minister Amir Peretz and senior army staff. ...

Major tensions

Lebanon's cabinet indefinitely postponed its meeting.

After five hours of discussions on Saturday, it had agreed to accept a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution with reservations.

The second gathering was meant to consider the details of implementation.

However, the issue of Hezbollah's disarmament and its military presence in southern Lebanon continues to cause major tensions within the fragile government, our correspondent reports.

He says that without a meeting and an agreed plan, it seems that the deployment of 15,000 Lebanese army troops to the south is unlikely to go ahead.

Even if the planned ceasefire happens, the prospects of continuing skirmishes on the ground will remain high, he adds.

Hezbollah, a member of the government, says it will abide by the resolution but retains the right to continue attacks until the last Israeli soldier has left Lebanese soil.

Others blogging:

Flopping Aces
All Things Beautiful
Say Anything
John Podhoretz at The Corner
Gateway Pundit


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Comments (14)

It makes no sense to hope t... (Below threshold)
ClearwaterConservative:

It makes no sense to hope the UN resolution fails. The resolution calls for Hez to disarm. And it would be done without a fight from the Israelis and the many casualties this was cause.

Since when did we start choosing war over a negotiated cease fire?

I hope you are right. If t... (Below threshold)
Thor-Zone:

I hope you are right. If things happen as the Captian is thinking Israel wins big. If it doesn't happen that way - Israel can go back to rooting out the Hezzies.

Maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all.

CWC: You choose war as a la... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

CWC: You choose war as a last result in order to obtain peace. Ceasefire in that region has never yet lead to peace - only a pause until the organizations that want Israel eliminated can attack again.

Uhm, dude.. your dealing wi... (Below threshold)
aya:

Uhm, dude.. your dealing with islamic extremeists.... you dont hold a UN resolution up to thier face and they say "ok, we'll put down our weapons"

More like the opposite: they go crazy and redouble thier stupid efforts.

Come back to reality.

Ceasefire in that region... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Ceasefire in that region has never yet lead to peace - only a pause until the organizations that want Israel eliminated can attack again.

In other words, a hudna.

I wish that this was some s... (Below threshold)

I wish that this was some sort of ultrasecret strategy on the Bush Administration's part, but nothing in Rice's tenure thus far at State would indicate such "strategery" is in effect.

Might I also remind you that Bush is installing The New York Times' favorite CIA guy to replace Porter Goss? Is that a master strategy to trigger a Langley implosion?

Fact is, Bush is dropping the ball---bigtime.

The only thing that matters is keeping Tehran from nukes. Bush is acting an awful lot like he thinks they've already got 'em.

Pure fantasy.I lov... (Below threshold)
Spoons:

Pure fantasy.

I love how some of my fellows on the right manage to rationalize every cave and capitulation by our leaders as all part of a secret plan (rope-a-dope?) by our leaders to outfox the enemy. The "Americans blew up the towers" crowd has nothing on you guys.

Among other reasons why this is so fanciful, the resolution does not provide any mechanism for disarming Hezbollah.

So, Hizbullah's "entire ra... (Below threshold)
R:

So, Hizbullah's "entire raison d'etre for the Lebanese people has been as a shield against the Israelis. If the Lebanese Army took that function away from them, they just become another terrorist militia".

The other day, an elite Lebanese unit in southern Lebanon (yes, there were Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon), had the chance to show itself to be a "shield against the Israelis", as your friend put it. They accomplished this by making coffee for the Israelis, surrendering their weapons (under the direction of the traitor Hariri-ist Interior Minister) and then marching out of town along with the civilian population. Not long after, bombs were dropped on this "shield" by the Israelis. This took place after the Lebanese government offered to send 15,000 troops to the south and as that resolution was being discussed at the UN.

Had a whole force of such troops been there to meet the Israelis instead of Hizbullah, the Israelis would be in Beirut by now. Hizbullah has proven its indispensibility during this war. Hizbullah won't be disarmed. After all, the KLA was not disarmed as Resolution 1244 demanded, and it even invaded neighbouring countries and got what it wanted when it did this.

No resolutions call for Hizbullah to disarm. They speak of "militias". The Lebanese government does not consider Hizbullah to be a militia and it is after all the sovereign government that decides what is a militia, what is the police, and what is the army.

The government of Lebanon in fact can very easily deputise Hizbullah and provide it with an official blank cheque authorisation to import weapons and receive outside assistance and it would be consistent with the letter of the last UN Security Council Resolution. Hizbullah is an essential part of the Lebanese defence strategy. The Israelis of course would prefer its chosen victims to be defenceless but only a suicidal Lebanese government would choose this. If it dares, Israel foolishly sent tens of thousands of hard-core Hizbullah supporters into central Beirut. People Power may turn out to be more convincing than the mad delusions of George W. Bush.

The only problem I see with... (Below threshold)
kirktoe:

The only problem I see with this scenario is contained your last sentence: Does Olmert have the nerve to do it. Nothing I've seen so far indicates he does. If he had acted swiftly and decisively 30 days ago, the israeli's would have wiped out Hezzbolah by now.

I think the best Bush can do now is to wait and hope that Olmert is removed and someone like Bejamin N. (can't begin to spell his last name) is elected and then when the resolution fails (which it will) you will have someone that will have the nerve and the courage to finish Hezzbolah.

Hey kirktoe: Netanyahu--rig... (Below threshold)
greenstater:

Hey kirktoe: Netanyahu--right-wing yahoo!

That was beyond weak. I'm quitting my day job as a famous rap star.

If this was a high-stakes b... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

If this was a high-stakes bluff, I admit I wouldn't have thought ANY of the parties involved capable of pulling it off. But I doubt it is.

Olmert resisted the IDF's desire to insert ground troops immediately, and has carefully limited their actions. He's a man without a real party - this Sharon coalition was elected on the promise of practical results, and he isn't getting them.

The mistake was agreeing to ANYTHING which did not begin with the return of the kidnapped soldiers. If Olmert doesn't get them back without capitulating to Hezbollah's demand for a prisoner swap, he is toast in the next election and his government is immediately on shaky ground. He should never, ever have agreed to a ceasefire without their immediate return.

Suppose that Canadian terrorists, operating in full view and with the full knowledge of the Canadian government, kidnapped two American soldiers just over the border and began pelting our cities with missiles. If an American President agreed to a "ceasefire" without getting them back and destroying the terrorists, his political future would be in the dumper. So it is with Olmert.

It's a nice fantasy. It tak... (Below threshold)

It's a nice fantasy. It takes a few things for granted, the first being that the folks running my country of Israel have the slightest idea what they're doing. Which they obviously don't. They've screwed up every possible way in the last month, with the exception of not backing down publicly until now. Militarily the war has been one big cluster-f***. Internal politcs wise? Pissed off the left wing by attacking Beirut, pissed off the right wing by doing things half-assed and talking about how this will be a stepping stone to further withdrawls.
I'm unable to give the Israeli government any credit to do anything remotely right at this point. So, while it would be nice to see...ain't gonna happen. Even if served up on a platter.

This is a post to another b... (Below threshold)
Mike:

This is a post to another blog I made several weeks ago. I have seen nothing that changes my mind on the subject. Quite why Americans can't see this outcome amazes me. Hisbollah will disarm by becoming the Lebanese army:

"While George W panics at what to do (remember him in the school on 9/11) the rest of us can see the emerging future with some clarity. Hizbollah, far from being destroyed by Israel's current attacks, will emerge as an even more powerful military and political force in Lebanon by the next elections. With 40% of the Lebanese population, Shias the are likely to get a major stake in the parliament. Meanwhile Hizbollah's military force (already more powerful, and better armed, than the existing Lebanese army) will 'merge' (i.e. take over) the Lebanese army as part of the negotiated settlement. Israel has already been forced to say it would accept that.

Consequently Hizbollah will soon BE the Lebanese army - with international consent. It will then be in a perfect position to use it's positions in government (almost certainly including the ministry of defense) to begin a major rearmament phase but now with the full status of a legitimate national force.

US taxpayers, as part of the peace settlement, will be funding the 'rebuilding' of Lebanon including the provision of substantial military hardware to 'bolster' the Lebanese army, under the pretext that they need to be powerful enough to 'control' terrorists in south Lebanon and keep Israel 'safe'. So, Hisbollah will be armed by you guys so they can protect Israel. Your great George W will sell that to you as he is desperate for any solution and has few friends to support anything else.

The only piece of the jigsaw remaining to square the circle is who will sell these arms to Hizbollah. Excuse me while I go and buy some more Lockheed Martin shares.

Have a nice day now and don't forget to post your IRS cheques will you, I need all the pension I can get."

There are misunderstandings... (Below threshold)
R:

There are misunderstandings about the so-called act of war of 12 July 2006. Those acts in fact respected the understanding agreed to by Israel and Hizbullah following the infamous Operation Grapes of Wrath invasion of April 1996. According to this understanding, each side could attack each other's military forces and only military forces and not attack civilians. The purpose was to prevent escalations; what always happened was that Hizbullah would pick off an Israeli soldier, then Israel would shell a village and then Hizbullah would send Katyusha rockets to Kiryat Shmona.

Hizbullah respected the rules of the game and the understanding. Olmert himself admitted to this with his vow to "change the rules of the game"; he didn't like these rules and wanted to impose a new set of rules. That was his decision; as things stood, by no means could any sane person characterise Hizbullah's actions as acts of war.

Moreover, acts of this kind happen very often between India and Pakistan. Had Olmert's standards been used, nuclear war on the subcontinent would already have happened.




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