posted on Jul, 29 2006 @ 11:56 PM
As a political scientist, I think that we're seeing a well-intended effort on the part of the international community to look like it's doing
something without actually committing to a course of action. The truth is that nobody wants a piece of this conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.
President Bush is in a very difficult position. He clearly wants to support Israel, but he can't come out and say that. the Europeans themselves
have no love for Israel, but they can't allow themselves to be seen as uncaring. Everybody's trying to stay on their best behavior while Jihadists
like Al Zawahiri call for guerillas to infiltrate Lebanon to join Hezbollah.
In the last twelve hours, the IDF has pulled back from its incursion in to the small town of Bint Jbail. Even if what the IDF says about that
re-alignment is totally true, it LOOKS like something else to the Arab world. When the sun comes up in the western capitols, it's going to look less
like a re-deployment and more like a retreat to the politicians who lack faith in the Isreali cause, or fear the body bag.
Even if we assume that Secretary Rice gets her way on every pont she's made, we still won't see a meaningful U.N. mission in Lebanon before next
spring. I think she was very shrewd to say what she has so far. Nobody can fault the Americans for what has been said, or attempted so far. Which
is the whole point of the Rice mission.
A lot of Americans go to the polls starting next month and thereafter for primary elections. The best the GOP can hope for at this time is to look
sympathetic to Israel without actually committing to anything that will obligate more troops. I have no doubt that the leaders in Tel Aviv know this,
and that could be why they pulled back in the first place.
If they are going to be on their own for the rest of this year, Israel needs to re-think their deployments, and their long term goals. Their leaders
have clearly lost any nerve they might have had for a larger invasion. Until they get a solid mandate from their own people to forge ahead, we can
expect them to remain on their side of the border. Deepest penetration by Christmas may not be any deeper that five miles.
The bottom line is that I think they are their only salvation. If they have the nerve to press on, they'll have to fight a much bigger war. If they
win, they will have peace...in about 30 years, after a successful occupation and regime re-alignment of Lebanon and Syria. If the international
community forces them to accept anything less...