The world’s most populous Muslim country is offering to contribute troops.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni hinted Tuesday that Israel would not object to a temporary international force in south Lebanon, despite earlier an outright Israeli rejection of such a plan.
Speaking after a meeting with a United Nations delegation headed by special envoy Vijay Nambiar, Livni said that while Israel would prefer the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south of the country, “we will consider other solutions put forward.”
“If there is a need to strengthen the Lebanese army somehow, so that the military in south Lebanon is effective, and prevents Hezbollah from returning, we will consider ways to do achieve this,” Livni said…
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also met with the UN team, despite saying previously that he would not do so.
Olmert told them the IDF won’t relent until Israel’s security is ensured, which could take three or four days, or a week, or several weeks. Livni says the diplomacy won’t affect the army’s operations, but former foreign minister Silvan Shalom knows better: he says their window to deal Hezbollah a serious blow is closing.
Update: Breaking on Fox — a boat sent to get Americans out of Beirut has been halted by the blockade. That’ll give the Israel-haters something to add to their webpages about the USS Liberty.
Update: America isn’t the only country with a loose-lipped media.
Update: The Tehran chapter of Hezbollah is ready to oblige Newt Gingrich:
Iran’s Hizbollah, which claims links to the Lebanese group of the same name, said on Tuesday it stood ready to attack Israeli and U.S. interests worldwide.
“We have 2,000 volunteers who have registered since last year,” said Iranian Hizbollah’s spokesman Mojtaba Bigdeli, speaking by telephone from the central seminary city of Qom.
“They have been trained and they can become fully armed. We are ready to dispatch them to every corner of the world to jeopardise Israel and America’s interests. We are only waiting for the Supreme Leader’s green light to take action. If America wants to ignite World War Three … we welcome it,” he said.
Update: Jim Woolsey says it’s time for America to airmail a payload or two to the Damascus airport.
Update: A friend of mine just e-mailed to say he’s been discussing the situation with an Israeli analyst, who told him the problem with attacking Iran is that “you can’t scare a prostitute with a penis.”
To which I replied, “You can if it’s big enough.”
Just felt like sharing.
Update: Good cop, bad cop: the speaker of Iran’s parliament declares that no part of Israel is safe from Hezbollah … while the country’s foreign minister allegedly is busy telling Nasrallah to rein it in.
Update: The Guardian says the IDF is on the clock. Why is a scheduled withdrawal a good idea here but a bad idea in Iraq? I wonder.
I also wonder what the region would look like today if the U.S. hadn’t been so “helpful” in restraining Israel over the years.
Peres says there won’t be a ground invasion. There won’t be, either, if the Guardian’s story is accurate.