It’s an odd thing when discussions to end a war between combatants don’t include those combatants. But that’s what we have wrt Israel and the Hezbollah/Iranian/Syrian pirates in Lebanon:
The United States and France agreed Saturday on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for a “full cessation” of fighting between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, but would allow Israel to defend itself if attacked.
The draft, obtained by The Associated Press, “calls for a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations.”
That language would be a major victory for Israel, which has insisted it must have the right to respond if Hezbollah launches missiles against it. France and many other nations had demanded an immediate halt to violence without conditions as a way to push the region back toward stability.
It’s also odd that France seems to be holding Iran’s coat in all of this, inasmuch as the US is Israel’s proxy at the talks. What does France hope to gain in all of this, but the friendship of Tehran’s mullahs? If that’s the hope, France will discover soon enough that such friendship is decidedly one-sided.
The resolution asks that Israel and Lebanon agree to a set of principles to achieve a long-term peace. One crucial element is an arms embargo that would block any entity except the Lebanese government from buying weapons.
That is presumably meant to block the sale of arms to Hezbollah from Iran and Syria, believed to be the militia’s main suppliers.
Other principles spelled out in the resolution include the disarmament of Hezbollah; the creation of a buffer zone from the U.N.-demarcated border between Israel and Lebanon north to the Litani River; and the delineation of Lebanon’s borders, especially in the disputed Chebaa Farms area.
Some of that sounds fine until you realize that neither Iran nor Syria have been brought to the table to commit to anything. Lebanon can agree to disarm Hezbollah–it already has, at least in principle–but that won’t mean a thing if the Iranians and Syrians don’t play along. And they won’t play along. They have been made to pay no penalty for arming Hezbollah and turning it loose so far, so why should they play along now.
And if this war settles the Sheba Farms issue along lines in which Israel gives it up, that’s a victory for Hezbollah–it will have shown the power to force Israel to alter its borders, something no Arab power has done through combat.
The only way this resolution solves anything is as a postscript to the destruction of Hezbollah.