"Ceasefire" or "Reload"?

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The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs is a useful source of realistic thinking on the Middle East, written by experts. Prof. Gerald Steinberg has a must—read piece for those interested in the coming "cease fire" proposals for the Hezbo War. It's called "Is a sustainable ceasefire in Lebanon realistic?"

That's obviously the critical question today, given the history of terrorists of merely using ceasefires to rearm. While Israel may be able to interdict truck traffic over major highways to Lebanon, there are plenty of smuggling routes through the Bekaa Valley that cannot be interdicted. Imad Mughniye, often considered to be the most dangerous terrorist in the Middle East, has a long established position in the smuggling trade there. Using trail bikes and off—road vehicles, it may be quite possible to re—supply the Hezbos with missiles, fresh troops, Iranian Guards, and pretty much whatever else it needs. Until the Iranian source of Hezbo's support crumbles, resupply is inevitable.

As Steinberg writes,

   

  •      As intense discussions continue on the terms of a "sustainable cease—fire" and a "robust international force" that would end the latest war in Lebanon and prevent renewed conflict, many of the elements suggested appear highly unrealistic.

        

  •      All of the elements envisioned in such a framework are highly problematic, to understate the case. Without realistic mechanisms for long—term implementation, a temporary cease—fire would quickly be exploited by Hizballah, Syria, and Iran in preparation for the next round of attacks against Israel.

        

  •      As a result, in parallel to the formal negotiations, the Israeli government should explore a regime based on clearly defined "red lines" which Israel will enforce unilaterally until Lebanese and international mechanisms are shown to be reliable.

        

  •      These measures include Israeli military action to destroy weapons shipments to Hizballah, prevent the return of terrorists to the border area, and halt the construction by Hizballah of military fortifications.

        

  •      The main Hizballah leaders, including Hassan Nasrallah, should be isolated in a manner similar to Israel's policy with respect to PLO leader Yassir Arafat until his death.

  • I'm afraid that Steinberg may be too optimistic. I would not trust French troops to guarantee a cease—fire, knowing that their political bosses thrive on Machiavellian games with Iran and Syria. US troops would be fine, British troops perhaps. The idea of the Lebanese Army taking over is a pipe dream: Half of them are Shiite sympathizers with Hezbollah, and both the President and Parliamentary Speaker of Lebanon are in the pocket of Iran.

    All roads lead to Tehran. As long as the Khomeini cult runs the place, peace will be a mirage.

    What Israel has accomplished, therefore, is at best a brief respite, of a year or two. Hezbollah will now carry out a terror campaign against its domestic enemies in Lebanon, to ensure even more control over the remnants of the Lebanese Cedar Revolution. They will import longer—range missiles to hit Tel Aviv next time. Iran considers Lebanon its ace in the hole, to hold Israel hostage against a US—Israeli attack on Tehran's nukes.

    The crunch deadline is still the nuclear point of no return in Tehran. They have just been caught tryiing to import radioactve Cesium and U—238. Their mad rhetoric continues.

    Peace cannot come to the Middle East until the Khomeiniacs are overthrown. Given Europe's abject cowardice, only the US, Israel, and perhaps the UK can do the job. The alternative is a Middle East dominated by Khomeiniacs armed with nukes. Nobody wants that, including the Arab countries. 

    James Lewis   8 06 06

    Footnote: Gerald Steinberg is Professor of Political Studies at Bar—Ilan University where he directs the Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation.

    The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs is a useful source of realistic thinking on the Middle East, written by experts. Prof. Gerald Steinberg has a must—read piece for those interested in the coming "cease fire" proposals for the Hezbo War. It's called "Is a sustainable ceasefire in Lebanon realistic?"

    That's obviously the critical question today, given the history of terrorists of merely using ceasefires to rearm. While Israel may be able to interdict truck traffic over major highways to Lebanon, there are plenty of smuggling routes through the Bekaa Valley that cannot be interdicted. Imad Mughniye, often considered to be the most dangerous terrorist in the Middle East, has a long established position in the smuggling trade there. Using trail bikes and off—road vehicles, it may be quite possible to re—supply the Hezbos with missiles, fresh troops, Iranian Guards, and pretty much whatever else it needs. Until the Iranian source of Hezbo's support crumbles, resupply is inevitable.

    As Steinberg writes,

       

  •      As intense discussions continue on the terms of a "sustainable cease—fire" and a "robust international force" that would end the latest war in Lebanon and prevent renewed conflict, many of the elements suggested appear highly unrealistic.

        

  •      All of the elements envisioned in such a framework are highly problematic, to understate the case. Without realistic mechanisms for long—term implementation, a temporary cease—fire would quickly be exploited by Hizballah, Syria, and Iran in preparation for the next round of attacks against Israel.

        

  •      As a result, in parallel to the formal negotiations, the Israeli government should explore a regime based on clearly defined "red lines" which Israel will enforce unilaterally until Lebanese and international mechanisms are shown to be reliable.

        

  •      These measures include Israeli military action to destroy weapons shipments to Hizballah, prevent the return of terrorists to the border area, and halt the construction by Hizballah of military fortifications.

        

  •      The main Hizballah leaders, including Hassan Nasrallah, should be isolated in a manner similar to Israel's policy with respect to PLO leader Yassir Arafat until his death.

  • I'm afraid that Steinberg may be too optimistic. I would not trust French troops to guarantee a cease—fire, knowing that their political bosses thrive on Machiavellian games with Iran and Syria. US troops would be fine, British troops perhaps. The idea of the Lebanese Army taking over is a pipe dream: Half of them are Shiite sympathizers with Hezbollah, and both the President and Parliamentary Speaker of Lebanon are in the pocket of Iran.

    All roads lead to Tehran. As long as the Khomeini cult runs the place, peace will be a mirage.

    What Israel has accomplished, therefore, is at best a brief respite, of a year or two. Hezbollah will now carry out a terror campaign against its domestic enemies in Lebanon, to ensure even more control over the remnants of the Lebanese Cedar Revolution. They will import longer—range missiles to hit Tel Aviv next time. Iran considers Lebanon its ace in the hole, to hold Israel hostage against a US—Israeli attack on Tehran's nukes.

    The crunch deadline is still the nuclear point of no return in Tehran. They have just been caught tryiing to import radioactve Cesium and U—238. Their mad rhetoric continues.

    Peace cannot come to the Middle East until the Khomeiniacs are overthrown. Given Europe's abject cowardice, only the US, Israel, and perhaps the UK can do the job. The alternative is a Middle East dominated by Khomeiniacs armed with nukes. Nobody wants that, including the Arab countries. 

    James Lewis   8 06 06

    Footnote: Gerald Steinberg is Professor of Political Studies at Bar—Ilan University where he directs the Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation.