Israel states what is needed to restore peace...
As Israel's slow incursion into Lebanon continues, and Condoleeza Rice make a round of visits in the region, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has laid their cards on the table.
It's not only about the goal of the military action but about the demands of the international community that we explicitly share. They are: there must be a government and an army in Lebanon. There can no longer be militias and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah. Hezbollah must be completely disarmed. They should no longer have the ability to be armed by Syria and Iran. In southern Lebanon there can be no more Hezbollah bases. The Lebanese army must be stationed there in its place. The global community a while ago demanded that the Lebanese government fulfill its responsibilities. It hasn't yet done so.
Now, the Der Spiegel headline isn't quite accurate - Israel surely seeks to destroy Hezbollah (we are spelling with an 'e' today, check back for future spellings), but seems to leave the possibility open of Hezbollah existing as a political entity in Lebanon - after all they actually hold seats in the Lebanese parliament.
This holds generally with what we believe is the template for a post-action agreement. However, it appears Israel is holding back and leaving a door open that should be indeed closed. Leaving an escape route for Hezbollah to stick around is the same mistake US forces made in dealing with Al Sadr in Iraq. Peace requires victory, merely rooting Hezbollah out 40 miles further north simply mutates the problem, it doesn't solve it.
Our template for a lasting peace requries Israel and Lebanon and other nations to agree to the following terms:
- UN forces (peacekeepers, right...) replaced by NATO or Western regular military forces in an expanded DMZ between Israel and Lebanon
- Lebanon must renounce Hezbollah and remove it from participation in the Lebanese government (this is the key, and the one thing that will not happen unless Lebanon sees this as the only way to secure peace)
- Lebanon must effectively control all of it's territory to prevent Hezbollah or other groups from becoming the de facto power in the area
In a nutshell, Lebanon must start behaving like a sovereign nation. The goal would be to transition the DMZ forces out, replaced with effective Lebanese units. But Israel will not tolerate, nor should it, the creation of a power vacuum that is constantly filled by terrorist groups hostile to Israel who follow through on those intentions.
Unless Hezbollah is routed out of Lebanon's future, we will have exchanged one set of battle lines for another.Posted by MEC2 at July 25, 2006 09:03 AM