Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lebanon: The Only Exit Strategy

By Aussiegirl

Condi has hopefully been roped in from making her usually unhelpful reflexive exhortations about good behavior and getting back to the roadmap to peace. And to those who say she is implementing a "process" -- you don't win a war with terrorist savages by engaging in a "process". Early on in this confrontation Condi made some ridiculous statement about ceasing hostilities and getting back to the roadmap to peace, surely one of the silliest phrases that has been heard since this whole thing started. Then she seemed to disappear from the radar screen over there in St. Petersburg while the president rightly insisted that Israel had every right to defend herself. She needs to stay home and let the Israelis finish the job.

Lebanon: The Only Exit Strategy

Lebanon: The Only Exit Strategy
By Charles Krauthammer

There is crisis and there is opportunity. Amid the general wringing of hands over the seemingly endless and escalating Israel-Hezbollah fighting, everyone asks: Where will it end?

The answer, blindingly clear, begins with understanding that this crisis represents a rare, perhaps irreproducible, opportunity.

Every important party in the region and in the world, except the radical Islamists in Tehran and their clients in Damascus, wants Hezbollah disarmed and removed from south Lebanon so that it is no longer able to destabilize the peace of both Lebanon and the broader Middle East.

Which parties? Start with the great powers. In September 2004 they passed U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, demanding that Hezbollah disarm and allow the Lebanese army to take back control of south Lebanon. [....]

Then there are the Arabs, beginning with the Lebanese who want Hezbollah out. The majority of Lebanese -- Christian, Druze, Sunni Muslim and secular -- bitterly resent their country's being hijacked by Hezbollah and turned into a war zone. And in the name of what Lebanese interest? Israel evacuated every square inch of Lebanon six years ago.

The other Arabs have spoken, too. In a stunning development, the 22-member Arab League criticized Hezbollah for provoking the current crisis. It is unprecedented for the Arab League to criticize any Arab party while it is actively engaged in hostilities with Israel. But the Arab states know that Hezbollah, a Shiite militia in the service of Persian Iran, is a threat not just to Lebanon but to them as well. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan have openly criticized Hezbollah for starting a war on what is essentially Iran's timetable (to distract attention from Iran's pending referral to the Security Council for sanctions over its nuclear program). They are far more worried about Iran and its proxies than about Israel. They are therefore eager to see Hezbollah disarmed and defanged. [....]

Hence the golden, unprecedented opportunity. Hezbollah makes a fatal mistake. It crosses the U.N.-delineated international frontier to attack Israel, kill soldiers and take hostages. This aggression is so naked that even Russia joins in the Group of Eight summit communique blaming Hezbollah for the violence and calling for the restoration of Lebanese sovereignty in the south.

But only one country has the capacity to do the job. That is Israel, now recognized by the world as forced into this fight by Hezbollah's aggression.

The road to a solution is therefore clear: Israel liberates south Lebanon and gives it back to the Lebanese. [....]

Only two questions remain: Israel's will and America's wisdom. Does Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have the courage to do what is so obviously necessary? And will Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's upcoming peace trip to the Middle East force a premature cease-fire that spares her the humiliation of coming home empty-handed but prevents precisely the kind of decisive military outcome that would secure the interests of Israel, Lebanon, the moderate Arabs and the West?


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