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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Not Surprising, But Increasingly Horrifying

This sounds like the worst ground fighting yet over the border in Lebanon, although there have been a few other raids:
Two young brothers were killed by a Hezbollah rocket in the Israeli holy city of Nazareth, authorities said.

In addition to the deaths of the two brothers, aged 3 and 9, there were 18 people wounded in the rocket attacks in Nazareth, a mainly Arab city that's the biblical hometown of Jesus
Hezbollah claimed to have "repelled" Israeli forces near the coastal border town of Naqoura, and the Israeli army said two of its soldiers had been killed and nine were wounded in the fierce firefight. Hezbollah said one guerrilla was killed.
The article also cites an Israeli claim to have eliminated about 50% of Hezbollah's arsenal. This is what just makes me goggle, though:
British Prime Minister Tony Blair also rejected calls for Israel to declare a unilateral cease-fire, insisting Hezbollah must first free two captured Israeli soldiers and stop firing rockets at the Jewish state.
Who has the chutzpah to tell Israel to stop while there are no constraints on Hezbollah? The Lebanese PM and Assad of Syria, of course, and Assad has been talking to the Turks. Even Solana seems to be willing to at least hint that Syria should not be posturing here:
Earlier Wednesday, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana called on "those who may have influence" over Hezbollah to help end the conflict, indirectly referring to Syria and Iran.

"We're in a hurry. It has to happen fast," said Terje Roed-Larsen, advisor on Lebanon-Syria issues to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "There is serious work to be done in order to reach conclusions, which will be presented to the parties. The parties then have to agree with the presence of the force, what kind of force before it can go in."
The UN force in Lebanon now didn't stop the attack on Israel that began all this. Supposedly those forces even turned away Lebanese civilians looking for shelter in one of their posts. And as for the "parties" which have to agree, that surely includes Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah. Fat chance:
After all that has taken place so far in Lebanon, nothing has succeeded in altering the basic equation: Any diplomatic solution will have to pass through the Lebanese political grinder and gain Hezbollah's agreement. "Everything is up in the air" according to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, including direct and indirect talks with Hezbollah, and therefore nothing has changed since before the outbreak of fighting

The question is not only what will stop Israel's onslaught but also what will the conditions be that will allow Hassan Nasrallah to nod approvingly. Mediators heard about what may work in a meeting with Nabih Berri, a "contact person" to Hezbollah, the speaker of Lebanon's parliament and head of Amal, another Shi'ite group. According to Berri, even if the United Nations decides to deploy a "significant" force to south Lebanon, it will need Nasrallah's approval, otherwise such a force will be involved in incessant fighting and Israel will continue to suffer missile attacks.
This is a tragedy with comedic dimensions developing on the diplomatic front, and neither the Lebanese nor the Israelis can afford to laugh at these statements.

Israel has declared that it will not deal with Syria and Iran, and that the world must. You just know that all of these Euro-appeasers who loudly denigrate Israel were deeply, deeply disappointed at that announcement. They want Israel to do the heavy lifting while they stand by and announce their humanitarian horror.

It seems very unlikely that a UN force would do much effective to stop the attacks on Israel. How would it stop the Katyusha attacks?...with a very high net? I understand that the range of this weapon is 12 miles..could a UN force meaningfully occupy a strip 12 miles wide? Remember the UN unit in Bosnia that turned tail at a Serb threat, abandoning the people it was supposed to protect to their deaths?

What a UN force would do, very effectively, is inhibit Israel's ability to defend itself.
BIIIIIGGGG BAD badminton net.

It's a joke. All of these people telling Israel to negotiate under these circumstances are telling Israel to sit and take the barrage - that or make their soldiers human pawns.

My opinion of the UN as a body enforcing international law is tanking. It's not just this. They have become more like an old-style Tamany Hall boss picking the winners and losers based on their own convenience.

The saddest part is that a whole lot of innocent people are suffering over this, and any real humanitarian would set out realistic conditions for peace. The international "community" is stoking the fires instead.
Why should the UN be in any greater hurry to arrange a ceasefire in Lemanon than they are in Darfur?

The human tragedy in Darfur is far greater. I say we focus on that, first.

Priorities, you know?
SC&A, what's becoming increasingly clear is that the UN is not a human-rights organization, but a cabal of vested interests.

I have been thinking about Darfur, and Rwanda, and what happened in the camps in the Balkans. Can we trust any force under the aegis of the UN?

A group of Lebanese villagers on the border went to a UN post for protection when this broke out, and they sent them away.

I don't mean to criticize the rank and file in the UN forces, but without integrity of command such forces are caught in an amoral situation. The essence of an army is control by command, or the forces become vigilantes.

I have been praying, and I am convinced that the world's reaction in this case shows a deep indifference to both the plight of the Lebanese civilians AND the Israeli civilians. One can cloak such indifference with words of idealism, but that doesn't change the real world consequences one bit.

Unless we will return to taking all human lives seriously, such interventions may be doomed to exacerbate conflicts rather than ameliorate them.
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