Cease-fire round-up

08.13.06

Meryl gives it a D. Allison believes Ehud Olmert’s days as PM are numbered. In an op-ed in Ha’aretz, Moshe Arens claims that Israel’s war was too much for its leaders to handle. The Jerusalem Post reports that Hezbollah has been strengthened immeasurably. Yoram Kaniuk in Ynet writes that the IDF lost this war and wasn’t up to the task. The general consensus is that the cause was just but the execution was severely flawed.

Israel didn’t achieve any of its continually-revised objectives.

Get back the kidnapped soldiers? Nope.

Destroy or then weaken Hezbollah? The opposite happened – Hezbollah has been strengthened in popularity among a Lebanese population who largely rejected them before. So much for the naive goals at the start of the war that had Israeli leaders actually believing that the Lebanese citizenry would take up common cause with Israel.

Disarm Hezbollah? On paper, yes. In practice? I don’t think anyone is quite that naive. And with Iran and Syria emboldened, this does not bode well for the near future.

Encourage the Lebanese army to implement 1559 and take control of southern Lebanon? On paper, maybe, but in practice, Saniora has become more of a puppet of Hezbollah than ever before.

Install an effective neutral peacekeeping force as a buffer? Instead of NATO, Israel got stuck once again with a crippled UN force that is more likely to be part of the problem than part of the solution.

World opinion? No comment. Things weren’t good, but then, they were never good on that score even beforehand.

Sure, the Israel cabinet is spinning the cease-fire as good news. What else can they do? But there will be a lot of tough questions being asked in the days ahead.

Israel had no choice: it was attacked and had to respond. But it isn’t always enough to be right. You have to be right, and you have to win.

The good news is, hopefully – hopefully – thousands of Israeli soldiers can come home, and thousands of civilians can return to their homes. In the short term, there’s no doubt that everyone wanted to see an end to this crisis – civilians in Israel and Lebanon alike were paying far too heavy a price. But the long term is worrying.

Pessimism when it comes to the middle east is hard to avoid, and I’m not really in the mood to play silver-lining today.

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