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August 13, 2006
Lebanon About To Fall

The cease-fire agreement appears to have created a crisis in Lebanon's government, as a Cabinet meeting of Siniora's government has been abruptly cancelled. The Cabinet was supposed to vote on a plan to deploy their army into southern Lebanon and to displace Hezbollah. That has now been indefinitely delayed -- which means that Israel is not bound by the agreement to stop fighting:

A critical Lebanese Cabinet meeting set for Sunday to discuss implementation of the cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah was postponed, a move that was likely to delay the dispatch of the Lebanese army to the south and an end of the fighting.

A top aide to Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said the meeting had been indefinitely postponed but would give no reason. Published reports said the Cabinet, which approved the cease-fire unanimously Saturday night, had been sharply divided over demands in the cease-fire agreement that Hizbullah surrender its weapons in south Lebanon.

That disagreement was believed to have caused the postponement of the Sunday meeting that was to have taken up the dispatch of some 15,000 troops to the south.

Does anyone not believe that this crisis has been precipitated by Hezbollah's refusal to leave southern Lebanon and disarm? The cease-fire proposal put the onus on them to cease their attacks on Israel and to dismantle their military wing. I warned earlier that such a requirement would eliminate the need for Hezbollah at all; their entire raison d'etre for the Lebanese people has been as a shield against the Israelis. If the Lebanese Army took that function away from them, they just become another terrorist militia, a construct of which the Lebanese have rightly tired.

Nasrallah knew this. He signaled his approval yesterday of the cease-fire but objected to the arms embargo and the disarming of his organization. Perhaps he thought the Israelis would reject it, but when the Israeli Cabinet adopted it unanimously, it looks like Nasrallah had his bluff called.

Unless Siniora gets this resolution adopted in the next couple of hours, Israel will push past the Litani into Bekaa -- and this time they will have the tacit endorsement of the UN Security Council.

UPDATE: I think we have Nasrallah's answer:

Hezbollah fired more than 230 rockets, Israel reported, and several hit the northern port city of Haifa, where at least two people were seriously injured.

The IDF said it carried out more than 100 aerial attacks targeting Hezbollah militants. ...

But the Lebanese Cabinet postponed its meeting Sunday to discuss implementing the resolution, a Lebanese government minister said.

The meeting was postponed one to two days, the minister said, at the request of parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, a key negotiator with Hezbollah.

The postponement will give government officials more time to meet with Hezbollah leadership to discuss details of implementing the U.N. resolution, the Lebanese minister said.

That's a different time frame from earlier, when it was postponed indefinitely, but it speaks to the same problem. Berri represents Hezbollah interests, and Hezbollah isn't interested in making themselves obsolete. Instead, they have taken the opportunity to provide the Israelis with an additional 230 reasons to continue operations in Lebanon, although it does follow Israel's successful deployments yesterday to secure points of egress over the Litani for retreating Hezbollah terrorists -- a move Israel should have made weeks ago.

Either Lebanon enforces the UN resolution, or it reveals itself as a puppet of Hezbollah. Either way, the Israelis win, and Nasrallah knows it.

UPDATE: Pajamas Media reports that the Lebanese Cabinet got flummoxed by Israel's agreement to UNSCR 1701:

The cabinet then gave themselves 24 hours. They were hoping that the Israeli Cabinet would oppose UN Resolution 1701. Then they would blame it on the Israelis. But when the Israeli Cabinet agreed they decided to postpone today’s emergency cabinet meeting to avoid further internal clashes.

In sum, as Lebanese we are looking and and suffering under a disgusting match of empty rhetoric bathed in lies and hypocrisies. God Help us for these leaders and politicians.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 13, 2006 10:39 AM

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