Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dangleberry Shebang

So, anyway, can the Israelis win? Well, I'd say that they can though it's a hypothetical that requires a large number of things to happen and quite a few not to happen.

If, by their attacks, the Israelis can focus enough foreign attention on the Lebanon to result in a genuine peace enforcement force to be deployed to Lebanon with a mandate to empower the current Lebanese government and block attacks against Israel, then things might just turn outl... well I won't say well, but at least not disastrously.

I say this as somebody who has very, very little confidence in the UN. The point is that I just don't see a better solution.

The problems are many.

First off, the buffer zone currently being proposed is at least 30 miles too shallow to put Israeli residential areas out of range of Hizballah rocketry (though it might make them have to launch their ordnance from less friendly parts of the country).

Second, I'm not sure who would make up this force. The US is almost certainly not trusted enough. The UK doesn't have the manpower. The French might take a role but that isn't enough. Additionally, although the Israeli notion of a NATO force is attractive, I don't know whether such a force would be broad-based enough to not cause serious problems with the Lebanese. Ideally it should include Muslin countries, but then the trust factor flips and questions would no doubt arise over their willingness to move to disarm Hizballah terrorists to the benefit of Israel.

Third, I still don't know whether or not even a muscular UN force (assuming that isn't a contradiction in terms) will be accepted in Lebanon to a degree that will prevent the place splintering.

So there are a load of ifs. But it strikes me as the biggest hope.

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