Sunday, August 06, 2006

What will happen now?

UN considers Lebanon truce text Predicting the future is a fool's game,  as everybody knows.  But it is clear that over the next few weeks we will be coming to some critical junctions.

At the moment,  Hezbollah and the Lebanese government do not seem to be prepared to accept a ceasefire,  unless Israel withdraws from Lebanon.  Obviously,  that would not be acceptable to the Israelis.  And the French and anyone else who is prepared to take part in an international force do not see their role as disarming Hezbollah.

But maybe some sort of compromise could be reached with Iran that would allow the violence to cease.  There does not appear to be a mood in Tehran for confrontation.  Their main aim is to keep Hezbollah as a deterrent against Israel and the US.  So perhaps a deal could be reached whereby an international force would take over the areas now controlled by Israel and prevent resupply of rockets to Hezbollah positions,  but would not actively seek to further disarm Hezbollah.  Maybe Hezbollah would get their convicted killer back in exchange for information on the missing airman.

A deal along those lines of course would be far from implementing resolution 1559.  This would have to wait for a longer term deal with Iran,  where they were offered security guarantees in exchange for abandoning nuclear fuel enrichment/ development of nuclear weapons.

It is of course possible that Iran would reject any such deal.  If so,  the future for Lebanon and the region would be bleak.

(Updated 7 Aug)

Update: full text of the draft resolution here.; . A couple more points: mention of Shebaa farms in the draft resolution, but not of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel (not in the Operative Paragraphs). Lebanese government spokesmen are still complaining about the land mines issue, in spite of OP6.


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