Sunday, August 13, 2006

How Long Will This Ceasefire Last?

There are few signs of the U.N. ceasefire that is to take place in 10hrs. and 32 minutes as I write this. By lastest count, Hezbollah has launched at least 230 rockets into Israel. Yesterday a reported 24 Israeli soldiers died in combat in Lebanon. And Israeli military offensives only continue.

Hezbollah, whose militia members only comprise 2,000 to 3,000 soldiers have declared victory in the conflict, and withstood one month of nearly the best that the 500,000 man Israeli army could muster against these terrorists. And Iran stands as the big winner in this conflict, proving that their Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces and Hezbollah fighters could battle Israel to a stalemate. Once Iran develops more longer range missiles and even nuclear weapons, then Iran gets stronger yet.

And Hezbollah now claims it will not allow itself to be disarmed, and Israel claims it will not withdraw from southern Lebanon until both Lebanese security forces and U.N. mandate peacekeepers are both in place, putting off an end to warfare by at least two weeks.

Unfortunately it appears that both Hezbollah and Israel only signed on to a ceasefire that they will both fail to comply with, both loking for wiggle room to seek a military advantage. Likely Hezbollah will only use the ceasefire to rearm and regroup, and warfare will once again break out very soon. This latest war was the result of the failure of the last U.N. peace attempt.

The unfortunate fact is that Iran is now far stronger in the region, with greatly increased clout. And in Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will likely face a critical public, where both the left and right will attack his policies with the war, including his failure to achieve a clearcut military victory. By making Israel look weak in the face of Hezbollah will only help to encourage the next conflict. Iran cannot help but feel emboldened.

Israel's goals from the beginning were to degrade Hezbollah enough that their northern security would improve. But the continued rocket attacks and Hezbollah still standing strong one month later proves that the military effort by Israel didn't achieve as much as was hoped. Olmert was not a military man like Sharon. His former experience was as a mayor. This leaves both Olmert and his centrist political party likely to become a political victim of this war.

The coming ceasefire will likely not hold for very long. There is probably a lot more fighting between Israel and Hezbollah still left before any real peace in the region will hold for very long. If a war solves a region's problems, then at least it proved to have some sad value. But little was achieved so far, so one side or the other will want to achieve more before this fight is over.


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