Thursday, August 10, 2006

# Posted 12:09 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

CAN LEBANON CONTROL HEZBOLLAH? This morning I sought to decipher a lengthy column in the WaPo by Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. Should any of Siniora's lengthy perorations be taken as an indication of willingness -- or more importantly, the ability -- to compromise?

My sad answer is no. Siniora's rhetoric was absolutely uncompromising. He denounced Israel's "savage war" and "criminal actions" without including even an indirect reference to Hezbollah's initial aggression and relentless targeting of Israeli civilians.

Siniora made only one mention of Hezbollah (and none of Syria or Iran). Siniora stated that Hezbollah is represented in his cabinet and supports his seven-point proposal for peace. The plan, however, is almost as uncompromising as Siniora's rhetoric. An Israeli withdrawal must precede the deployment of UN and Lebanese government forces.

Just slightly more promising is the first point of Siniora's proposal, calling for:
The release of Lebanese and Israeli prisoners and detainees through the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Ideally (and this is a stretch), Siniora might persuade Hezbollah to release the kidnapped Israelis first, on the understanding that a greater number of Hezbollah prisoners would be released later on.

Yet ultimately there is very little potential here for a settlement since Siniora doesn't even hint at either an ability or a willingness to disarm Hezbollah. He may desire the demobilization of Hezbollah, yet for as long as he insists that all Israeli concessions come first, it seems prudent to presume that Siniora has nothing to offer Israel at the negotiating table because he cannot force any sort of concessions on Hezbollah.

Sadly, our best hope is that this column represents nothing more than Siniora preaching to his anti-Israel choir (and that behind closed doors he has something to offer.)
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

Why is it always the case that multiple Arab prisoners are traded for a single Israeli hostage?

Where are the devotees of proportionality when those trades take place?
Mr. Siniora compounds his myopia is his lack of reference to Hezbollah as having any part in the destruction of his country by calling them "resistance" rather than "militia". This is how he rationalized not enforcing the UN Resolution. The sad irony is that Hezbollah will not accept defeat by no longer being able to defend their citizens, for in fact, they have no citizens. They care not a whit about the Lebanese being sacrificed because of their incursions which are somehow being defined as "resistance".
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