(“Sparks”? Not “continuously fuels” or “fans already hard to fan-much-more flames” or “impossibly, gets even more condemnation and outrage from the already incredibly busy world community”?)
At least 56 people, more than half children, were killed Sunday in an Israeli airstrike that crushed a building, the deadliest attack of the campaign against Hezbollah.
Skipping here a lot of talk about cease-fires.
Israel said guerrillas had fired rockets from near the building into northern Israel.
Sounds like the Lebanese side is really working towards a cease-fire, isn’t it.
I feel like The Times has been really good through this whole thing.
The Sunday Times – Focus: Brutal battle for uncertain peace<br/> Ambushed in the Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil, Israeli troops found Hezbollah fighting hard. This special report on the battle and wider war shows why there is no easy end in sight
(I really take issue with the words “brutal” etc attached to this thing, you know. But I won’t get into that now.)
So there’s an account of the fighting in Bint Jbeil…
The battalion commander, Colonel Yaniv Ashor, realised his men would not be able to retreat with their dead and feared the Hezbollah forces would seize the bodies. Three Israelis with severe wounds also needed to be evacuated.
Fun, isn’t it, when you have to add that worry to your list of considerations.
The furious battle and its toll sent shock waves through Tel Aviv and revealed to the wider world that there was going to be no quick ending to this Middle Eastern conflict. Three weeks after Hezbollah ignited the violence by killing eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two others, the Israelis are still struggling to clear the militants and their rockets out of southern Lebanon.
Yesterday Hezbollah remained entrenched in Bint Jbeil; the death toll in Lebanon had reached more than 600, according to the Lebanese authorities, and hundreds of thousands had fled from their homes.
Yet some 80% of the Lebanese people, far from rejecting Hezbollah, were expressing their support for its actions, according to one opinion poll. In Iran radical Islamic students were setting off to join the battle. …
There was little sign that Hezbollah would, as Israel demands, withdraw its fighters and cede control in the south to the Lebanese army. Quite the opposite. Yesterday Hezbollah fired a Khaibar 1 rocket, with four times the range of its usual Katyusha rockets, at the Israeli town of Afula — its deepest attack so far.
Yes, there you go. And it’s not just Israel. The UN did “demand” this as well. But no one ever pays any attention to what the UN says or bothers to remember it later which just proves how useless it is.
WHILE Lebanon burnt last week, western diplomats fiddled in Rome. At a summit in the Italian capital, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, and Margaret Beckett, the foreign secretary, wrangled with the rest of the world over a single word: “immediate”. …
Amid the to-ing and fro-ing Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, made an impassioned plea: “The killing must end. Now! If a quarter of the populations of your countries was fleeing and had in hand only a suitcase with some clothes, what would you say? That’s how Lebanon is now. Are we the sons of a lesser God?“ Skilfully deflating the emotions spurred by Siniora’s words, Rice responded:
“Mr prime minister, we want a ceasefire, we want it to be immediate, we want it for yesterday! “We can leave here saying ‘immediate ceasefire’ but we want to leave here doing something more, building a real process which will bring a true, definitive peace for Lebanon and for this region.”
The summit limply concluded with a communiqué that called for a “determination to work immediately to reach . . . a ceasefire”. This toothless proclamation left Israeli officials crowing that they had effectively been given carte blanche to prosecute their war.
I’m not really sure yet, international-law-wise, how it’s any of our business. But I thought the language of that was interesting.
As reports reached Blair that some of his cabinet colleagues and backbench MPs were voicing concern over the failure to call for an immediate ceasefire, he hastily amended his planned speech [to executives of News Corp] while flying on from Washington to San Francisco.
He inserted a passage making his determination for a lasting solution clear: “We knew Hezbollah were going to be a problem with a licence to run a state within a state complete with their own military force in the south of Lebanon. That’s why we passed resolution 1559 following the expulsion of Syria from Lebanon. We called for the area to be put in the sole control of the Lebanese army (and) for all militias to be disbanded. It never happened; this time it must.”
Yeah. Insert weary comment about British politicians here.
Hezbollah leaders have agreed to join a Lebanese government peace proposal.
The plan does not include a new multinational force favoured by Tony Blair and President George W Bush. Instead, it calls for beefing up the existing, but ineffective, 2,000 member United Nations force already in place in the south.
Yeah I bet. Those guys have done wonders for Hezbollah in the past.
The Sunday Times – If this is the third world war, we’re losing, by Martin Ivens<br/> There are lessons in the cold war for those who fear the rise of Islamo-fascism
It is one thing to posit a titanic struggle for existence with a deadly foe. But how does that explain our dilatory, penny-pinching response? A world war implies the mobilisation of vast resources, of entire societies, to one end. Yet our latter day Roosevelts and Churchills have mobilised if not exactly diddly-squat, hardly the resources that produced the Normandy landings in 1944.