Crucial Lebanese cabinet talks on disarming Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon under a UN-brokered ceasefire have been put off.
A truce between Israel and Hezbollah is due to come into force at 0500 GMT.
The postponement, amid reported divisions, seriously complicates the establishment of a stable ceasefire, the BBC's Nick Childs in Beirut says.
Israel's cabinet has backed the truce, but says its forces will not leave until peacekeepers are deployed.
Frankly I don't blame them, and we see Lebanon, after all the caterwalling about this war, delaying or putting off a decision. That's because, at least in my opinion, Lebanon's army simply isn't capable of controlling the space and keeping Hezbollah out. And it certainly isn't capable of disarming Hezbollah.
However, the issue of Hezbollah's disarmament and its military presence in southern Lebanon continues to cause major tensions within the fragile government, our correspondent reports.
That means weeks, not days, before any cease-fire will go into effect, and let's be frank, that works to the benefit of Israel. Hezbollah has declared it won't quit fighting until the last Israeli is out of Lebanon. Israel said it would be glad to accept the cease-fire proposal, but not until a peacekeeping force has been deployed to the area between the Litani River and the Israeli border (and can control the space and Hezbollah). Lebanon, if my guess is correct, hasn't the stomach or ability to do that alone.
With the simple acceptance of the cease-fire (the Israeli cabinet voted 24-0 to accept) they put the ball directly in Lebanon's court. Either step in and take control of your territory and Hezbollah or, rightfully, the fighting continues against a demonstrated threat which has stated openly it intends to keep attacking.
Not that all of that really matters. I'm sure the majority of world opinion will still side with Lebanon (and Hezbollah) and against Israel, even when it is now clearly up to Lebanon to step up, do what it should have been doing to begin with and thereby end this war.
However, the issue of Hezbollah’s disarmament and its military presence in southern Lebanon continues to cause major tensions within the fragile government, our correspondent reports.
That means weeks, not days, before any cease-fire will go into effect, and let’s be frank, that works to the benefit of Israel. Hezbollah has declared it won’t quit fighting until the last Israeli is out of Lebanon. Israel said it would be glad to accept the cease-fire proposal, but not until a peacekeeping force has been deployed to the area between the Litani River and the Israeli border (and can control the space and Hezbollah). Lebanon, if my guess is correct, hasn’t the stomach or ability to do that alone.
You and I made pretty much the same observations, (We even both called it a catch 22.... and yet, what else could one call this?) .... and yet came up with slightly different conclusions as regards to who comes out on top.
I disagree as regards Israel coming out on top with this. I say Hezbollah has won precisely what they were after.
I’m of the view that any situation that leaves Hezbollah and on and entity in the region means that Hezbollah wins. So are they... and thus their cheering, this afternoon, in the world press. Such is, after all, the nature of terrorist campaigns.
That said, you’re quite correct as regards Lebanon’s an ability or willingness to eliminate Hezbollah has a threat alone. Certainly, they have been under United Nations pressure to do so since 1978, and before. They never have.
Israel, for its part will not move out of the region until the UN peacekeeping for shows up. But, the UN peacekeeping forces have a long-documented habit of disappearing as soon as the bullets start flying. Thus, even if they get around to leaving in reaction to improving conditions they will soon deteriorate and Israel will once again be forced into retaking southern Lebanon for lack of anybody else to do the job. My take is that this ceasefire was doomed by the signatories before it started.
And while I have the editor open...
For all of the screams from the white house and from certain quarters in the security council about Hezbollah acting as a state within the state, that is precisely what has been provided for by UN resolution 1701. Thus does the U.N. accomplish exactly what are always has; they’ve made a bad situation worse.
So, taking measure, then...
Hezbollah remain an armed force in the region, (because you know as well as I do nobody is going to enforce that resolution.... As I say, there’s a long string of resolutions going back to the late seventies that nobody has ever bothered to enforce. Why should this be any different? ) On that point alone Hezbollah wins. But now... thanks to the U.N., they also have added legitimacy by means of the implicit and direct recognition written into the language of 1701. .
I suspect this was precisely Hezbollah’s plan in the first place.