How are the neocons reacting to the UN cease-fire resolution?
They’re pushing for the downfall of the Israeli government.
Here’s Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday:
I’m afraid the truth is that a terrorist group launched an attack across an international border a month ago.
And though they have paid some price in their own — in having a lot of stuff destroyed, basically they have not been decisively defeated…
…I’m afraid Iran is probably the winner … Iran has paid no price, zero price, for clear state sponsorship of a terrorist group attacking across an international border.
I think the Olmert government initially will be the loser, and I’d be surprised if it survives.
And here’s Charles Krauthammer, also on Fox:
I think [Olmert] falls soon.
Remember, the party he leads is not really a party. It was cobbled together as a party of [Ariel] Sharon, and Sharon is gone.
It doesn’t have any history. It’s basically a committee of people who are not colleagues, who haven’t shared ideologies … I think it falls apart and we will resume the old politics of left and right, the center having had a catastrophe.
1. Olmert and his centrist party Kadima engaged in the war against Hezbollah that we wanted.
2. War didn’t accomplish what we thought it would. [Again – ed.]
3. But we still want our “new Middle East,” by any means necessary.
4. So let’s blame Olmert, undermine him, and try to get right-wingers in Likud back in power to do our bidding.
Having said that, this does appear to be a poorly constructed cease-fire resolution.
Why? None of the actual root causes of violence are addressed. Neither Israel nor Lebanon get anything.
The resolution punts on the occupation of Shebaa Farms and on the prisoners from both sides.
While the resolution calls for the Lebanese army to replace Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, without any political gains for the Lebanese people, the Lebanese government has less political capital with which to pressure Hezbollah to disarm.
And without disarmament, and without the return of the abducted Israeli soldiers, the Israeli people get nothing from the resolution as well.
Meaning both the Israeli and Lebanese governments may well be weakened, perhaps fatally, by this resolution.
Which could strengthen both Likud and Hezbollah, a recipe for more conflict and instability.
Now, if there is real follow-through on Shebaa Farms and on prisoner releases, the cease-fire is more likely to hold, and both governments would gain political capital.
But because those issues weren’t addressed up front, it’s politically easier for both the Israeli military and Hezbollah to continue operations leading up to, and probably after, the cease-fire deadline.
Which will make diplomatic follow-through harder.
Meanwhile, over at CNN’s Late Edition, Seymour Hersh was talking about his latest New Yorker piece on the neocons in the White House and their agenda these past few weeks:
The State Department always viewed what Israel was going to do, Condi Rice and her colleagues, as a way to … stabilize the Lebanese government and give them a chance … to take control.
The White House … talking about specifically about Cheney’s office, sort of center for the neocons — their view was different.
Israel’s attack on Hezbollah was going to be sort of a model, prototype, that is, a lot of air against a dug-in underground facility. Everything in southern Lebanon that Hezbollah had was underground.
For them it was going to be a test run for the bombing and the attack they really want to do, probably next year if they can. I’m not saying they’ve decided, but they want to go after Iran.
And Iran, of course, the Persians have been dug in since, what, the 11th century….
… This president does not want to leave the White House with that [Iran] problem unsolved, and … you cannot attack Iran as long as Hezbollah has missiles.
You have to get rid of those missiles, a potential deterrent, before you can go after Iran. That’s the way they looked at it in the White House…
… why do you think this president has spent four and a half weeks doing nothing to get an immediate cease-fire, putting no pressure on the Israelis? It’s all part of what they view as sort of a plan for what they want to do next.
In the New Yorker piece, Hersh notes that the “prototype” didn’t go very well, with Hezbollah fighting Israel to an effective draw.
And so, logic would say that this puts a crimp in the Iran plans:
According to Richard Armitage, who served as Deputy Secretary of State in Bush’s first term … Israel’s campaign in Lebanon, which has faced unexpected difficulties and widespread criticism, may, in the end, serve as a warning to the White House about Iran.
“If the most dominant military force in the region — the Israel Defense Forces — can’t pacify a country like Lebanon, with a population of four million, you should think carefully about taking that template to Iran, with strategic depth and a population of seventy million,” Armitage said. “The only thing that the bombing has achieved so far is to unite the population against the Israelis.”…
But we’re not dealing with lovers of logic. Hersh continues:
Nonetheless, some officers serving with the Joint Chiefs of Staff remain deeply concerned that the Administration will have a far more positive assessment of the air campaign than they should, [a] former senior intelligence official said.
“There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this,” he said. “When the smoke clears, they’ll say it was a success, and they’ll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran.”
You can hear the twisted arguments now: since Israel was unable to eliminate Hezbollah by itself, it’s now even more imperative that we take out Iran.