In the wake of the Qana, Lebanon attack, the Sunday shows generally featured predictable, counterproductive finger-pointing from U.S., Israeli and Lebanese “leaders.”
But a couple of comments are worth calling attention to.
First is from U.S. Undersecretary of State Nick Burns, from ABC’s This Week:
This is a very sad day for the people of Lebanon. It’s a tragic day.
It points to the fact that we’ve all got to work very, very quickly to put in place a durable cease-fire …. so these types of incidents are not repeated in the future.
“Very, very quickly.” What a tragic joke.
Qana would never had happened if Dubya and Condi chose to work “quickly” on the diplomatic front, instead of deliberately foot-dragging the diplomacy to allow for a longer Israeli military mission.
While Condi was back in the Middle East this past weekend, the foot-dragging strategy was still in effect, according to a Sunday morning report in Israel’s Ha’aretz:
[Condi] Rice will not ask [Israeli PM Ehud] Olmert to end the fighting at this stage, but it is assumed at the Defense Ministry that the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] has 7 to 10 days to continue its operation in Lebanon.
By Wednesday the U.S. would like to gain approval for a new Security Council resolution that will call for an end to hostilities.
Israel sources estimate the U.S. will allow a few more days for mopping up operations by the IDF.
The Bushies thought they could weaken Hezbollah, and improve the standing of their regional allies, by stage managing a limited military campaign.
But the botched Qana strike is scrambling the game plan.
Israel is losing standing, as is the new Bush-friendly Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, while Hezbollah is gaining political strength.
And the Bushies are now “freaked out” (that’s a quote, from Newsweek) because Hezbollah has weathered the Israeli assault.
That’s leading White House officials to come up with a way to get Israel to “cut and bolt” according to one Israeli report (though a seemingly contrary report indicates some in the White House are egging on Israel to expand the war to Syria.)
While the Bushies are ad-libbing as their grand designs fail miserably, Siniora is doggedly continuing to push a grand compromise. From CBS’ Face The Nation:
…we are ready to step in, to find a solution for the Lebanese detainees and for the abducted soldiers.
And at the same time, we said that it’s high time to look into the matter and find a solution. What is the problem? Why this thing has been continuing?
Because Israel is still occupying a part of Lebanon. The Shebaa Farms are still being occupied by Israel. It’s high time to find a solution…
…We’ve said that the Lebanese government is ready to prevail all over the Lebanese territory and to be in charge.
And, at the same time, that no weapons are in Lebanon except that of the Lebanese authority.
And this would be in line with the withdrawal of the Israelis from the Shebaa Farms.
As far as LiberalOasis has seen, Siniora has been the only guy in this whole mess proposing something that involves concessions and risks on his own part.
He wants Israel to withdraw from Shebaa Farms and give up Lebanese prisoners, but he also wants to get the abducted Israelis released and get Hezbollah to disarm.
Granted, disarming Hezbollah serves his own interests in strengthening his central government.
But it’s still a political risk for Siniora to press the issue (especially now that Lebanese support for Hezbollah to keep arms shot up from 58% to 87% this past week), and it’d be a major win for Israel — not to mention the world — to make it happen without causing further carnage and political backlash.
Supposedly it’s possible for Israel to offer concessions as well, but that wasn’t on Condi’s schedule until the end of the week.
We’ll see if the Qana fiasco changes the schedule.