A new ceasefire resolution is being discussed at the UN. It seems that there is a good chance that this resolution will be voted on tomorrow and will pass. If approved, this ceasefire will prove to be disastrous to Israel as well as to Us interests.
As now proposed, the ceasefire would have Israeli forces withdraw gradually as the Lebanese army reinforced by UN peacekeepers - mostly French troops - take control of south Lebanon. Hizbullah would have to move north of the Litani River. The resolution does not demand the disarming of Hizbullah, as Resolution 1559 demanded, and it does not demand the return of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Lebanon and Hizbullah would be stupid not to accept this ceasefire. The IDF is rightly upset
about this ceasefire. It is a complete defeat, both strategically and tactically, for Israel. As Stratfor pointed out this morning, Israel had just seized the strategically important village of Marjayoun, from where they could move west to the Litani River, north to the Bekaa, or both. Such an operation would envelop Hizbullah in the south, and destroy its base in the Bekaa Valley. It seems that this operation will now be cancelled, and Hizbullah will have decisively won.
It should also be clear what the result of the peacekeepers in South Lebanon will be. Hizbullah will not be disarmed. No matter what kind of arms embargo is placed on Hizbullah, they will rearm with weapons from Syria and Iran. At some point in the not too distant future Hizbullah will once again launch missiles at Israeli cities, and because of the presence of the peacekeeper Israel will be unable to respond. In effect, the peacekeepers will be the protectors of Hizbullah. Any hope that Lebanon would become a normal, stable country is gone. It will have been, in effect, taken over by Hizbullah. Israel's deterrence will have been tremendously eroded, and to regain it they will need to do something truly dramatic - taking out Iran's nuclear program is one such possibility, though this would undoubtedly lead to a much more serious war.
Prime Minister Olmert, Defence Minister Peretz, and IDF Chief of Staff Halutz are the people most responsible for this utter failure. Their passivity and hesitation has made this defeat possible. It should have been clear to them that the US could only protect Israel from the "international community" for so long. It is one of the reasons why IDF doctrine has always been based on a short war with overwhelming firepower. It should also have been clear to them that once they embarked on this war, they had to win. And while Olmert spoke often and passionately about winning, he did nothing to make it happen.
The only hope, at this point, is that Hizbullah and Lebanon behave like their Arab brethren before them and pass up this ceasefire in favor of believing their own bluster. Otherwise, the region and the world will have become a much more dangerous place.