As has been pointed out by several commenters and emailers, there’s quite a bit of positive spin out there about the cease-fire, and it all may turn out to be well-grounded. Lots of people view the fact that a Hezbollah violation of the cease-fire will put them, not us, in the hot seat as an important step forward.
The problem is that the responsibility for evaluating non-compliance lies with Kofi Annan, who is — now here’s a surprise — already waffling. He stated to Israeli television last night that “dismantling Hizbullah is not the direct mandate of the UN,” notwithstanding that pesky UN resolution that was just passed. Just to hammer home the urgency, in Annan’s mind, of the protection of Israelis from Hezbollah, he went on to comment that the deployment of the UN-mandated international force on the border will take “weeks or months” rather than days, as was originally expected.
So we have a situation in which we are expected to rely for the implementation of the resolution on a blatantly biased UN Secretary General (as the Israeli prime minister’s office pointed out, his insistence on morally equating a genocidal aggressor who deliberately targeted our civilian population inside its own border with our defensive response clearly reveals whose side he’s on); UNIFIL, which, despite some big talk, will apparently continue to be toothless (their hoped-for use of mysterious, unspecified “strong measures” appears to exclude actual engagement of weapons-wielding Hezbollah terrorists); and the Lebanese government, which has already agreed to throw that awkward “disarm Hezbollah” clause of the cease-fire agreement into the garbage. The Lebanese Army is hopelessly ill-equipped to overcome Hezbollah resistance, and we shouldn’t be asking them to do so anyway, since Hezbollah is represented in the democratically elected Lebanese government. So much for the disarming of Hezbollah.
There are reasons why Nasrallah is loudly proclaiming the trouncing of his “militia”, the destruction of great swaths of South Lebanon and the new international focus (however short-lived that interest will be) on his own aggressions a “blessed, huge victory“. Essentially, Nasrallah seems to feel that his not being dead is enough to characterize his folly as a victory, and in the historically warped view of the Arab world toward its wars with Israel, it is (see also Nasser’s self-described “victory” over Israel in 1967). But there’s more going on than grandstanding. Nasrallah’s Hezbollah is Iran’s spearhead, and I believe that one of Iran’s objectives is the takeover by Hezbollah of Lebanon as an opening salvo in the sharia-zation of the Middle East. (Hit the democracies first; they’re a soft target.) Hezbollah will apparently continue to be armed by Iran via Syria, and no one will do anything about it — the IDF will not engage the convoys, and the Lebanese army obviously won’t go near them either. Meanwhile, Nasrallah is busy touting Hezbollah as the great humanitarian organization that will reconstruct the shattered lives of the south Lebanese. It remains to be seen whether it will occur to most Lebanese to inquire who was responsible for that devastation, but if the thinking of the Hamas-electing Palestinian majority is anything to go by, I can’t feel too optimistic.