Saturday, July 29, 2006

President Bush and PM Blair agreed on an international force to be sent to Lebanon and are pressing for a U.N. resolution that aims at halting hostilities. Dismissing the calls for an immediate cease-fire as unrealistic, the two leaders altered their tone regarding the situation and offered their plan as the only viable solution to the current crisis. In line with their earlier accusations to Hezbollah, and its two regional backers, Syria and Iran, the plan aims at interposing an international force between the Hezbollah and Israel and at providing the Lebanese army with the capacity to extend its control to all of the Lebanese areas.
This plan was received with skepticisms by the international media. For some, “vague and misleading references to the causes of terror” do not replace good old-fashioned diplomatic pressures to halt the conflict. Other highlighted that this plan depends on Hezbollah’s approval and "giving up [of] its role as a resistance group and agreeing to focus solely on the political process, a stand it has previously refused to make. Many Middle East experts are doubtful this will happen, and administration officials conceded it is an obstacle”.
Bush and Blair’s understanding of the current crisis as a combination of a humanitarian tragedy coupled with a technical problem of control by the Lebanese army will fail to convince many Lebanese. Seen in conjunction with the difficulties faced by the IDF, some commentators read this British-American change in tone as an attempt to cover the current Israeli defeat. In a boastful note, as-Safir newspaper saw “Washington as covering the Israeli defeats by offering it an international protection”. The solution proposed was contrasted with the more comprehensive plan presented by the Lebanese PM Siniora, a plan endorsed by the Europeans according to al-Mustaqbal newspaper . Only such a plan might receive the support of most parties involved and serve as the basis for a long-lasting solution.


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