Diplomatic Pressure: Israel going it alone

The USA is not thrilled with Israel's Security Cabinet decision to OK the IDF request for more rope in the war on Hezbollah. As things stand, the operation is not a full green light and Olmert holds final say on any moves or duration of the IDF campaign should it initiate while Israel awaits news of any diplomatic progress.

During the very long Cabinet meeting which was approved by 9 Ministers, with three abstentions a 30 minute conversation was held with the White House. Tony Snow & State had the following to say (I'll try to link to the video, the Whitehouse website is not updated with today's statements just yet):

Haaretz: [...]
The White House said Wednesday that it opposes Israel's decision to escalate the violence in the Mideast by deciding to order ground troops deeper into Lebanon to attack Hezbollah targets.

Although White House press secretary Tony Snow said the message was for both sides, his remarks came as Israel's Security Cabinet voted to expand its war effort. The criticism was among the strongest the Bush administration has issued against Washington's long-time ally since the fighting began four weeks ago. "We are working hard now to bridge differences between the United States position and some of the positions of our allies," Snow told reporters gathered near President Bush's ranch, where he was vacationing. "We want an end to violence and we do not want escalations."

The United States earlier urged Israel to use the "utmost care" in avoiding civilian casualties after its government decided on Wednesday to expand its ground offensive in Lebanon. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack reiterated the U.S. stand that Israel had a right to defend itself from Hizbollah fighters in southern Lebanon but said the United States was very concerned about the humanitarian situation.  "Israel must take the utmost care in avoiding civilian casualties," McCormack said.

McCormack said the United States, which has been accused of giving Israel a green light to continue attacking Lebanese targets, was working hard at the United Nations to come up with a resolution acceptable to all that would end the fighting. "We want to bring an end to the violence and get the diplomacy on track," said McCormack

Not much talk in those limited quotes about the targeting of Israeli cities with rockets. With a breakdown of the French / American position it is not clear how much of this is politics, and how much is full opposition. The facts remain so far it is not getting done on the diplomacy track and there is a constant erosion of the strong positions taken by the G8 initially in regards to the conflict. The French have sold the US out, caving to Arab pressure, it now remains to be seen how much Israel 'selling' the USA intends to do on Wall Street..

The politics are delicate, but nonetheless it is still a bit disheartening to see the White House have to temper solid principles, strategic goals, and values in the War on Terror to placate World opinion (Well, French led EU / Arab opinion). The current proposals of UNIFIL troops, the embrace by Nasrallah of Lebanese troops deploying in the south (JPOST) spell a diplomatic victory for the bad guys if the chips fall as they are now.

Hezbollah & French GamesFrench Ambassador to the UN Jean-Marc de La Sabliere before a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, August 7, 2006. (Reuters)

With Lebanon's Army consisting of mainly Muslim Shia men, who happen to share Hezbollah's positions it is no wonder Hezbollah is eager to see them line up in the South. As far as Hezbollah is concerned this is convenient cover for them, a sympathetic force that supports them and will allow them to dig in while shielding Hezbollah from Israel & the international community..

Meanwhile Nasrallah warned Arab residents of Haifa to leave the city so he could kill more civilians..

"I have a special message to the Arabs of Haifa, to your martyrs and to your wounded. I call you to leave this city. I hope you do this. … Please leave so we don't shed your blood, which is our blood." The cleric also rejected a proposed international peacekeeping force for the region, saying it was not clear from whom they would be taking orders. "This (the Lebanese army deployment) is the better and more convenient alternative than deployment of international troops. We don't know whose orders they will be taking," he said. [...]

In other words, we can't control an international force, but Lebanon's Army will take orders from us. If this sham passes muster in the UN it will be a disaster for the free world, worse than the status quo that the White House has ADAMANTLY maintained is & will not be acceptable.

I watched during coverage the French Ambassador to the UN break into a hard to hide smile when he announced that the French position had changed in front of the press, he took obvious pleasure in deceiving the USA last week. Nothing with France has changed.

  • Brian

    I think Olmert waited too long.  The U.S. was only willing to supply so much cover. To tell you the truth, I think Olmert has been trying to find a way out of this war since shortly after it started.  This is a face saving way for it to end.  It serves Olmert's purposes – he can appear as though he was chomping a the bit to tear Hizbollah a new one – but was held back by the US. The US can appear to be the hero to the rest of the world by pulling Israel back.  Only time will tell.  But, I do not think there will be any offensive to the Litani.  Unfortunately, these antics (by both administrations – but especially by Olmert) will only fool the public – not Hizbollah, or the leaders of Iran or Syria.   There will be hell to pay for Israel and the US for the weakness displayed in this war.    An American Supporter of Israel. 

  • Carol Herman

    Golda Meir waited too long, as well. Olmert has less rope from the Israelis than he's gotten from the USA.  And, if the Israelis get mad at him they'll kick him OUT.  So it's not as if you can affect Israeli morale right now, by telling them that nasrallah wins.  And, syria is left alone.  It's like watching countries pass the scissors.  And, that's actually gonna end when the Israelis rebuff this.  Including leaving the high grounds of the West Bank. Not that arabs can't imagine "glory."  When what they have should stink of bullshit. On the other hand, when the textbook on military matters gets re-written, it won't need a chapter on how to bow down to the MSM.  And, Halutz is right IF he was really willing to drop daisy cutters.  The place where Israel is messing up is where air cover should have been there, without buying the cana-whoopi.  Cana-worms. Still, this is still progressing.  And, it's not my job to show Olmert how to enter the revolving door.  He wasn't much loved; even though he spent his life in politics.  He became #2, who moved into Sharon's chair only after Sharon's doctors gave Sharon a stroke from which no one has ever recovered.  Bad personal medical decisions. And, for some reason, a weak move against strong politicians.  That Olmert's capitalized on.  But even small mistakes can loom large, if you don't correct them.  And, Olmert's not growing into Arik's shoes.  While all Israelis are paying attention.  Oddly enough, the only one growing, now, politically is Amir Peretz. Life always surprises me.  But then what human can foretell the numbers any given pairs of dice will roll to?  It's enough to know you can add.  And, lose money at the same time. 

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  • al edsallio

    Sorry Folks !!!What a weak sister we have for a president of The USA. There is no ultimate conclusion untill the little monkey gets his due. Thats where it's all heading. I hope this leader of ours has a plan. I doubt it…I support Israel. Good hunting!

  • Hi Brian, I understand what you are saying. For the generation after us when I think of terms of 'only so much cover' or too late I get ancy. This Global Jihad will be with us for a long time, maybe a decade or two or more.. Sometimes hot, sometimes cooler, sometimes exploding as it is right now.

    We better (together) be ready to put a lot more on the line than 3 weeks of cover for anyone - wherever they may be on this issue so long as they are allied in the fight against it  – or we're toast, wherever we may be.

    I hope it's clear that I mean this in no way as criticism of you, quite the opposite! Our enemy makes it plain he's ready to go 58+ years in this and more. We're going to need more staying power if we want to win a few battles, never mind the war!

    That is why I get ill when I hear people talk about cut & run in Iraq. The price is higher than any of your allies would ever want to see by FAR, my heart sinks when I hear of US casualties. Still the course must be stayed imho. Call me crass, but Israel also deserves more than 3.5 weeks and if Olmert is sometimes apparently looking weak, only the more reason for Bush to be even stronger - to carry the load. If this isn't how it goes we're going to lose, whether it is the UK, the USA, Israel, Australia or anywhere else.

    This is the front line, we need to be ready to hold it because there are much worse challenges ahead that will make this pressure look like a day at the beach.

    Sorry about the length, and the obvious frustration in my comment folks. Just so sick of seeing Israel be a pariah in the world, it's been 3000 years like this. We will never capitulate to this filth, these Jihadists & radical Islamists, I expect nothing less from allies or our leaders. Bush will have to buck up, he's been great – there's simply no room for slack, and MOST especially not to the French for whom my distaste is only surpassed by the Jihadists themselves.

    There's breaking news of an imminent attack on UK airliners, a 'crticial threat' – we have to stop this evil in its tracks – it is all connected.

  • Brian

    I agree, the Bush administration should give Israel all the cover it needs – regardless of world opinion (world opinion does not matter).  However, Israel must seize the opportunity and it has not.  As I said before,  the fact that Olmert has dithered and delayed tells me that he is looking for a face-saving way to end the fight.  It did not go as well as he had hoped and he is clearly unwilling to pay the price in casualties that will have to be paid to secure a convincing "victory".  News reports are bearing me out (I've seen reporting that the expanded offensive is delayed, Olmert is worried that Isreal would suffer 200 dead (leaders cannot openly display those worries while fighting an implacable foe) in the expanded offensive, and some members of the government have stated that approving the offensive was just a bargaining ploy).  This war is all about perceptions and the perception is that Israel is weak because it set goals and has steadily backed off those goals.

  • goesh

    We must remember that just very recently, while muslim youth rampaged and burned several thousand cars and terrorized French citizens, said citizens stood by like passive, mute, dumb drooling cattle crying for the police, totally incapable of even resisting the boot of islamic facism descending upon their necks. Expend then no more emotional energy on the French and foolish notions that they are an ally in the war on terrorism. Regretfully, these same muslim youth can destablize France in short order by using homicide vests, AKs and RPGS instead of molotov cocktails and burned cars.

  • if there's a delay it is solely because of US pressure on the diplomacy front – the Army was rolling and ready from before the cabinet decision. It's not casualties that are the stop gap (though all are aware of the painful price this would & already has taken). It's flat out a usa request to not go, that's not an order, but such a request cannot be turned down without a pause of at least a few days, if at all..

  • Gus

    As an American, I say screw world opinion and get on with defeating Hezbollah!  I am afraid our Administration is losing its fortitude in the War Against Islamofacism and I would not expect them to run cover at the UN for much longer.  However, Olmert's government is the real problem here.  They have mishandled this war and taken far too long to secure the northern border.  At this point, you need to be like Sharon in 1973.  Just go for the jugular and damn the world's opinion. 

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