May 19/2007

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 16,20-23. Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.

Free Opinions
New Resolutions Looming for Lebanon. By:Walid Choucair May 19/07
Hezbollah Swaps Terror for Parliament, Pluralism in `History'. By David Rosenberg. May 19/07
A war this summer? By Ze'ev Schiff - Haaretz.May 19/07
If Iran and America can talk, surely Lebanese leaders can too-Daily Star. May 19.07
Analysis: Israel drawn into Gaza fighting.Middle East Times. Joshua Brilliant. May 19/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for May 19/05/07
End to Lebanon crisis for pres elections: Hezbollah.Reuters
Aoun: Bishops Are Responsible For Religion Not Politics.Naharnet

Key Security Council Members Begin to Act on International Tribunal-Naharnet
US, UK, France distribute UN draft on Lebanon court.Reuters
Sarkozy Wants to Protect Israel, Lebanon 'at Same Strenght'-Naharnet
Lebanese-German Alleged CIA Kidnap Victim Held for Arson-Naharnet
Yishai told Winograd panel Lebanon War was a success.Jerusalem Post
100-day security plan sought in Lebanon.PRESS TV
Belated storms wreak havoc in Lebanon.Daily Star
Will Lebanon's farmers reap a bitter harvest from trade ...Daily Star
Hoss repeats warning on Chapter 7-based tribunal-Daily Star
Parol nabs smugglers near maritime border with Syria-Daily Star
Israel releases Lebanese captured near Shebaa-Daily Star
Prosecutor closes case against Hajj's wife-Daily Star
New TV trio referred to Press Court-Daily Star
Sfeir speaks out for foreign workers-Daily Star
Sabaa meets with PLO representative in Lebanon-Daily Star
LF announces candidates for Order of Physicians-Daily Star
Russian official says unity government 'only solution to Lebanese deadlock'-Daily Star
Belated storms wreak havoc in Lebanon-Daily Star 
Vast majority of Palestinians 'never finish school'-Daily Star 

U.S., UK, France distribute UN draft on Lebanon court
Thu May 17, 2007 7:54PM EDT
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States, France and Britain circulated a U.N. resolution on Thursday that would unilaterally establish a court to try suspects in the 2005 murder of a former Lebanese prime minister and 22 others. The draft resolution, distributed to the 15 U.N. Security Council members, asks the council to approve an earlier agreement of draft statutes that the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora had signed in November 2006.
Siniora on Monday asked the Security Council to help break the political impasse in Beirut over the creation of the court. But he is opposed by Lebanon's pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud, who warned on Tuesday that the tribunal's creation could lead to violence in Lebanon, which is undergoing its worst political crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. Rafik al-Hariri, a former prime minister, and 22 others were assassinated in a bombing in Beirut on February 14, 2005, the first of a series of killings of anti-Syrian figures. Syria has denied involvement and its Lebanese allies oppose the tribunal in its current form.
France's U.N. ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, said the measure "was aimed at helping the Lebanese find a way out of the current dead end."
He said he hoped the resolution would be adopted by the end of the month.
Western diplomats do not anticipate a veto of the resolution, which invokes Chapter 7 under the U.N. Charter that makes such an international court mandatory.
The draft resolution says the location of such a court would have to be determined at a later date in consultation with Lebanon and subject to another agreement with "the United Nations and whichever state hosts the tribunal. The United Nations had hoped Lebanon would agree on a law establishing the court. But Nabih Berri, the opposition parliamentary speaker, has refused to call a session to ratify the tribunal, even though most legislators support the court.
Lahoud and other opposition leaders loyal to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah say that Siniora's government lacks legitimacy. They resigned en masse in November to protest Siniora's refusal to grant them greater power. Asked if the creation of a tribunal would destabilize Lebanon, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad said earlier in the week: "We understand that there are some risks, some say, with regard to taking action, but we believe that the risks of not taking action are greater."

Sfeir speaks out for foreign workers
Friday, May 18, 2007
Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir on Thursday called on the Lebanese to maintain respectful relationships with employees working in their homes. "They came here to help us assume our responsibilities ... so we should not mistreat them," Sfeir said in a letter read out by Father Abdo Abu Kassam, director of the Catholic Media Center, at a news conference marking National Foreign Workers Day.

If Iran and America can talk, surely Lebanese leaders can too
Friday, May 18, 2007
Editorial- Daily Star
With a highly respected British think tank having warned that Iraq may be close to becoming a "failed state," US-Iranian talks expected to take place later this month could not come too soon. Provided both sides are willing to let the process be a constructive one, even limited engagement has the potential to reduce tensions by reminding the long-time foes that neither has an interest in an unstable Iraq. It would also be useful if the interlocutors were to adopt more realistic stances regarding one another's influence in the wider region: No world power can afford to ignore the Middle East, and no regional heavyweight can accept hegemony imposed from thousands of kilometers away. The sooner Washington and Tehran get sensible about these facts, the sooner they can stop working at cross-purposes.
The mere fact that the two sides have agreed to discuss Iraqi affairs is an ominous indicator of how desperate the situation in that country has become - and of how dire the consequences might be if it continues to deteriorate. It is also, however, an encouraging sign of a shared realization, however belated, that neither will benefit if their hubristic struggle ushers in a period of semi-permanent lawlessness in Iraq. In addition, the talks promise to open the way for a lessening of tensions in other venues squeezed by US-Iranian muscle-flexing, including Lebanon.
Lebanese leaders of all stripes are frequently guilty of taking cues from foreign backers, but too often the examples they follow are confrontational ones. For once, though, they have a rare opportunity to understand and imitate a different sort of interaction. If even the United States and Iran can bring themselves to the table to discuss important matters, surely the parties in Lebanon can do the same.
The people of Lebanon should not need to be threatened with its "becoming another Somalia:" They, after all, saw their land brought even lower by the shortsightedness of their leaders during the 1975-1990 Civil War. But political memories tend to be both short and distorted, and the slippery slope into anarchy never seems to look quite the same. Such is the case at present, since the forces arrayed in the Lebanese arena are divided along what appear to be very different lines from those that prevailed in the early 1970s. No one should take comfort in this fact. Alliances shifted unpredictably before and during Lebanon's last bout of internecine warfare, in large part because domestic political parties allowed themselves to become pawns in larger struggles among outside players. If none of this sounds familiar to people like Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, there will be more trouble ahead.

100-day security plan sought in Lebanon
Fri, 18 May 2007 12:03:37
The 100-day security plan supported by Lebanese trade unions has been vowed by Lebanon's political leaders to be further implemented.
Saadeddin Hariri, the leader of "Future" movement in Lebanon's parliament and a major figure in the March 4th political gamut, in a meeting with Lebanon's Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora termed the plan as a new opportunity to revive Lebanon's trade cycle.
Moreover, the two sides discussed the status quo in Lebanon particularly the recent letter sent to Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary.
Fouad Siniora had earlier sent a letter to the UN Secretary General, seeking the creation of a court on Hariri's case within the framework of the UN's 7th Charter.
"Due to impossibility of holding the assembly of Lebanon's parliament as well as dissidents' request to Nicholas Michelle, the legal advisor to the UN Secretary General, not to verify a Hariri's court plan, the plan has reached an impasse in Lebanon," the letter read.
Meanwhile, Lebanon's President, Emil Lahoud, has expressed his regret over the verification of a court plan by the UN Security Council.

Hezbollah Swaps Terror for Parliament, Pluralism in `History'
By David Rosenberg
May 17 (Bloomberg) -- Is Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement that fought the Israeli army to a standstill, the sharp edge of global Islamic fundamentalism? Or is it a band of religiously moderate and loyal sons of Lebanon dedicated to freeing their country from outside interference?
Augustus Richard Norton inclines to the latter view in his useful yet ultimately unconvincing book, ``Hezbollah: A Short History.''
``Hezbollah, its leaders have promised, is committed to the survival of Lebanon as a diverse, multicultural society, because it is precisely Lebanon's diversity that defines its unique appeal and character,'' writes Norton, a professor at Boston University and former U.S. Army officer who has spent considerable time in Lebanon over the past 30 years.
What political leaders pledge in public and what they believe in private can, of course, be two different things, as most voters know. If Hezbollah is what its severest critics call it -- a terrorist organization answerable to Iran -- it's unlikely that its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, would openly own up to it. However hard Norton tries to document a more benign view of Hezbollah, he fails to create an unequivocal case.
Norton does succeed in showing how Hezbollah has evolved. Founded in the early 1980s, when Lebanon was in the throes of a grisly civil war, Hezbollah had two goals: to resist Israel's occupation of Lebanon and represent Shiite Muslims in domestic politics. At the time, that meant forming a militia and dispatching some of the world's first suicide bombers, rather than mounting petition drives.
Political U-Turn
Re-energized after Nasrallah took control of the group in 1992, Hezbollah solidified its image as a liberation movement representing all Lebanese by fighting Israeli troops until they withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000. During those years, Norton contends, Hezbollah's leaders also concluded that the fundamentalist Islamic state envisioned in its founding charter would never work in religiously divided Lebanon.
Instead, the group began fielding candidates in elections; it today controls 12 seats in Lebanon's 128-member parliament. Except for its probable participation in bombing a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 and a handful of other incidents, Hezbollah has shunned global terrorism, Norton says.
Iranian Subsidies
Norton does a good job of recounting the internal debate and rationale behind Hezbollah's move into electoral politics. Unfortunately, he fails to adequately address the other side of Hezbollah -- its radically Islamic tendencies.
He says next to nothing, for example, about how Iranian subsidies pay for the schools and hospitals that have won Hezbollah so much support (not to mention all the homes, offices and roads rebuilt following last year's Lebanon war).
And he discounts Hezbollah's links with Iran and Syria as nothing more than a tactical mutuality of interests. Yet it stretches credulity to suggest that Iran provides weapons and ``significant subsidies'' -- Norton cites an estimate of $100 million a year -- without getting a say in how and when all this aid is put to use.
Nor does Norton grapple with how Hezbollah can claim a place in democratic politics when it retains a better-equipped armed force than the Lebanese government and unilaterally declares war on other countries, as it effectively did by kidnapping Israeli soldiers and triggering last year's conflict.
Wrong Targets?
As Norton portrays it, Hezbollah is fighting to end domestic corruption and oppression and presents no threat to the outside world. This suggests that U.S. President George W. Bush's ``war on terror'' may be targeting the wrong enemies. Consider the many Mideast groups that have a modus operandi and agendas similar to Hezbollah's: Palestinian group Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq.
Though that interpretation is tantalizing, Norton stops short of drawing any firm conclusions. He ends on a tentative note, voicing hope that Hezbollah will play a ``constructive'' role in Lebanon. One can only hope he's right.
***(David Rosenberg writes for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
To contact the writer of this review: David Rosenberg in Jerusalem at Last Updated: May 17, 2007 01:45 EDT

A war this summer?

By Ze'ev Schiff - Haaretz
With great fanfare, it was announced this week that the Israel Defense Forces was conducting a general command drill. Last week, it held an important war game. One would have to be naive to think the Arab camp is just sitting there and not conducting drills, maneuvers and large-scale training exercises.
The Syrians are talking about a major military exercise that will last more than a week. They say all the preparations must be complete by June 1 in case Israel attacks. While Hezbollah continues to lick its wounds, it is trying to establish new defense lines, rearm and step up training. One of its new approaches is to recruit Shi'ites who belonged to Amal, as well as Sunni volunteers. Hamas is continuing its efforts to build up a semi-regular army in the Gaza Strip. The organization's self-confidence is growing because it sees that Israel cannot stop the barrage of Qassam rockets.
Reactions to the Winograd Committee report also tell us something about the Arabs' military preparations. The Syrians say the report's conclusions will increase Israel's frustration, and one must be wary of frustrated people who seek revenge and see war as an outlet. Radical Arab organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas claim to have found a tactic to prevent Israeli military victories - continue the war of attrition. Moderate Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan are worried about the Israeli government's weakness. A weak government will not be able to make political concessions, and this increases the danger of armed confrontation.
Many people say there will be war this summer. Are the pessimists right? The question that should be asked is whether one of the sides plans to declare war. Apart from Israel, there are four parties - Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas - who must be asked this question. Iran will determine whether Hezbollah launches a new war. Tehran is involved in large-scale military operations in a number of places: Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, but its primary focus is nuclear development. A major war today, initiated by Iran, could endanger its main objectives. For Iran, a steady stream of low-key military action combined with cash flow is preferable. Tehran has ordered Hezbollah to halt its efforts to topple the Lebanese government. Iran also knows that kidnapping more Israeli soldiers will set off a major conflagration.
Hezbollah will not embark on an all-out war if Iran is against it. If it could, Hezbollah would renew its war of attrition, but the organization's freedom of action in Lebanon is limited. Unusual circumstances would be needed for Hezbollah to go to war again today. Another problem is Hamas; Hamas could ignite a war in the Gaza Strip. This organization's military arm is frustrated by the Palestinians' successes. The more serious leaders of Hamas know that a war this summer would be too early to serve their purposes.
In a year from now, the Gaza Strip will pose a greater threat to Israel, especially if the government doesn't come up with better solutions to the conflict. What is happening today to Sderot could happen someday to Ashkelon. It is a mistake to think the IDF has any desire to reoccupy the Gaza Strip today. There is no need to "save" the government from extremist generals. There are greater extremists among the politicians.
The most complex problem is Syria. There is no question that Syria is readying for combat. Again, the question is whether it has plans to initiate a war, or suspects that Israel does. The military emphasis of the Syrian army is on firepower - various kinds of heavy artillery rockets, some of them new models, missiles, and state-of-the-art anti-tank weapons. The Russians have also equipped Syria with sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles. Syria is capable of surprising Israel, mainly through hit-and-run attacks. But it knows there could be a heavy price to pay for a large-scale war, including the fall of the Alawite regime.
A cautious conclusion is that none of the parties today are interested in an all-out war. But war could erupt by mistake. For example, if the other side's intentions are incorrectly assessed, or if a local military campaign veers out of control and sparks a major showdown. For safety's sake, Israel needs to step up its vigilance in the sphere of intelligence, as well as to reinforce IDF troops on the Golan Heights and hone the army's quick-response capabilities.

Analysis: Israel drawn into Gaza fighting
Joshua Brilliant
UPI Israel Correspondent
May 18, 2007
TEL AVIV, Israel -- Israel Thursday launched airstrikes on Hamas militants and sent tanks into the northern tip of the Gaza Strip following continuous rocket attacks on its town of Sderot and neighboring communities.
The air attacks on Hamas headquarters, posts, and vehicles, the tank movements and deployment of artillery near Gaza's border prove that Israel has ended a months-long policy of limiting reactions to the continuous trickle of Palestinian rocket attacks. This does not mean that Israel is seeking a large-scale confrontation.
The army spokesman noted that since Monday evening Palestinians have launched some 80 rockets. Almost all of them landed in Israel. No one was killed but people were wounded and dozens were treated for acute stress. At least 14 rockets hit Israel Thursday. One crashed into a classroom that was empty because studies have been suspended.
The Qassam attacks seemed to be a byproduct of the bloody battle over power, inside Gaza, between the Islamic Hamas and the nationalist Fatah. Hamas, which by and large adhered to last November's ceasefire agreement with Israel, openly violated it.
Hamas said that the attacks marked the 59th anniversary of the Naqba, the "catastrophe" that befell the Palestinians when Israel was established. It was probably trying to demonstrate that despite the internal fighting it has not given up on its main goal of fighting Israel.
Israeli analysts suggested that it was trying to provoke retaliation in order to get the warring factions to stop shooting one another and get them to unite against the Jewish state.
The Qassam attacks effectively compelled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to retaliate.
"Hamas are terrorists, have stayed terrorists," Olmert's media advisor Miri Eisin told United Press International. "Israel was restrained, trying to help the moderate Palestinians even though hundreds of Qassams were fired against us in the last six months alone. A country has to protect its citizens, its sovereignty."
Olmert's government has been sharply criticized for failing to adequately care for the residents of northern Israel who came under Hezbollah Katyusha attacks during last year's Second Lebanon War. On Thursday it sent some 800 residents for a few days' rest and recreation. An Israeli-Russian millionaire rented hotel rooms for hundreds more.
Helicopter gunships hover nearby, occasionally shooting into rocket-launching areas. They did not stop the Qassam attacks but might have disrupted some launchings. The broader picture shows a dangerous situation developing in Gaza since the Second Lebanon War that demonstrated Hezbollah's achievements.
The head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, said in March that Hamas was organizing its forces in four brigades with know-how "most likely from Iran but also from Syria." Guns and anti-tank rockets and tens of tons of explosives were being smuggled into the Gaza Strip.
Hamas is reportedly preparing roadside bombs, fortifications, and tunnels. The buildup reminded Israelis of the work that Hezbollah had done in southern Lebanon from 2000 to 2006. Israel did not intervene and then sustained a barrage of 4,000 rockets. Some Israelis therefore want to strike at Hamas, now, before its gets stronger.
On the other hand an invasion would cost many Israeli and Palestinian lives. Israel would have to police and care for a huge, crowded, impoverished population and fall into the very trap that Hamas was setting up.
The ministers began considering their options last Sunday and are expected to continue next Sunday. Yedioth Ahronoth's defense analyst, Alex Fishman, said that the presentations that the ministers have received show that Israel should not let Gaza become its main front, tying down a considerable part of its military forces.
Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah are the main front and Hamas' role is to "draw Israel into the strip and exhaust it," Fishman wrote.
One of the reasons for the ground forces' shortcomings last year was that units and their commanders were so deeply involved in fighting the intifada, a low-intensity conflict, that they sacrificed preparations for an all-out war.
The deputy defense minister's spokesman, Benny Shahino, told UPI that they realize that a military operation would not solve the problem of the Qassams nor the arms smuggling. A solution requires economic and political measures as well and, "That is not on the agenda."
An operation in which Israel would kill 500 Palestinians and damage 5,000 structures would achieve nothing, he argued. Last year Israel killed 400 Palestinians, but the Qassams kept flying and the arms kept coming.
So at least for the time being Israel went for pinpoint airstrikes. At 2 pm it bombed a Hamas Executive Force base in Gaza, then struck a vehicle that the army said was carrying Hamas terrorists. Al Jazeera TV said that the passengers were senior members of the Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing. Soon thereafter, aircraft struck a Hamas post in Gaza. At 7 pm it hit a squad that launched a Qassam and prepared to launch another. And at 9.30 pm it hit a militant who launched a rocket, the army spokesman said. Seven people were reportedly killed in these attacks.
"We will seek out the rocket launchers, those who launch the rockets, those who make the rockets, those who plan the attacks. We will not allow the terrorists to continue their acts, Eisin said.
A Fatah-Hamas ceasefire agreement has meanwhile lessened their clashes, but not completely. Three Palestinians were killed in Rafah when gunmen opened fire during the funeral of a Hamas militant, Ma'an news reported. TV footage showed mourners running for cover but Palestinian security sources told Ma'an that "large numbers of Hamas gunmen were shooting at the Preventive Security forces in the center of Rafah."
Hamas attacked also a National Security forces base and killed one of its men, Ma'an said.
Palestinian information minister Mustafa Barghouti warned that a collapse of civil order in the Gaza Strip could spell the Palestinian Authority's breakdown.

Yishai told Winograd panel Lebanon War was a success
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai offered no criticism of the government's decision-making during the Second Lebanon War in his testimony before the Winograd Committee. He called its diplomatic achievements "excellent" and its military success "good."
Yishai's testimony was released on Thursday, along with that of Prof. Asa Kasher, the author of the IDF's code of ethics.
Two panel members, Prof. Ruth Gavison and Maj.-Gen. (res.) Menahem Einan, asked Yishai whether he thought the government had failed in its management of the military campaign.
"The prime minister emphasized that it would not be easy and that no one should fool himself into believing otherwise, Yishai responded. "Our diplomatic achievements were excellent and our military achievements were good."
"I thought we could achieve those objectives in the first days of the war without sending in ground forces." Yishai said. "What happened was a change in the public's appraisal of the situation. It could be - and I am not a psychologist - that the feeling that the IDF is omnipotent and that nobody can beat us created very high expectations. And that continued for some time.
"I say with all due certainty: If we had achieved the same goals in the first week or even in the second week, we would have come out of it looking like the champions. Nobody could have denied it. The Katyushas continued to fall for too long and that caused people doubts."
Yishai was a member of the forum of seven war cabinet along with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter.
Yishai devoted a large part of his testimony to explaining his opposition to sending in ground troops.
"The goal was to destroy and reduce Hizbullah as much as possible. But to do this from the air. To attack every village from which Hizbullah fired missiles. I opposed sending soldiers in to take control of buildings, to fight in urban areas and end up having 27, 30 soldiers killed while they [Hizbullah] dig under ground and come up and go down and make a joke out of our soldiers.
"We have no desire to incite the goyim against us or to desecrate God's name. I even suggested that we help rehabilitate Lebanon. But first we had to show the world that you can't play around with Israel. We had to show them, excuse me for saying, that we are a little bit crazy. That if there is no quiet here, there will be no quiet in Lebanon."

New Resolutions Looming for Lebanon
Walid Choucair - Al-Hayat - 18/05/07//
One of the targets of US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs David Welch's visit to Beirut during two days of meetings was to reassure the Lebanese who are not on good terms with Syria and Iran, saying that they did not need to be wary of Washington's talks with Damascus launched by Condoleezza Rice in Sharm al-Sheikh earlier this month, or about the talks with Tehran on the level of experts and ambassadors who would meet soon in Baghdad.
Welch wanted to tell the Lebanese that his country has seriously given up that rule which they are afraid that it might readopt; making concessions for Syria in Lebanon and accepting its influence in return for Syria's favors on the regional level. He came to prove that the US policy toward Lebanon has changed since 2004, something which goes in opposite direction to that rule for which Lebanon has paid dearly during some phases of the Syrian administration of Lebanon's internal affairs, especially in the last few years of the Syrian presence, in return for the great benefits that the Lebanese have reaped in view of the Syrian support in driving the Israeli occupation out of their territory since the 1980s and until 2000.
The US has realized that its credibility was in doubt due to the failure of its policies since it fully submitted to, and covered up, the Israeli policy which cancelled the Palestinians, and then its invasion of Iraq. This is what drives the US each time it holds talks with Damascus and Tehran to reassure the Lebanese that it would not make settlements that would infringe on Lebanon as was the case before.
But in addition to reassuring the Lebanese, Welch most probably wanted the Syrian and Iranian officials to be wary of his visit to Beirut. The two countries, who have managed to undermine the US policy in both Iraq and Palestine, also managed to seize Lebanon by the neck. The only difference is that Tehran and Damascus managed to join the US in spreading chaos in Iraq, and setting the stage for disorder in Palestine as heavy clashes renewed in Gaza. In Lebanon, the two countries managed to stand up against the failed attack last summer Washington carried out during the Israeli war on Lebanon and Hezbollah. They then put the country in a state of political and economic chaos as a preliminary step to control its decision making.
The other face of Welch's efforts to reassure the Lebanese that his country would not hand Lebanon down to Syria one more time is that talks between Washington and Damascus would continue, as well as with Iran. Although Washington hopes these talks with the two countries about Iraq would result in more calm in Lebanon, this would be far from real.
Welch's assertions to those with whom he met that the UN forces in south Lebanon would not pull out in case of attacks assumed that Washington had learned the lesson from Israel's failed war Hezbollah last summer, and that it no longer wanted another war in Lebanon. That is to say that it would count on the international synergies in the Security Council, as is the case now with regard to the establishment of an international court to try those accused in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, instead of adopting unilateralism and reckless force. Small as it is, Lebanon has been since 2004 a laboratory for pluralism as an alternative to the catastrophic unilateralism.
If this assumption is true, one can smell a new Security Council resolution, not only regarding the establishment of the court, but also concerning the possibility that Damascus and Tehran might attempt to create vacuum in Lebanon through blocking the road to presidential elections, which is liable to cause as much chaos as is in Iraq and as is being cooked for Palestine. That means that the possibility that the Lebanese situation would be further internationally heightened is very likely after Welch's visit, especially if any enfeeblement to the situation in Lebanon has been linked to putting into effect the threats made against the UNIFIL forces