Thursday, August 17, 2006

Israel to halt pullout unless Lebanon army deploys

BEIRUT (Reuters) -
Israel said on Wednesday it would stop withdrawing from south Lebanon unless Lebanese troops moved there within days, as diplomats worked on plans for a stronger U.N. force to bolster the truce with Hizbollah guerrillas.

The Lebanese cabinet will order an immediate army deployment in the south when it meets later in the day, a senior political source said, adding that a 15,000-strong force would start taking up positions south of the Litani River, about 20 km (13 miles) from the Israeli border, on Thursday.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, holding talks in Beirut, urged Lebanon to send the army south rapidly to move alongside U.N. peacekeepers into areas vacated by the Israelis.

"The withdrawal of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) within 10 days is dependent upon the deployment of the Lebanese army," Israel's army chief Dan Halutz told parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, according to a spokesman.

"If the Lebanese army does not move down within a number of days to the south ... the way I see it, we must stop our withdrawal," Halutz said.

The U.N. Security Council last week adopted a resolution calling for a truce. It authorized up to 13,000 well-armed troops to augment the 2,000-strong UNIFIL force now in Lebanon.

The United Nations said on Tuesday it wanted to deploy up to 3,500 new soldiers in south Lebanon within two weeks.

"It seems to me vital that the deployment of the Lebanese army takes place as quickly as possible," Douste-Blazy said after meeting Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh.

Get The Rest Of the Story At Yahoo News.

Well for the most part the shaky ceasefire has held past the first day, which to be honest is longer than I thought it would last.

There have been battles since the ceasefire has been taken into effect, with the loss of life on both sides and both sides claim victory in this.

I am under the opinion that Hezbollah has won a victory of sorts just by surviving the onslaught by the Israeli military, they may have not gained ground or anything of that nature, but they survived and they will use that to their advantage.

They should not let that go to their head though; it is just a matter of time before Hezbollah makes a mistake once again and leave itself open to be attacked.

They have not solved any of the issues that where on the table that led to this military conflict in the first place, and without addressing those problems the violence can only continue.

Hezbollah has openly stated that they will continue to attack the Israeli military as long as they remain in southern Lebanon; Israeli has wanted and has started the slow withdrawal of its forces from those areas below the Litani River.

The problem with this action is that with no credible military force is in place which will keep the people safe and Hezbollah at bay.

Pressure must be brought to bear against Iran and Syria, the main backers of Hezbollah, in order to truly affect that organization and its ability to conduct military operations including rocket attacks which have been a mainstay in the latest fighting.

Israel needs to think about the leadership shown by its leaders in this war and figure out if they are capable enough to protect and defend that country

There are many Israelis who feel that the leadership of the country has not done enough to destroy Hezbollah, now while I can not say for sure because I’m obviously not there on a day to day basis, I do believe that they should not have waited till a ceasefire was about to take place to send in ground troops.

They should have been sent in right away to do the most effective damage to the infrastructure and military capabilities of Hezbollah and to ferret out any rocket launcher sites, now Hezbollah will rearm and Israel will once again have to launch a major attack, only time will tell when this is going to happen.

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