Monday, August 21, 2006

"Undermining the Ceasefire" or "Give War A Chance"

I'm no legal expert by any means but I'm guessing this is probably a violation of the cease fire as well.

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Israeli warplanes roared over Lebanon's northern Mediterranean coast and along its border with Syria on Monday, after the Lebanese defense minister warned rogue Palestinian rocket teams against attacking Israel and provoking retaliation that could unravel an already shaky cease-fire.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said countries that don't have diplomatic relations with Israel should not be permitted to contribute troops to an international peacekeeping force for southern Lebanon. That would eliminate Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh — among the only countries to have offered front-line troops for the expanded force.

Olmert also ruled out peace talks with Syria as long as it supports "terror organizations." Earlier Monday, a top government official suggested it was time to resume talks with Syria despite its support for Hezbollah.

Remember, this war has already been decided upon and Israel needs any pretext available in order to continue with it. Its real purpose is not yet fulfilled. So, to that end, they are now setting up an impossible standard as a precondition for withdrawal and/or peace negotiations.

First they announce that they simply cannot withdraw until an international force is there to take it's place. Now, as the international force is being assembled, they are finding reasons to deem it unacceptable.

Meanwhile, they are ruling out peace talks with Syria until it renounces, basically, Hezbollah. In this case they are, in essence, asking that all their demands be met before they will negotiate on their demands. This can rightfully be compared to a car dealer who tells you that he cannot negotiate the price of the car with you until you buy it.

This tactic has actually been the way of our world for quite some time now. Very recently, for example, Iran came forward and offered the Bush administration the opportunity to directly negotiate over it's concerns about Iran's nuclear program. What did our leaders do? They rebuffed the offer, setting as a precondition to any negotiation the suspension of Iran's nuclear program. Again, "Buy the car and then we can negotiate the price." Of course these terms were rejected.

That itself wasn't the first time Iran had made such an offer. Shortly after the Iraq war began Iran also came forward, sending Bush a letter, with Switzerland acting as an intermediary, offering to negotiate with the US over the full range of concerns with their regime, including it's support of militant groups, it's nuclear program and it's stance on Israel. They spoke of normalizing relations with the US. Coming on the heels of the Iraq invasion this would have been a great PR coup for the Bush administration, potentially allowing it to claim that its actions are indeed to leading to change in the middle-east. But not even that was good enough. Iran was a member of the mythical "Axis of Evil" and we'd already decided upon war even then. They no time or interest talks that might make military action unnecessary. So, instead of pursuing these talks, which would have seen them at the table with a much more moderate Iranian President than the one they must deal with now, our leaders in their infinite wisdom, rejected the offer outright, choosing instead to poo-poo Switzerland for unpardonable offense of delivering the letter. Per the Washington Post:

But top Bush administration officials, convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, belittled the initiative. Instead, they formally complained to the Swiss ambassador who had sent the fax with a cover letter certifying it as a genuine proposal supported by key power centers in Iran, former administration officials said.

This style of negotiation is designed to fail. With it's failure the war-planners are able to claim they've tried diplomacy and to declare diplomacy a failure (as they believe it always is, they understand only one thing). Just like Iraq before them, there is literally nothing that Syria or Iran could do to satisfy the war-makers and derail their war plans. They're dead set on it.