CEASEFIRE IN LEBANON….Steve Clemons claims that the French are wholly responsible for brokering Friday’s agreement on a UN-sponsored ceasefire in Lebanon. Here’s how he describes it:
First, during the first UN Resolution that was cobbled together, the French signed on to the U.S. language. While that first resolution favored Israeli interests disproportionately and did not call for an immediate Israeli military withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, it laid the groundwork for a ceasefire and for a deal on the Shebaa Farms.
The French encouraged the Arab League and Lebanon to object to the resolution ? particularly over the failure to call for an immediate Israeli withdrawal. The French then jumped ship and sang in unity with Lebanon and the Arab League ? and then pushed Hezbollah to accept something reasonable between the original US/French position and the later French/Arab League position.
In the end, the French maneuvered American agreement on the ceasefire and Israel’s troop withdrawals ? and left Israel diplomatically cornered.
If John Bolton wants to take credit for any of this, let him ? but it was the French all the way.
I’ll be curious to see if other sources confirm this. Or is this merely the version of events from Steve’s French sources?
In any case, the Israelis are apparently claiming they will cease offensive operations at 7 am on Monday, and Hezbollah says that once the ceasefire takes effect they will “adhere to it without hesitation.” We’ll see.
But ceasefire or no, the real outcome of the war won’t be known for quite some time. Conventional wisdom suggests that Israel didn’t win and Hezbollah didn’t lose, but the fighting is far from over. As Shmuel Rosner puts it, “The impending cease-fire will be the beginning of the real battle ? determining who will be remembered as the victor.” As so often in modern war, public opinion is king.