Dennis B. Ross, former chief Middle East negotiator for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, says the Israeli Cabinet's decision to authorize a widening ground offensive in Lebanon might hasten diplomats at the UN Security Council to come up with a new resolution acceptable to the various parties.
The U.S. and French-led effort to draw up a Mideast cease-fire plan for UN Security Council consideration has fallen far short of the most basic consideration: winning the support of the two combatants.
Haim Malka of the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) argues that Israel's lates war in Lebanon is the product of political inexperience on the part of Israel's current leadership.
Vali R. Nasr, a leading expert on Iran and Shiites, sees the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah as a way for Iran to demonstrate its ability to hold off any Israeli or U.S. military moves and pressure Washington to open wide-ranging normalization talks.
As the fighting between Israel and Lebanon escalates into its third week, each side has its own definition of victory and its own plan for emerging from the crisis. Some experts say Hezbollah already has accomplished its goals, while Israel faces an uphill battle to reassert its military primacy in the region.
This report from Human Rights Watch documents what the organization describes as serious violations of international humanitarian law by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Lebanon between July 12 and July 27, 2006, as well as the July 30 attack in Qana. During this period, the IDF killed an estimated 400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, and that number climbed to over 500 by the time this report went to print.
USIP argues that the environment in Lebanon remains unfavourable for a successful UN peacekeeping effort. USIP believes the peacekeeping force is too limited in capability, and that Israeli and US hopes for a forceful mission are likely to be disappointed unless there is a broader peace process.
In a further sign that a cease-fire may be some way off in the Middle East, Israeli officials say over 200 rockets crashed into Israeli territory Wednesday, even as Israeli forces fought to consolidate a new security zone in southern Lebanon.
This link is to a paper outlining the strategic framework for European assistance to Lebanon, as established before the outbreak of the recent conflict between Israel and Lebanon. The European Union has been a major donor to Lebanon in support of its attempts to build a democracy in the Middle East.
After an Israeli air strike kills nearly sixty civilians in a Lebanese village, Israeli officials call a two-day halt to aerial attacks on Lebanon. But other fighting continues, and efforts to arrange a cease-fire and peacekeeping force fall victim to confusing signals from Washington and other diplomatic players.
Julia Choucair, an expert on Lebanon, says even though many Lebanese people and several Arab governments criticized Hezbollah for instigating the crisis with Israel, the Israeli air attacks, including the killing of many civilians, have worsened the already poor standing of the United States in the Arab world.
Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres says the deaths of nearly sixty Lebanese civilians in an Israeli air strike was a "mistake" of wartime. In a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, he said Israel finds itself in a war with no clear end, and warned that Iran's regional ambitions must be reined in.
Martin S. Indyk, a former top U.S.policymaker on the Middle East, says it would be wrong to invite Iran and Syria, the major backers of Hezbollah, into negotiations to end the current fighting between Hezbollah and Israel.
Israel calls up reservists in preparation for a wider war as U.S., European, and Arab foreign ministers fail to agree on terms for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Meanwhile, the killing continues in Lebanon and northern Israel.
Guy Ben-Ari of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argues in this commentary that Israel has been taken by surprise by the technological capability of Hezbollah in Lebanon. He argues that Hezbollah has proved better armed than Israel expected, and that key elements of Israeli intelligence have exhibited failure.
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