The UN-mandated truce between Israel and Hezbollah holds fast, but huge questions remain about Hezbollah's willingness to cede authority to the Lebanese government and Israel's faith in a UN-backed peacekeeping force.
Lee Feinstein, an expert on U.S. foreign policy and the United Nations, says the current cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel, while a "positive" development, is unlikely to last unless regional powers like Syria and Iran are brought into a dialogue on ways to maintain it.
This link is to Amnesty International’s initial assessment and concerns on the destruction of civilian infrastructure in Lebanon that has taken place during the recent conflict. It is based on first-hand information from a field mission which has visited Lebanon; interviews with dozens of victims of the attacks; official statements and press accounts; discussions with UN, Israeli military and Lebanese government officials; and talks with Israeli and Lebanese non-governmental groups.
France, experiencing a prolonged domestic malaise, is seeking to define itself again with an active role in the Lebanon crisis—one the United States welcomes, in spite of some differences, given Washington's own foreign entanglements.
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.
As Israel and Hezbollah continue to battle it out in Lebanon, each side is vying to win both on the battlefield and in the court of public opinion.
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.
Gerald M. Steinberg, an Israeli expert on military and diplomatic affairs, says behind the stepped-up fight against Hezbollah in Lebanon is the Israeli perception that Hezbollah is a "proxy" for Iran.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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