THE SPINE OCTOBER 15, 2010
Of course, it’s not only Obama’s debacle.
The debacle started when the world’s self-appointed enforcers of what they imagined as peace put the squeeze on Israel as it fought Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. It is true that the fighting was not going as well as it might have for the Jewish state. But by the time everybody was in the panicky spirit to intervene for a truce the Israel Defense Forces had actually turned the tides of battle against the wild and crazy Shi’a militia whose casualties were more Lebanese than Israelis.
The United Nations was the center of the panic, what with the American secretary of state, Condi Rice, playing the role of peacemaker and Tsipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, being the plaintiff for a cease-fire that was not in her country’s interests. Why not? Because cease-fires are not kept in the Arab world. I wrote about the cease-fire phenomenon as the war limped to its close.
The prime minister in Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, had many other things on his mind. A very nice man, he was burdened by accusations of personal caprice and corruption that would impede any politician anywhere from doing his duty. In any case, Security Council resolution 1701 was passed. It stopped the fighting but did not stop the transfer of arms from Syria and Iran to the martyr-terrorists commanded by Hassan Nasrallah who is sane only if you compare him to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself.
Now some four years later Hezbollah is roughly one-third part of the Lebanese government, the military of which has no control over the armed corps of the regime’s various factions. Hezbollah commands more force with and without uniforms than make up Lebanon’s perfume soldiery.
For some time, the Obama administration feigned support for the Sunni center dominated by the Hariri many-billions kleptocracy which allied itself with the mostly Maronite Christians and the Druze. But Christians, including those associated with a neo-fascistic general Michel Aoun, also defected to the Shi’a, as did the congenitally untrustworthy Druze, always ready to make a deal they will break.
But, then, Obama decided he could sway or swirl Syria into the Western camp. He enlisted savvy Senator John Kerry to broker the wish list. But Kerry caught on. Assad was not playing, and maybe even the president now sees reality at least half way of what it is. Will he still try to press his nominee as ambassador to Damascus? I doubt it.
What was, of course, confusing was that Obama was also trying to court Ahmadinejad while saying he was trying to court Assad away from his pal in Tehran. Well, nothing worked. Nothing.
Dr. A’jad has won all the battles. To be sure, time was one of the battlefields. And the president ceded more than a year and a half to the vicious and virulent opposite number in Tehran.
Iran now has three frontiers with Israel. The line with Gaza, patrolled by Hamas. The line with Syria proper. And the line with Lebanon which is not Lebanon at all. But Hezbollah land. These are all unstable fields of battle. Israel may be forced to deal directly with Iran itself.