Remember that US/French compromise resolution in the Security Council calling for a ceasefire? The Speaker of Lebanon’s parliament has rejected it. Not a big surprise really, since the Lebanese government includes Hizbollah, who consider any ceasefire that doesn’t include a complete withdrawal by Israeli troops untenable:

BEIRUT, Lebanon Aug 6, 2006 (AP)— The Lebanese parliamentary speaker, a prominent Shiite who has been negotiating on behalf of Hezbollah, rejected the U.S.-French draft U.N. cease-fire resolution on Sunday because it did not include the government’s plan for ending the fighting.

Nabih Berri said Lebanon would not accept any terms that did not include a government plan calling for an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of Israeli troops.

“Lebanon, all of Lebanon, rejects any talks or any draft resolution that does not include the seven-point government framework,” Berri said at a news conference in Beirut.

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora first offered the plan, later adopted by his Cabinet, during the Rome crisis summit July 26.

The seven-point proposal calls for a mutual release of prisoners held by Israeli and Hezbollah and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon. It foresees the Lebanese government taking control of southern Lebanon with the help of an international force.

The UN resolution jointly proposed by the governments of the United States and France does not require Israel to withdraw its troops. I suspect that the French government knew all along the this proposal would be rejected by the Lebanese, but went along with the US sponsored resolution in the interest of demonstrating to the Bush administration that the US proposal, heavily weighted toward Israel as it was, was a diplomatic non-starter.

The central demand of the U.S.-French plan, agreed to after days of difficult negotiations, is “a full cessation of hostilities” under which Hezbollah must stop all attacks, and Israel must stop all offensive attacks. That’s a victory for Israel because its military is not prohibited from defensive operations, a term that can be interpreted broadly.

Defensive operations is code, no doubt, for the continued bombing of bridges, roads and airfields to keep Hizbollah from being resupplied with arms. Of course, it also keeps relief supplies from reaching striken population centers in South Lebanon, where people are likely dying from hunger and disease because no humanitarian relief convoys can reach them. No wonder the Lebanese Speaker of Parliament was so quick to reject it.

Oddly, enough, this may suit the American government’s plans as well, since most of the leading players controlling US policy in the region, with the possible exception of Secretary Rice, would prefer that the war continue. Indeed, Cheney and the neoconservative cabal within and without the Bush administration want that war, currently limited to Lebanon, to spread to Syria, and even Iran. This failure only gives the Cheney/Rumsfeld faction more ammunition to encourage Bush to abandon diplomacy all together.

For their part, the French government gains a public relations victory with its people for having tried to work a deal with the recalcitrant Americans. They can claim they did their best, but were sabotaged by the barbaric American government. The French can also continue to moliify their own immigrant Muslim population by parading this sorry charade of diplomacy before them in which the French government can portray itself as the Good Guy sadly unable to dissuade the Great Satan America and Israel from their evil crusade agaisnt Islam.

The Neocon faction in the Bush White House also gains a victory with the implosion of Secretary Rice’s efforts to achieve a ceasefire, any ceasefire, in Lebanon. A victory they achieved, in large part, because of the limitations they placed on Condi’s ability to be flexible in working for a diplomatic solution. The Neocons can now go to the President and tell him diplomacy and the UN have once again proved ineffectual, and that war is the only option that makes any sense. You know, to bring clarity to the situation.

Only the ordinary Israelis and Lebanese who are fighting and/or dying as a result of the continuation of this inane cataclysm of destruction and human slaughter are the losers. And no one of consequence gives a damn about any of them.

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