The Rome summit on the future of the Middle East has wrapped up, and it was a bit of a fiasco. Condoleezza Rice is trying to sell Arab nations on her theory of “creative chaos,” in which the blood being shed in the middle east is somehow for the greater good. This is a preposterous claim and everyone knows it, including Rice. But it is the only way to buy more time for Israel to achieve it’s objective.
One problem: its objective is impossible.
Israel has set it’s goal as the eradication of Hezbollah. Even in the best circumstances this goal is impossible to meet, and these have not been the best circumstances. Israel has been caught off guard by the ferocity of Hezbollah’s defense, and especially by their ability to fire rockets deep into Israeli territory. Their “surgical strikes” have seemed to be anything but. So far Israel has killed more than 400 Lebanese, of which only 12 are known to have been members of Hezbollah. All the while the group continues to fire rockets into Israel, showing it has barely been scratched.
Yesterday’s bombing of a UN outpost, whether intentional or not, was a disaster. Kofi Annan is accusing Israel of purposefully attacking at the UN outpost and killing the UN peacekeepers, yet he has offered no logical explanation for why they would do so. I suspect it was simply a mistake, as most of the bombing Israel has conducted in Lebanon has been. It’s clear at this point they have no idea what they’re doing, and the whole debacle has shattered the image of the Israeli military as a precise, unstoppable foe. And this is precisely the reason Israel won’t stop.
If Israel accepts a cease-fire without achieving their (impossible) stated goal of eradicating Hezbollah, it will be a defeat. All they will have accomplished is enraging the world and exposing the weakness of its military.