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OTHER ITA SITES:
Kofi Annan, The Middle East Repairman; Can His Handiwork Keep The Peace?
Secretary-General Kofi Annan sped to the Middle East with his UN emergency repair kit to do maintenance work on the quick fix the UN implemented between Israel and Hezbollah. Only trouble is, his traveling handiwork doesn�t seem as much like the permanent fix as all the world would like to count on. Even while he was cobbling the warring factions together, his work looked more like duct tape that could unravel as quick as a speeding bullet.
For instance, the dutiful diplomat emerged from his meeting in Lebanon with the powers that may or may not be, maintaining that the nation is sincere in its desire for peace. Why? According to him, Lebanon learned hard lessons from having Israeli bombs drop on it. Such reality therapy seems like a painful way to grasp the obvious. Yet at the same time as he was supposedly throwing ashes of repentance on his forehead, Lebanese President Siniora announced that he had nothing to talk about with Israel as long as the Israeli air and sea blockage remained in effect. It was lifted a few days later. Hooray for Mr. Fixit.
More troubling is the nagging drip, drip, drip that we hear in regard to the Lebanese government�s admission that disarming Hezbollah, a prudent step called for in the UN resolution, would cause a civil war. Did you or did you not just sense that the duct tape might unravel?
Next, the dedicated repairman flew off to meet with Bashar al-Assad, whose favorite form of present bashing is to retail armaments to Hezbollah. Yet Kofi emerged from his quick-fix, Annan-Assad meeting to announce that Mr. Assad understood that the UN resolution called for an end to supplying arms to any element in Lebanon without the approval of the central government. But � drip, drip, drip � al-Assad did not appear with him to announce that the fix is in.
Next, Annan, who now seemed more like a miracle man, hurried off to Tehran, where he met with the belligerent president of the magnificent mullahdom, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Once again, the amazingly capable UN handyman emerged to announce, one, that Ahmadinejad had agreed with the no-no about providing Hezbollah with anymore weapons and, two, that Iran was open to negotiations about its nuclear program. Yet � drip, drip, drip � the head knucklehead did not appear at the press conference when Annan made his seemingly miraculous pronouncements. Instead, he found occasion to remind the trembling world that his nation would not give up its right to the peaceful uses of the A-bomb.
Yet, just as sanctions loomed, the malicious mullahs allowed their chief nuclear negotiator, Alibi Larijani, to say Iran might consider suspension for two months; that is, he provided just enough seeming flexibility to make unrealistic hope spring anew in the vacillating minds of Western negotiators, who are attempting to duke out the nuke issue without raising a glove.
Finally, Annan found a party to the peace who would at least appear in public with him for a photo op: Ehud Olmert, who recently bestrode the world�s stage as Israel�s warrior Hamlet. Yet � drip, drip, drip � while Annan was once again enthusiastic about the prospects for peace through duct tape, Olmert insisted, at the time, that Israel�s air and sea blockades of Lebanon would not be lifted until 5,000 UN peacekeepers were on the ground in Lebanon and he reiterated Israel�s right to, of all things, defend itself. Thankfully, a few days after the confident repairman�s pronouncements, Israel did lift the blockade.
Sorrowfully, Annan�s tape job was also punctuated by the drip, drip, drip of more Israeli and Lebanese deaths due to violations of the ceasefire and the drip, drip, drip due to the persistent realization that none of the two soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah who served as the breakdown that led to war have been released. In another area of the suspect diplomatic basement, there was also the drip, drip, drip of the kidnapped Israeli soldier who has still not been returned by Hamas.
Now, Annan has agreed to help mediate the release of all three soldiers. Let�s hope he can find more in his toolkit than duct tape. He�ll need them to make any progress with the reason-proof twosome of Hez and Ham.
While we gratefully salute whatever fixes Mr. Annan, the repairman, was able to make, we do wish that his urgent handiwork provided evidence of more than the patchwork in which we already hear disappointment�s telltale drip.
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