The French ceasefire proposal, according to the Jerusalem Post has the following stipulations:If I were to write a poem concerning France I believe that I would begin it with:
The proposal stresses the need "to create the conditions for a permanent cease-fire and a lasting solution to the current crisis between Israel and Lebanon." It emphasizes the need to end the escalating violence, but also "to address urgently the root causes that have given rise to the current crisis.
The conditions for a permanent cease-fire include a buffer zone stretching from the Blue Line - the UN-demarcated boundary that Israel withdrew behind in 2000 - to the Litani River, which was the northern border of Israel's occupation of Lebanon in 1982.
The buffer zone would be "free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Lebanese armed and security forces and of UN-mandated international forces," the draft says.
These are the preconditions for the deployment of a French-led international force. If the French are unwilling to sweep the Hezbollah out, the only conclusion is that France will await a battlefield result which creates those conditions. In other words, it's a "green light" tricked out as a stoplight. It is effectively a Security Council mandate to sweep out Hezbollah to the Litani River.
Nasrallah can have a ceasefire at this price. It's also a way of saying 'we want peace' but in practice say 'you are authorized to wage war to this limit'.
But consider, if Hezbollah gives up its Southen Lebanon stronghold it becomes vastly weakened with respect to its internal rivals. It loses face with its former constituents. It's a defeat of monumental proportions for Hezbollah. Narallah can of course try to spin it, but that ball will hardly rotate.
Now Nasrallah's own megalomanic rhetoric will work against him. He has raised expectations in the Arab street so that to withdraw voluntarily or be driven ignominiously north of the Litani will be a humiliation. Somebody give him a bottle of whiskey and cocked automatic. Either that or he should resolve to reject the ceasefire and fight on.
"How do I mistrust thee?
Let me count the ways. ..."
I consider Iran to be a client of France and I believe that French business interests have been and still are very concerned with maintaining that relationship. There can be no peace in the ME until regime change is effected in Iran and France would not be happy with any change....
Unless... do you suppose that a deal has been cut that guarantees French primacy in dealing with the Iranian government which will follow the current regime? If so, what has Russia been promised?
And why do I feel as if it's 1885 and 'The Great Game' is being played at fever pitch.