Sunday, July 16, 2006

Gregory from Belgravia Dispatch weighs in on the lack of US diplomatic involvement in Israel over the past few days:

Hezbollah rocket-fire kills 8 Israeli civilians in Haifa, and over 100 Lebanese (mostly civilians as well) are now dead too in the ongoing violence. Olmert is promising a response with "far-reaching consequences" to the Haifa attack. Israeli infantry reserves are reportedly being called up, and there are reports Syrian reserves are as well. It is not unlikely, given the escalating violence, that a major Israeli ground incursion may be in the cards over the coming days, especially if continued application of airpower over the coming days does not serve to prevent further major attacks on the Israeli heartland. Meantime, the U.S. Secretary of State is not traveling to the region, or even, apparently, thinking in serious fashion about the broad parameters of a realistically workable cease-fire, as apparently events don't yet warrant such expenditure of American diplomatic prestige and capital. That's rather interesting, you might say.

Also, an analysis re: why the US is looking to others in this instance. Some key points:
The reasons the U.S. is watching this crisis from the sidelines are many: The Bush administration has been preoccupied with Iraq, it does not have diplomatic ties with the Middle Eastern countries that matter in this escalation, and it has been unwilling to pressure Israel to avoid military response when Tel Aviv's security is threatened. The U.S. position represents a change from earlier days — such as the administration of the first President Bush, who enlisted diplomats like James Baker and Brent Skowcroft to ease tensions — when America brought pressure to bear on all parties, including Israel, to slam the Pandora's box back shut.

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