Friday, July 21, 2006
Mideast solution requires 'long hard slog'
A senior American diplomat I talked with yesterday predicted that finding a solution to the Israel-Hezbollah conflict would be a "long hard slog" -- echoing Donald Rumsfeld's infamous words about Iraq.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has already been working with her staff behind the scenes, speaking with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, as well as France and other European countries about a way forward. The key to ending hostilities in a way acceptable to both Israel and the United States will be the cooperation of Syria, one of Hezbollah's major sponsors, and acquiescence by Iran. The United States can't talk to Syria anymore, nor can it speak with Iran, so it will be up to other members of a "diplomatic coalition" to handle that part of the heavy lifting.

The plan will be to give support to Lebanon's government to take control of the country and disarm Hezbollah -- no small task given the enhanced position of authority Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is seeking. In addition, the international community must band together to help rebuild Lebanon's shattered towns, cities and infrastructure. And there will be other aspects to a settlement -- an international force to help keep the peace, a buffer zone along the border with Israel and measures to keep arms out of the hands of Hezbollah fighters.

The diplomatic wheels will really start turning when Rice visits the region -- most likely next week on her way to the ASEAN conference in Kuala Lumpur. Rice may drop off a few diplomats so they can work on a deal while she's in southeast Asia. Then, she'll likely circle back on her return and pick up the negotiations. State Department officials say that Secretary Rice is fully prepared to engage in the sort of intense shuttle diplomacy that Middle East deal-making has demanded, but not to reaffirm the status quo.

The United States is determined to see that any negotiated settlement of this crisis substantially changes the situation on the ground. The White House is content, for the moment, to allow Israel to continue its bombardment in hopes it can further degrade Hezbollah's capabilities. But diplomats say they are very much aware of the rising international criticism of the violence, and every day they reassess how much patience they have for Israel's military campaign.

Meantime, people on both sides of the border continue to suffer.
Posted By John Roberts, CNN Senior Correspondent: 8:03 AM ET
  48 Comments
While it makes great sense that Syria's (as well as all other Arab nations) cooperation is necessary for a long term solution, I am not sure what "acceptable to the United States" really implies? This is not our fight. It needs to be acceptable to the people being physically, mentally and spiritually affected by this war. Common sense tells me that winning the hearts and minds of all the people in the region is really the only long term solution. As history demonstrates time and time again, any imposed solution to this mess will perpetuate the problem.
Posted By Anonymous C Militaru, Worthington, Ohio : 9:24 AM ET
The long hard slog solution to this must also involve significant Israeli concessions including disarmament.

From an Realist international relations perspective, how can Israeli's neighbors trust her if they are all forced to shed all arms while Israel maintains one of the world's most powerful militaries.

Cessation of violence and a true diplomatic solution can only be reached with disarmament of all parties involved.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel Mittleman, Coney Island, NY : 9:28 AM ET
I would hope that any country in talks with Rice or any of this current adminstration, would take in consideration advise and policy these guys have suggested before.
We have no influence anymore. You can't be wrong so much and retain credibility.
Posted By Anonymous Eric, Indinapolis : 9:38 AM ET
It will be difficult for the United States to broker a peace agreement between Hezbollah and Israel as long as Israel receives a green light from us to continue this disproportionate aggression. I think it improbable to realize peace in the Middle East as long as our policies remain the same and we continue to make the same old mistakes. Oh well, as long as we can make a profit in arms and oil.
Posted By Anonymous Dennis R, Scottsdale AZ : 9:41 AM ET
There's been conflict in the region for thousands of years. Does anyone believe there is likely to be a turning point in the situation anytime soon?

I do not believe a long-term solution will ever be found for peace and stability in the region.
Posted By Anonymous Jon, Rochester, New York : 10:13 AM ET
Instead of focusing on one angle of the story (the Lebanese-American "tourists" attempting to discredit the State Dept.) why not show interviews with Lebanese or Lebanese-Americans who are not in favor of the grip Hezbollah has on their country? You're letting those impatient tourists editorialize and the Hezbollah "representatives" editorialize, why not let anti-terror voices get their say on camera?

CNN is quick to show disgruntled Americans, but God forbid you should put terrorists under that same criticism. Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 10:21 AM ET
As the saying goes, "It's going to get worse before it gets better." Sad but true. It doesn't have to be this way, but sometimes it's the only way. Thank you for always doing a great job, John.
Posted By Anonymous Beth, Edmonds, WA : 10:23 AM ET
I agree that finding a solution to the Israel-Hezbollah conflict will be difficult. Iran, Syria and Hezbollah all see the destruction of Israel as a common goal. As long as they are working as an alliance, diplomats will have a hard time making any progress. Something would have to happen to break the alliance and help these countries to see an advantage in the peace process and not fighting Israel anymore. Sadly, peace looks unlikely to happen in the near future. Also, I'm afraid the US is going to get involved because yesterday there were news reports that Hezbollah was now blocking the roads and not allowing people to travel north. If Hezbollah isn't letting people out of southern Lebanon and if the US Marines are going to southern Lebanon to get American citizens out of there, well I suspect the US may be into the fighting shortly. I hope the US does not have to do that---but I'm afraid it might happen.
Posted By Anonymous Jean, Chicago, IL : 10:25 AM ET
I've been following the MidEast conflict very closely and regardless of who's side you are on, I have a real issue with the White House's position to keep out of it and let Israel continue to degrade Hezbollah. These few politician making decisions yet they are messing with people's lives. Ultimately the people are suffering on both sides.
Posted By Anonymous Mina, Ashburn VA : 10:26 AM ET
If we had the good sense to stop backing Isreal, this wouldn't be a "long hard slog". Why are we in Isreal's corner? Why did we take land from the Palestinians after WWII? Why have we allowed Jewish settlements to continue eroding the land that the Palestenians have? Weren't they the only ones to lose land after WWII?...AND THEY WEREN'T EVEN INVOLVED IN WWII. I don't blame the Palestenians for fighting back in any way that they can. Its there only recourse.... and here's something to chew on, if the tables were turned, and we were a small christian nation in what is now Isreal, do you think a large jewish super power would have our back?...Hell no they wouldn't.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Highlands, NC : 10:32 AM ET
Once again, CNN is taking the side against democracy and being pro-terrorist by siding against Israel.

That is WHY I, who once watched CNN, doesn't anymore. Fox News Channel, on Israel, is much better than CNN, while MSNBC is better than both Fox News Channel and CNN any day, whatsoever.

Until CNN changes its views and philosophy, I will not watch CNN. Clearly, I have been able to get others to follow my lead.
Posted By Anonymous Noam N. Kogen, New York, NY : 10:33 AM ET
Currently Washington has only one answer for political turmoil: wage war. How can we not tell Israel to show restraint? Innocent Lebonese civilians are dying. Our callousness toward foreigners (unavoidable collateral damage) only plants the seeds for future terrorists. Even our stauchest allies often say they hate Bush. Witnessing American carte blanche with the Israelis, will the Iranians and N. Koreans willingly give up their nuclear ambitions to protect themselves? What do they have to lose? We are shooting ourselves in the foot and refusing to admit it.
Posted By Anonymous Jim Peters, Sagamore Hills, OH : 10:34 AM ET
Of course any type of solution to this conflict will be a 'long hard slog'. Nothing seems to come easily to the Middle East, especially peace. Throw religious tensions that have been brewing for decades, and you're left with violence that will not solve any of the problems theyre looking to correct.

I do have to say, though, that at least the U.S. isn't criticizing Israeli violence. It's not that I agree with the killing of civilians, because I don't, but that would be so incredibly hypocritical of the U.S. with all the meaningless death occuring every day in Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Emma Russell, Downingtown, PA : 10:53 AM ET
I don't think the US gov't is doing all they can to stop the war. They have come right out and say that they are supporting Israel. How can you stop a war when you believe that war is the answer? It's so hyprocritical, Bush saying "yeah we're doing all we can to call a ceasefire" and then goes and say "we support the Israeli they are doing the right thing". All these congressman saying they support the war isn't helping in finding a solution at all. What really sicken me is Hillary Clinton, saying she is supporting this war. Supporting a country who is killing so many civillian is wrong, soldiers dies in war not children and entire family of 10. All the American is doing is fueling Israel to keep the war going. Just like a dog, the American is petting the Israeli telling them "good boy! good boy! that's my boy!"
Posted By Anonymous Angela, Seattle : 10:59 AM ET
It is not disproportionate agression at all. It is not enough.

The West needs to realize that we are dealing with demonic creatures. Sooner or later we need to send them a very significant powerful message, ala Harry Truman.

Israel is not doing this at all.

This war is prissy imo.
Posted By Anonymous Amsterdam, Newark, NJ : 11:04 AM ET
I'm glad to hear that Rice is talking to other neighboring countries to try to help negotiate an end to this violence from both sides. I get really irritated when I hear reports that the people of Lebanon are starting to blame the United States for letting the violence continue. This should be a group effort of all countries and the U.S. forces should not be a part of the border buffer patrol resolution.
Posted By Anonymous Cathy, Minneapolis, Minnesota : 11:09 AM ET
Hi John,
International involvement must come, in my opinion..At this point every single option from A to Z should be used..Even if solutions that were tried over and over, year after year failed, it doesn't mean that they will fail now..try, try again..Thanks for your reporting..Take care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 11:10 AM ET
Everyone can comment , give their opinion or chat about the current problem, but no one better than the people living it day by day can tell you what it is like. What u said Mr.Roberts at the end of ur article is the real thing, people are SUFFERING and no one seems to care trully to put an end to this. Why do children have to pay for the mistakes of the grown ups. We are living in terror and fear 24/24. I don't care how this is going to end but it has to end quickly. Thank you for the great job all CNN teams are doing on the field. You are our window to the world.
Posted By Anonymous Rita , Beirut. Lebanon : 11:19 AM ET
Diplomacy will never work for the long term though it may bring about an interim solution. The real trouble is that both of the cultures involved in this conflict live by the creed "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth". Maybe when they are both blind an toothless we will see improvement.
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, Odenton MD : 11:21 AM ET
Israel is TIRED. They are so tired. They're "fed-up". Do you blame them. Why is it that when terrorists bomb Israel neither the U.N. nor the world says anything, yet, when Israel fires one bullet.Everyone, including the U.N. tell Israel to "MAINTAIN PEACE".
They are TIRED, TIRED, TIRED. P.S.
I'd rather have GOD on my side....
Posted By Anonymous J BIGLEY Seville, Ohio : 11:31 AM ET
While I do agree that the loss of life is a tragedy for Jew and Arab alike. I find it ironic that what is getting lost here is that Israel did not start this fight. Hamas kidnapped the first soldier and Hezbollah the other two. What both hoped for is that Israel would trade 3 likely dead soldiers for 100's of terrorists in prision. Neither side believes in negotiation, its all or nothing to them. Their way. I also find it ironic that now the Lebanese government says it will send in its army to defend the country. Where were they when this all started. Get real people, WW-III has already started, and what your seeing is just another battle.
Posted By Anonymous Howard, Chicago, IL : 11:36 AM ET
No one, especially America, should sit on the sidelines and let Israel and Lebanon "fight it out". INNOCENT people are DYING. Israeli bombs are killing children. America always sides with Israel! I am not saying that EITHER side is right or wrong, here. But, when you see a couple dozen casualties in Isreal and you see HUNDREDS of casualties in Lebanon, especially the numbers of DEAD CHIDREN, it is apparent that Israel does NOT care WHO their bombs fall on. Israel is killing children because 2 of their soldiers are held captive by their 'enemy'. Doesn't anyone see anything WRONG with that picture??
Posted By Anonymous Sylvia, Memphis, TN : 11:40 AM ET
This is not war. Nor is what is going on in Iraq. War is when two agrieved parties send there best to the battle field to kill each other. One side is victorious when he has killed his opponent on the battlefield and inflicted enough damage and pain upon the civilian population to break the will of that nation to continue fighting. We all keep hearing about the innocent civilians - news flash - the civilians are the ones who send there sons to fight, who lend support and comfort and resources to their sons and their sons comrads.

As all civilized people seek to avoid the pain and damage caused by war, we are loath to engage in it.

In summary, there have been a number of skirmishes in the middle east, but a war there, we have not seen in our lifetimes.
Posted By Anonymous Ben Magoun, Naples,Florida : 11:46 AM ET
As Rice goes to ASEAN the circle widens. Getting over the religious and nationalistic issues, when do we deal with the reality of China's need for OIL and how it influences the global conflict. Go country by country around the world and analyze how all pipelines are being rerouted to Hu as he fills his treasury and denies religious freedom but uses religious zealots to his advantage.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 11:47 AM ET
I do not think it is as easy as to stop backing Israel. Israel left Lebanon, they left the Gaza Strip. Since they have left Lebanon Hezbollah has still been launching rockets into Israel. What is a good response? Pack up and leave? If the US does not back Israel do they back Hezbollah? A recognized international terrorist organization? If we walk out of the region then many more innocent people will die. I am curious where the interviews with Lebanese who are against Hezbollah are. They are not being given a voice at all, and could bring an interesting perspective to the argument.

When is enough enough? Should Israel just be disolved and then everything will be fine? What about all of the innocent Israelis (not just Jews) who have died in this conflict? Should their deaths go unpunished? If one rocket landed on our soil we would call for the blood of every single person related to that attack. There would be no call for an equal response. Why should we expect the same of another nation?
Posted By Anonymous Jared, Albany, NY : 11:48 AM ET
How long must the innocent suffer before the world and the US intervene on their behalf?
Posted By Anonymous Melissa, Winston Salem NC : 11:51 AM ET
Israel already has gone through a capture of soldiers in 2000 and a prisoner trade in 2004. One can only assume that, this time, Israel didn't see any advantage to going that route again. Too bad Hezbollah didn't get the memo.

The Lebanese must be willing to accept an armed 3rd party in the South. Likewise, Lebanon, Syria, and Israel need to agree on Sheeba Farms, so as to remove one more reason to fight.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Vernal, UT : 11:54 AM ET
Israel has every right to defend itself especially when Hezbollah has called for nothing short of its anhilation. The Lebanese are in bed with Hezbollah as are all Shiite Muslims.
Posted By Anonymous ASheppard, Houston, Texas : 12:03 PM ET
Isn't Israel just as warranted invading Lebanon as we are in Iraq? It would seem that Lebanon is more of a threat to Israel than Iraq was to us. I�m sure that Israel can use the same tired out rhetoric of having God on it�s side.
Posted By Anonymous Todd French, Chatfield Minnesota : 12:05 PM ET
Views on the Israeli-Palestine conflict go back to the first wave of immigrants in 1917. But Iran and Iraq were not enemies of the US then. Instead, for decades they were weaned on deceit, meddling and double-dealing that the populace today has nothing but hatred or mistrust for the US. Being a strong advocate for Israel, the US role was relatively simple in the past. Today,the parallel problem of Iraq and Iran..primarily a US creation will now gain critical mass and define the Israeli conflict. It already has. Israel will pay a price for its friendship by becoming the lightening rod for anti-US sentiment and terrorism rather than the reverse where America defends it through policy and aid. Israel's right to exist and Palestine's right to its own state is distorted by the prism of personal injury and compounded by America's myopia, bloodlust and terrible leadership.
Posted By Anonymous J. Sang, Canada : 12:18 PM ET
It seems no end to the conflict in Middle East. No one seems to have the right solution to all this. It is a religious issue that must be address in such a way. Rice will do what she can, but will that be enough? As the war continues to slide further into chaos, we must stand with Israel to defeat the enemy. It seems the lines have already been drawn.
Posted By Anonymous Ed Gonzales, Fort Wayne, IN : 12:26 PM ET
Christian,Jews,Muslums...religions that are supposed to promote love, sharing, caring, and acceptance. So many gods, so little peace. Imagine.
Posted By Anonymous judy roycroft, marion, oh : 12:32 PM ET
I am tired of the Bush Adminstration's one sided policy in the Middle East. The people of Lebanon are the true victims here and the President is doing absolutely nothing to help them. It is high time that he tells Israel to order a a cease fire and make monetary compensation.

Israel needs coordinate with the government of Lebanon and jointly go after Hezbolla (sp) as a team. This is what they should have done in the first place.

President Bush take off the blinder that you have a extremely annoying habit of wearing and get a cure for your tunnel vision. There is more to this story than meets the eyes.
Posted By Anonymous Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA : 12:38 PM ET
When does the cost in human lives become great enough to overcome the "priciple" of not talking to countries that are run contrary to the way we would desire?
Posted By Anonymous GT Manchester NH : 1:04 PM ET
Thank you for the invitation but not a nickle of mine will be used to reconstruct the damages done by Israel in Lebanon with the approval of the US government. All the damages should be paid by those colluders
Posted By Anonymous Don Chapman, : 1:44 PM ET
I think it is hypocritical for people to denounce Israel for the course of action they have undertaken. Imagine if the U.S. was under the same constant threat from Canada and Mexico for the past 60 years. These same people would be demanding our government wipe these countries off the map. I don't have a clue what the solution to the current situation is, but I do believe that a nation has the right to defend itself using every means at it's disposal when it's citizens are threatened.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Misawa Air Base, Japan : 2:57 PM ET
Why do we keep hearing about"UN Resolution 1559 and never hear of the numerous UN Resolutions that Israel has totally ignored for many years: UN Resolution 194, 238, Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Covention, prohibiting collective punishment, Article 48 forbidding military action against civilian populations and infrastructure, also some of the other 69, at last count in 2002 regarding occupation, settlements , and targeted assassinations that kill innocent civilians?
Posted By Anonymous Wlma Jones, Valdese, N.C. : 3:03 PM ET
Condi is no Henry Kissenger. She is better suited for a role as an advisor and may have peaked in her previous job.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Boyd Tampa Fla : 3:13 PM ET
Mr. Bigley stated: "Why is it that when terrorists bomb Israel neither Everyone, including the U.N. tell Israel to "MAINTAIN PEACE".
They are TIRED, TIRED, TIRED. P.S.
I'd rather have GOD on my side...."

That is precisely the problem. Both sides believe that God is on their side and neither is looking deeply in to the tenets of their religions, both of which also preach acceptance.
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, Odenton MD : 3:52 PM ET
People talk about the outrage of the 2 captured soldiers, but has the World forgotten about the thousands of innocent Lebanese citizens that languish in Israeli prisons without a trial ? Why hasen't most powerful country in the World called for their release as well.
Posted By Anonymous NIGEL BRISTOL UK : 4:12 PM ET
Speaking from an outsider's view, I think a real solution will have to involve a formal apology with reparations from Israel to the Palestinians for taking of the land. And the Palestinians will have to accept the fact that Israel is here to stay. Therefore, the land should be divided...somehow...so that both sides can coexist. And, somehow, the Palestinians will have to be provided with something more than poverty to lose if they go around blowing themselves up.
Posted By Anonymous Thomas Lee, New York, NY : 4:13 PM ET
NAOM FROM NY........at what point did CNN side against Israel? Whats wrong with you people?Just because they show footage of people in Beirut and their side of the story does not mean they are siding against Israel.I have seen plenty of footage of Israelis.A free country shows both sides of the story.You know dam right well Israel's military might is far superiour to Hezbollah's and the outcome of this war has been pre-determined.So dont be selfish Naom.
Posted By Anonymous anne ,boston,ma : 5:52 PM ET
If President Harry Truman were alive today,and witnessed the oppression that has poured out of Israel towards it's neighbors by use of military might and Jewish washington lobbyists the past 58 years,I can guarantee you that he would have heeded General Marshalls advice and NEVER signed the document recognizing Israel as a state.
Posted By Anonymous Wm. Taylor Columbus,Ohio : 3:23 PM ET
By the time the US will stand up and ask Israel to stop, most of Lebanon will be destroyed and for what..... absolutely nothing. and who will pay for the reconstruction, all Lebanese and lebanese only, not Israel, Not The US nor the two most coward countries they would love to fight, Syria and Iran.
Posted By Anonymous Anthony, Montreal, Quebec : 2:18 PM ET
Anderson
It seems to me that instead of talking cease fire the government should be talking to Israel about bringing troops in from all nations to show hezllobah they don't rule and terrorism will not be tolerated. Group effort of ending terrorism and revealing consequences of what will happen when the law is broken.
Posted By Anonymous Rosemary Walnut, CA : 2:18 PM ET
Why do we need a new cease fire? We already have one that is being moderated by the UN but still the fighting goes on.
What good does a new cease fire accomplish when only one side will stop fighting until it is pushed too far again.
Posted By Anonymous Ken Polakoski, Venice, Florida : 1:18 PM ET
The Hatfields and McCoys are at it again. America doesn't have the respect or leadership needed to make a difference. STAY OUT!
Posted By Anonymous Jerry Romero/Denver, CO : 2:26 PM ET
We need to get the facts straight...Hezbollah was founded in the first place for means of military retaliation against the 1982 Israeli occupation of Lebanon. During 1978 Israel maliciously bombed Lebanon in hopes of eradicating Palestinian militants who were refugees. It seems that the international community and particularly the United States has a tacit consensus with the Israelis and their vile dictation of this conflict. Oh by the way, isn't it a known fact that Israel has 9,000 Lebanese detainees that were acquired since 1982. The Israelis MUST give monetary reimbursement to Lebanon, the former Paris of the Middle East. One more thing, everyone blatantly states that Israel has one of the "most powerful militaries in the world", obviously so if your best friend is the United States and your government is engulfed in corruption.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa, Stafford VA : 2:39 PM ET
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