International Involvement Predicament (4) – The Interim Period
Point of View | 45
What is the Issue?
Israel wishes to synchronize the ceasefire and its withdrawal from Lebanon with the deployment of an effective international force.
However, several dynamics may prevent this synchronization:
Scope of the mandate – The more Israel insists that the mandate of the international force will be extensive, the dimmer are the prospects for the deployment of such a force, and higher is the chance that Israel would remain in Lebanon for an extended period of time (see: International Involvement Predicament (1) – Scope of Mandate).
Comprehensive or partial arrangement – While Israel and the US strive for a comprehensive political arrangement, Hizbullah will support only temporary, local and conditional arrangement that would allow it to continue the struggle against Israel (see: International Involvement Predicament (3) – Finality of Claims?)
Disarmament: now or later? – Insisting on dismantling Hizbullah prior to a resolution of the outstanding issues between Israel and Lebanon contradicts the resistance rationale, and may lead to a deadlock (see: International Involvement Predicament (2) – Inverse Sequence of Actions)
Therefore, it is likely that Israel will not achieve the aforementioned synchronization, and may be forced into ceasefire (1) prior to the deployment of an international force; (2) while maintaining military presence in Lebanon; and (3) while it is exposed to attacks by Hizbullah.
Why is This Important? Why Now?
During the interim period between a ceasefire, the withdrawal of IDF forces and the deployment of an international force, Hizbullah may be able to restore its military abilities, gain legitimacy and even create a reality in which the deployment of the international force will not be feasible and Israel's military and political achievements will be eroded.