Monday, July 24, 2006

Now Condi Wants a Ceasefire

Reuters is reporting this morning that Condoleezza Rice is now saying it is "urgent" that Israel and Lebanon declare a ceasefire:

On a mission to avert full-scale war in the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said there was an urgent need for a ceasefire in southern Lebanon but conditions had to be right.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday as she flew to the region, Rice said her focus would also be to ease the humanitarian crisis after nearly two weeks of fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and Israeli forces.

"It is very important to establish conditions under which a ceasefire can take place. We believe that a ceasefire is urgent. It is important to have conditions that will make it also sustainable," said Rice before a refueling stop in Shannon, Ireland.

So the Bush administration has gone from rejecting the very idea of an immediate ceasefire to calling a ceasefire "urgent." Obviously, the pressure from Saudi Arabia and other governments in the Mideast is getting to the Bushies. But also, I think the White House is getting more and more panicked as the war escalates and threatens to expand beyond Lebanon and Israel. All the grandiose plans for reshaping the Middle East in an American image are long gone now; the chest-beating superpower that preemptively invaded Iraq to show how tough we were and how easily we could bend the world to our command now hasn't a clue how to stuff back the demons into the Pandora's box it opened in March 2003.

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