This is exactly what is at stake: Israel is playing by American rules. The US thought for the past two years that it could do away with Hezbollah’s arms with the sole help of the newly “elected” 14 of March government. When the latter failed – as they also failed in so many other issues – the US went on to plan B, which is to use the Israeli army in order to do so by force. Plan B was supposed to enter into effect in September at the latest according to reliable soures. Hezbollah knew about it and was preparing for the invasion as press reports showed during the last couple of days. Most of the Southern Suburbs were emptied from Hezbollah’s sensitive material and also from most of its population. Likewise for the south, or else you would have had much more killing incured by the Israelis.
The US is still putting into effect the neoconservative plan to restructure the Middle East. As a good background, an exhaustive article was found by a friend of mine (merci stefane), of which i would stress the following (sorry no time to translate):
Les opérations militaires de Tsahal sont supervisées par le département états-unien de la Défense. Celui-ci détermine l’essentiel de la stratégie et le choix des cibles. Le rôle principal est imparti au général Bantz Craddock par ailleurs commandant du South Command. Craddock est un spécialiste des mouvements de blindés, comme il l’a montré durant Tempête du désert et surtout lorsqu’il a commandé les forces terrestres de l’OTAN au Kosovo. C’est un homme de confiance de Donald Rumsfeld, dont il a dirigé l’état-major particulier et pour le compte duquel il a développé le camp de Guantanamo. En novembre prochain, il devrait être nommé commandant de l’European Command et de l’OTAN. À ce titre, il pourrait diriger la force d’interposition que l’OTAN pourrait déployer au Sud-Liban en plus de celles qu’elle a déjà installées en Afghanistan et au Soudan.
Now Israel is in trouble, thinking that it could deal with Lebanon as it dealt with Gaza. Watch how Israeli officials are starting to worry as the US is still not calling for a cease fire (see the reports after the Rome summit). Funny, that Israel needs the US to call for a cease fire. What I presumed happened is that some elements in the Israeli army assured the US that they could take out Hezbollah in a couple of days. Of course this did not happen and the screams of other eminent Israel top ranking army officials calling for restraint got muted.
In any case, the US is still desperate to find a solution that could weaken Hezbollah as much as possible, and so is giving Israel a chance to show its usefulness as a strategic ally. Though the Red light is: don’t go regional folks, we’re still not ready yet. But anything can happen as of now. I think there is a double political track being played. the official one: diplomacy and talks about international force and finding solutions for the Leb/Israeli issue, the unofficial one seems to say: IDF continue striking, maybe amidst the destruction created (because we can’t take them by land), we may weaken them “un tant soit peu”, and thus change the rules of the official track.