Hudna? – At Last

Omar20suleiman_art_1 "Tuesday the two sides agreed to a six-month deal. He voiced confidence the latest violence would not hold up the start of the agreement to end constant bloodshed. "Implementation of the truce will begin at 6 a.m. (4 a.m. British time) on Thursday," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to announce an accord. A ceasefire would aim to end rocket and mortar bomb attacks on Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and Israeli raids in the territory. Israel has said it would continue preparations for broad military action should a truce fall apart. A senior Egyptian official was quoted by Egypt’s Middle East News Agency as confirming the Palestinian official’s information. A Hamas source had said announcement of a deal would be made by Egypt. Israel stopped short of confirming the timing of what it said would be an informal arrangement to halt fighting." Reuters


The picture is of Omar Suleiman, the senior Egyptian official who negotiated the truce.

As I have written and said many times a truce of this kind is the only way to begin a process of gradual confidence building while moving forward in what may be very long negotiations.  Such a truce can be extended any number of times.

Let us hope that both sides have the good sense to observe this terms of this opportunity for actual progress.  pl

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10 Responses to Hudna? – At Last

  1. JohnH says:

    “Let us hope that both sides have the sense to observe this opportunity for actual progress.”
    And let us hope that the leaders have the courage to call out those who have a vested interest in continuing the conflict, including elements of the IDF.
    Breaches of the truce are not necessarily evidence of bad faith, unless the leadership shows itself unwilling to point fingers at rogue elements among them.

  2. Taters says:

    Dear Col. Lang,
    When I saw the news, I thought of you immediately. And yes, you have mentioned this numerous times here – and I certainly hope this is a beginning.

  3. zanzibar says:

    What is your opinion about the state of domestic politics in Israel that is causing Olmert to push ahead with a hudna with Hamas and some sort of deal with Syria? Would Likud and Labor buy into it?
    While on the other hand there are stories like this on planned Israeli attacks on Iran (h/t Friday Lunch Club) that keep popping up. I note that you have stated in the past that Israel does not have the long range air assets to sustain a bombing camapaign against hardened Iranian nuclear and military targets.
    What gives?

  4. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    I hope very much that this six month Hudna is the first step on a path to peace, however….
    This strategic truce appears very consistent with the goal of laying the groundwork for a pre-emptive strike against Iran within the next six months. Cheney, after all, only has six months to implement the Wurmser option.
    Assuming that Cheney still intends to execute the Wurmser option, the Hudna, when seen in this light, suggests that the US, not Israel, will strike Iran first. Then Hamas (as well as HA) may very well respond. Israel will launch counterattacks based upon the breach of the truce. As the article states: “Israel has said it would continue preparations for broad military action should a truce fall apart.”
    This then leads to the final step — a massive retaliation against Iran, which is the ultimate desire of the neoconservatives.
    Gareth Porter does an excellent job updating the status of the Wurmser option, which he calls the Cheney Iran plan.
    Also, Zbigniew Brzezinski — who is associated with the Obama camp — recently made a remarkable statement — one where he revealed the ultimate intent of the Likudniks and the neoconservatives. During an interview on Bloomberg television, he noted that any military confrontation between Iran and the US will put the US “into a very destructive conflict from which the US will not extricate itself for many years to come.”
    Yes, a clash of civilizations with the US leading the way is what the Likudniks so deeply desire because they know it is the only way Israel can maintain borders well beyond the 67 lines.
    So Brzezinski’s stance certainly signals to Israel, Cheney, and the neoconservatives that the window of opportunity to strike Iran is limited to six months, assuming Obama wins. The GOI therefore will cut as many deals as possible with “neighbors” before hell breaks loose.
    Isn’t the USS Lincoln deployed in the Persian Gulf? Ah yes, I can hear the neoconservatives now on the television as they show footage of F-18’s leaving the deck of the USS Lincoln headed the Iran. All for the glory of Lincoln.

  5. Jose says:

    Col., I guess someone is monitoring your posts.
    1. The Lebanon situation was settled at least for now by the Arab League.
    2. Hizzbollah and the Israelis are about to exchange prisoners.
    3. The Israelis and Syrians are talking about the Golan via the Turkish government.
    4. The Iraqis are making progress as a nation through Iranian mediation.
    5. Now the Israelis apparently have accepted a “Hudnah” via Egyptian intervention.
    Sort of like your concert without an American Maestro leading the Symphony.
    “You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

  6. Curious says:

    Why do we need the State Dept.? They should just hand over their decision making to this blog.

  7. Mad Dogs says:

    I’m with Sidney, but with a quibble about the order of things.
    Yes, the Likudniks are laying the PR groundwork for a marketing campaign of “See, we can be best buds with our enemies.” with their “truce” with Hamas, their Turkish-mediated negotiations with Syria, their prisoner exchanges with Hezbollah.
    All of this seems most familiar to the many millions of victims of Karl Rove’s PR campaigns for War with Iraq, the GWOT, heck even the last 2 Republican 1000 Year Hegemony campaigns Presidential campaigns.
    Oh, wait. I forgot. Now Karl is “consulting” for a few, good, Likuniks.
    Wonder if the two are connected?
    And to my minor quibble with Sidney:
    I think the Likudniki have been given the “Green Light” by Junya and Deadeye, or at the very least, a wink-wink, nod-nod and no “Red Light”.
    The Likudnik gameplan that seems ascendant now is:
    1. The Little Mutt bombs a few paltry sites in Iran.
    2. The Little Mutt runs home and hides behind the Big Dog.
    3. Iran responds by attacking both the Big Dog and the Little Mutt.
    4. The Big Dog responds by laying wasted to every military/political/governmental site of any significance via mostly an air campaign of the US Air Force and US Navy.
    5. The Little Mutt and Big Dog declare “Mission Accomplished, Again!”
    6. Things go to hell in a handbasket.
    In this scenario, Junya and Deadeye can proclaim: “We wuz hit first, so we hit back in self-defense.”
    And all taking place in the 2-4 months before the November election. Just enough time for the Republicans to harvest some “Pearl Harbor Again!” angst among the US citizery, but not enough time for passions to subside and “We did what?” reason to resurface.
    The problem with that Likudnik/Junya and Deadeye scenario is it does not take into account what Iran would really do if they have smart people (they do), if they’d look to their own best interests first (they would), and if they choose their own time and place for responding (they would).
    If one assumes the Iranians are rational actors with the above qualities and abilities, then here’s a revisited outcome:
    1. The Little Mutt bombs a few paltry sites in Iran.
    2. The Little Mutt runs home and hides behind the Big Dog.
    3. The Iranians get a freebie PR campaign gift of “We wuz hit first.” and milk it for all it is worth.
    4. Iran then keeps the Likudniks (and the rest of the World) guessing, and guessing for days/weeks/months about their response.
    5. Eventually, world opinion hardens to condemn Israel for attacking an “innocent-looking” Iranian victim.
    6. The Little Mutt gains no real military advantage, and loses even more of its already declining political support in the rest of the world.
    7. Iran grows stronger, more respected amongst its allies, and oh yeah, has a Little Mutt-provided ironclad reason for upgrading its self-defense (read as now we really are going to go nuclear).

  8. Actually this timeout dictated by wider events in the former Ottoman Empire including the French Syrian mandate. Oil and nuclear options control this period of foreign policy for all with interests in either.
    No real choice since the whole world now knows that combination of AQ and poor leadership is accelerating US soft and hard power demise. Neither candidate really has answers but hoping for the best of course. Guess where that get’s the US? Nowhere.

  9. praxis says:

    I don’t mean to bring down your enthusiasm, but this is not Hudna (armistice) quite yet. It is Tahdi’eh (cease-fire). If all goes well, Hamas attacks stop, Israel relaxes its economic blockade, then reopens the border-crossings, then reopens (and does not monitor) the Rafah crossing, then we may be on the road toward hudna.
    There is quite a bit of work. I think the Egyptians did very well here and used very skilfully their diplomatic capital with both sides. That’s so much more that we have been able to achieve in 8 years. So hopefully, let’s work at keeping this train to hudna on the right tracks.

  10. Spider Rider says:

    I do not expect it to last, I do not see Hamas as mature enough to honor any agreement, and the Israelis are not committed to peace.
    All part of the larger show, at this point, it seems.
    We’ve been this way, before.

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