Having listened to Rice today, I would offer my opinion that she knew that Israel would advance across the frontier in massive strength tonight and that she thinks they will largely be on the phase line that will define success for them by the time her talks in Rome are under way. In that way she expects to be "dealing" with the situation from a position of strength and able to dictate terms. (In the event the Israeli major advance did not start last night, July 21st. This is probably related to an Israeli governmental decision process. We will see)
An Israeli "line" on the Litani River would largely shield western Israel from rocket attacks but would do little for places like Metulla and Qiryat Shmona in the east where the Litani comes close to Metulla. A further advance northward will probably be necessary in that area and "Voila!" we are back into approximating the old Israeli "Security Zone.
Rice says she believes that crushing Hizballah will at long last trigger the Middle Eastern version of the post Soviet Union "Velvet Revolution" which she believes is "just around the corner." Naive? You bet.
The Israelis seem to be even more egregious fantasists operating on the basis of imitation of the kid we all remember from the school yard who announced to you that he was going to beat you (Lebanon) up until you you became his friend. In this case there is a further refinement in that the bully (Israel) insists that you have to beat your cousin (Hizballah ) up as proof of your sincerity.
The latest newsroom fantasy insists that the Israelis will not have to occupy south Lebanon for long because the Lebanese Army is going to come down to take over the role of excluding the Hizballah (by force) from the area and that various foreign countries will contribute troops to a force to back up the Lebanese Army in keeping Hizballah fighters out of the area (by force).
If anyone wants to bet any money on either or both of those things happening, I would be interested in discussing terms with you.