Like Prime Minister John Howard I am pessimistic about the prospects for a durable peace in the Middle East on the basis of the current United Nations Resolution to end fighting tomorrow. The resolution, despite its complexity and length, is vague on the issue of disarming Hezbollah - the key to thwarting Iran's objectives in Lebanon.
The crux of the problem is that Hezbollah sees itself as gaining some sort of 'victory' over Israel in contrast to repeated past Arab failures. It sees itself as having been able able to sustain continued opposition to the military might of Israel. It may be that ordinary Lebanese returning to their shattered homes and a ruined economy may inject a sense of realism into Hezbollah's fantasies but the fear is that for many, hatred of Israel and celebration of this pyrrhic 'victory', fostered by the bearded religious fanatics in Iran, will turn this ceasefire into something only temporary.
This ceasefire will only provide a lasting peace if Hezbollah is disarmed and its military influence in Lebanon nullified. The real danger in the region is Hezbollah’s patron, Iran and specifically the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. Iran seeks nuclear weapons and has repeatedly expressed the view that it will use such weapons on Israel. Their leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a fanatic who would see millions die to further his fanatical brand of Islam. Hezbollah's leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has similar goals - 'If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.' (NY Times, May 23, 2004, p. 15)
Even though he has brought devastation to Lebanon, Nasrallah is a much-admired men. His threats to the Jews parallel those of Hitler in Mein Kampf and he has a reputation for keeping his promises. Israel will see this more clearly than any country and Israel has nuclear weapons that it will use to ensure its survival.
It is in the interests of non-fanatical Arab countries, as well as Israel, to secure a durable peace. Like P.M. Howard I am unsure this UN resolution will do much.