Rice Cancels Remainder of Middle East Mission genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Condi Rice

On the heels of an errant bombing in Lebanon that is believed to have killed in excess of 50 civilians, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has decided to return to Washington without completing the balance of her diplomatic mission. After the bombing, the Lebanese Prime Minister Faud Saniora called for nothing less than an immediate cease fire, a move that signaled little room for further negotiation at the moment. MSNBC has the full story here.

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity about the diplomatic situation, said Rice would work from Washington on a U.N. Security Council resolution to end the crisis.

Rice said on Sunday she was “deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life" after an attack on a village in southern Lebanon. But she did not call for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militias.

Israel’s attack, which killed scores of civilians while they sleep, led Rice to cancel an expected visit to Beirut for a meeting Sunday with Lebanese Prime Minister Faud Saniora. Rice said she called Saniora to postpone; angry Lebanese officials said it was their government that called off the meeting.

The bombing mishap is expected to harden calls for a cease fire as well as continue the trend of growing public outrage within the region at the continued actions of the Israeli army. Since the start of the conflict, when Hezbollah provoked Israel by abducting two Israeli soldiers and killing three others, public opinion has shifted from anger at Hezbollah to anger at Israel which has made it more difficult for Israel and the United States to delay efforts to bring the military actions to an end.

Daniel DiRito | July 30, 2006 | 9:05 AM
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