Video: Why isn't the U.S. intervening?

By Chief foreign affairs correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/28/2006 1:17:44 PM ET 2006-07-28T17:17:44

Is the U.S. standing in the way of a cease-fire to give Israel more time to pound Hezbollah targets? Wednesday, a strong denial came from the White House.

"We're not engaged in military strategy sessions with the Israelis," said White House spokesman Tony Snow. "We're not colluding, we're not cooperating, we're not conspiring, we're not doing any of that."

Would a cease-fire even work? American diplomats say no.

"I want somebody to address the problem how you get a cease-fire with a terrorist organization," says U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.

What would it take to defeat Hezbollah? Military experts say a division of Israeli ground forces followed by international peacekeepers to create a buffer zone.

"Let them get Hezbollah to the point, and the Lebanese and the Syrians to the point where they think negotiations is their best remaining option," says NBC military analyst Gen. Barry McCaffrey. "They're not there yet, unfortunately."

What about diplomacy? For decades, secretaries of state have shuttled around the Middle East.

Instead of Condoleezza Rice this time, the U.S. is waiting for a report from a little-known U.N. envoy — Vijay Nambiar — who will return from a fact-finding mission Wednesday night.

"When it is necessary and will be helpful to the situation, I am more than pleased to go to the region, " Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday.

Rice will meet with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Thursday night and will go to the Mideast in coming days. But she will not meet with anyone from Iran and Syria. The U.S. says they should be isolated, insisting that's the best way to get them to rein in Hezbollah.

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