Lawrence Eagleburger on Fragile Mideast Peace

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," August 14, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers, 15,000 Lebanese troops all ready to beef up the border and keep that peace plan in place, led by the French, dominated by an as yet untested Lebanese army, all of which could be worrying former Secretary of State Secretary Larry Eagleburger.

Lawrence Eagleburger joins us right now, out of Washington. Secretary, what do you make of this force that is supposed to keep the peace?

LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Not much, I'm afraid, particularly if we're — if we are going to rest our — our assurances on the Lebanese army, which has spent a great deal of time hunkered down and never being shot at, much less shooting at anybody else.

I'm afraid, at least as far as that is concerned, I don't think they are going to be particularly helpful. And, until I see who the others are, I am going to — I have some really serious doubts about the ability of this peacekeeping force to really keep the peace, unless, for the first time virtually in the history of the United Nations, they are told that they may shoot when they are in trouble, and, in fact, they may shoot if they have to do so to — to enforce what they're there for.

And we haven't seen that before. And we will have to hope that happens, but I have some very serious doubts.

CAVUTO: Secretary, Hezbollah is not disarmed. Nasrallah today was indicating that there is a time and a place for that — I'm paraphrasing here — but indications are, not now.

So, he is already flouting what the cease-fire protocol called for. What — what do you think?

EAGLEBURGER: Well, I think you made the point earlier.


EAGLEBURGER: I don't believe — I don't believe that Hezbollah really intends to follow the peace — the peace — this peace process for very long.

They may for a while. But I think they are already making it very clear, with this business about having won, which I'm not at all sure that we should be saying that they have. But, on the other hand, I thought the president was a little bit too enthusiastic about the Israelis having won.

And I'm not at all sure that Hezbollah doesn't now go into the future weeks feeling pretty good about itself. And, under those circumstances, I would suspect they are going to be ready to jump whenever they can.

CAVUTO: You know, Secretary, maybe because I'm the money nerd here at FOX, I hear things that other people tend to dismiss, maybe because they're not nerds.

But when I heard...


CAVUTO: ... Nasrallah's statements today, he referred to rebuilding battered positions in southern Lebanon. And I started thinking, well, you don't have any money. Where are you going to get the money to do that?

So, I'm automatically thinking Iran and Syria. I'm automatically thinking hundreds of millions of dollars to make that happen. Yet, he seems to be very confident he can get that.

When I raised this issue with the Israeli ambassador, you know, that — he argued the international community, Israel itself included, would be part of that rebuilding effort. Is there going to be a race to this rebuilding? And what if Iran gets there first?

EAGLEBURGER: Hadn't even thought about it. You have a — it's a very good question.

Frankly, I guess I would say I don't really care if Iran gets there first, if they are going to build all this stuff up again.

I don't — in other words, if the West went in and did it, if we did it, and — and the Western world went in and did it, I suspect we would get very little thanks for it. And I suspect that — that the Iranians would take credit for anything that got put up anyway.

So, I don't care much about who wins that race. I do think it would have been wise for the United States and others to have said, right when the destruction first started — that the president should have said, I think, that the United States will lead an effort to get international cooperation in rebuilding the damaged Lebanese infrastructure.

But it's too late now. And I don't think it makes much difference anymore.

CAVUTO: If, in the end, though, let's say it's Iranian and/or Syrian money that comes in as part of this mini-Mideast Marshall Plan, whatever you want to call it, sir, and sympathies build for Hezbollah's support, build for Hezbollah, it might even have a more prominent role in the Lebanese government. For all I know, Secretary, it might, in fact, be the new Lebanese government. Then what?

EAGLEBURGER: Well, I have no argument with that. And I think that's a — that's a worthwhile concern.

Myself, I think the Iranians already are pretty well-entrenched there, if they need to be, or if they want to be. And I think they want to be. But, at the same time, I guess I believe that — but, for example, the test of whether this thing is going to work or not, first of all, is going to be, do we see that they have — we have cut off assistance coming through Syria?

If we mean that, and if we get it done, Hezbollah, over time, withers on the vine, because, if they can't get any more assistance from the Iranians through those channels, they are going to in trouble.

But the question is going to be whether they — whether they do that, whether we are tough enough to force others to come with us to make sure that the Syrians don't cheat on this agreement. And I think they will cheat. And I think it will be fairly soon that they do it, because Hezbollah can't get along without those supplies.

CAVUTO: Well, what's scary, Secretary, every time I have had you on here, you have always been right. Thank you very much.


CAVUTO: Good having you.

EAGLEBURGER: I wish I weren't.

CAVUTO: Secretary Lawrence Eagleburger.

Content and Programming Copyright 2006 FOX News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. (, which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, Inc.'s and Voxant Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.