No easy way out
Sure, we'd love to have Egyptian
helicopters patrol Lebanon.
Mubarak would also like elections
which aren't rigged
No Troop Commitments for Lebanon
By ELAINE SCIOLINO and STEVEN ERLANGER
Published: July 25, 2006
PARIS, July 24 — Support is building quickly for an international military force to be placed in southern Lebanon, but there remains a small problem: where will the troops come from?
The United States has ruled out its soldiers’ participating, NATO says it is overstretched, Britain feels its troops are overcommitted and Germany says it is willing to participate only if Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that it would police, agrees to it, a highly unlikely development.
“All the politicians are saying, ‘Great, great’ to the idea of a force, but no one is saying whose soldiers will be on the ground,” said one senior European official. “Everyone will volunteer to be in charge of the logistics in Cyprus.”
There has been strong verbal support for such a force in public, but also private concerns that soldiers would be seen as allied to Israel and would have to fight Hezbollah guerrillas who do not want foreigners, let alone the Lebanese Army, coming between them and the Israelis.
There is also the burden of history. France — which has called the idea of a force premature — and the United States are haunted by their last participation in a multinational force in Lebanon, after the Israeli invasion in 1982, when they became belligerents in the Lebanese civil war and tangled fatally with Hezbollah.
They withdrew in defeat after Hezbollah’s suicide bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983, which killed 241 American service members and 58 French paratroopers.
Israel’s own public position toward an international force has been welcoming, but skeptical, insisting that it be capable of military missions, not just peacekeeping.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested that the force could be made up of soldiers from both European and Arab states, while his defense minister, Amir Peretz, spoke of soldiers from NATO countries.
But Israel senses no great willingness among leading European countries to take part, and Israeli officials emphasize that they will not accept an end to hostilities until clear policy goals are met.
For the moment, at least, Israel is laying out an ambitious, if perhaps unrealistic, view of what the force would do. Israel wants it to keep Hezbollah away from the border, allow the Lebanese government and army to take control over all of its territory, and monitor Lebanon’s borders to ensure that Hezbollah is not resupplied with weapons.
And this is a way of pandering to the West, while knowing nothing will be done. Like in Iraq, if Arab countries participate in the supression of Hezbollah, their governments might fall.
Israel isn't going to get the EU to wage war on Hezbollah for them and they are reaching their limit of what they can do.
posted by Steve @ 1:55:00 AM