Thursday, August 17, 2006

The French have second thoughts about their UNFIL commitments..and Condi now hopes Hezbollah will disarm if they're asked nicely

The further we get into this `ceasefire' the more it smells like another failed UN exercise.

Let's start with France...ah, the French! After their dramatic posturing as a world power during the UN Lebanon ceasefire agreement, they appear to be tres' reluctant when it comes to actually putting boots on the ground.

The UN had expected France to lead an advance contingent of up to 3,500 fresh troops that it hoped could be in place within two weeks, especially after all the talking France did as a key author of the UN resolution.

Surprise! Now the French have torpedoed plans for the concept of a `robust UN force' held together by a large unit of well-equipped and highly-trained troops from a single nation by announcing that it would offer just a symbolic force of 200 soldiers from an engineering battalion, according to French defense minister Michele Alliot-Marie.

Apparently, the French want to test the waters and see how things go before they actually do something like honor the committments they made. Or, in the words of President Chirac's spokesmen, military options "were still under review."

Genu-wine French Army knife

Needless to say, this will have an effect on other nations that were considering contributing troops to the UNFIL mission. Especially when it comes to enforcing the UN mandate to disarm Hezbollah's armed forces south of the Litani River.

Italy has promised one of the largest contributions to a UN force..around 3,000 troops. But today, Italy's foreign minister Massimo D'Alema told L'Espresso newspaper in an interview that the Italian troops that may go to Lebanon shouldn't be expected to disarm Hezbollah either but to help the Lebanese army `impose its authority'.

"It is wrong to say that our soldiers are going to disarm Hezbollah," he said.

What's more, the Italians aren't going to send a single soldier until the UN complies with Rome's demands that their role be clearly defined.

And as I reported here earlier, the government of Lebanon isn't going to abide by that part of the resolution either. Now it's official: according to a Lebanese cabinet decision, Hezbollah will not be disarmed in southern Lebanon...they just won't make a point of displaying those arms, and the lebanese government has agreed not to search for any arms caches. In other words, a new version of `don't ask, don't tell'.

The Lebanese government's decision contradicts United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 which stated clearly that the area south of the Litani River is supposed to be free of arms, except those held by Lebanese soldiers and UNIFIL troops. Now, even that watered down ceasefire agreement is being winked at.

And since neither the Lebanese army nor the small group of UNFIL observers is manning the Syria/Lebanon border, the arms embargo also specified in the resolution is being ignored as well, as Iran rushes to replenish the Hezbollah arsenal.

So where does that leave Condi Rice? Apparently she's has had some second thoughts about disarming Hezbollah as well.

"I don't think there is an expectation that this [UN] force is going to physically disarm Hezbollah," Rice told USA Today. "I think it's a little bit of a misreading about how you disarm a militia. You have to have a plan, first of all, for the disarmament of the militia, and then the hope is that some people lay down their arms voluntarily." (!!)

If Hezbollah resists international demands to disarm, Rice said, "one would have to assume that there will be others who are willing to call Hezbollah what we are willing to call it, which is a terrorist organization."

Like who, Condi? The EU? The UN? Lebanon?

Maybe Superman?

Absolutely amazing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

in 2004 i was first and foremost a condi in 2008 person.
sorry for the domestic topic/comment nazar.
now, she's just a dumb broad.
and that is putting it mildly.
is that intended to be an insult?

any time you/ff want to write about tactics in the next conflict soon to be coming, i will be more than happy to engage you.
ff you know my position:

i will be happy to discuss yours with you.