The Ceasefire Continues To Disintegrate
The UN ceasefire is now on the brink of total disentegration. Hezbollah has been refusing to disarm or go north and they’re continuing to attempt to rearm. Moreover, it’s now starting to look as if the international troops that are supposed to be supplementing the Lebanese army in the South may not be forthcoming at all:
“The shaky, United Nations-brokered cease-fire in Lebanon suffered another blow on Sunday when the European countries that had been called upon to provide the backbone of a peacekeeping force delayed a decision on committing troops until the mission is more clearly defined.
Their reservations postponed any action on the force at least until Wednesday, when the European Union will take up the issue.
…In addition, a senior French official said, “Italy, Spain and Finland have raised the same questions as France has.” Following the usual diplomatic practice, the official asked not to be identified. A spokesman for the Spanish Foreign Ministry said Spain was willing to send troops, “but the rules have to be clarified and agreed on.”
…In a further complication, Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, told his cabinet on Sunday that he did not want countries that did not have diplomatic relations with Israel to participate in the force, according to an official in the prime minister’s office. Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh are among the countries that have offered frontline troops but have no diplomatic ties with Israel.
…The United Nations has said it is looking for at least 3,500 troops to arrive by Sept. 2. So far France has promised 200 soldiers. Fifty military engineers landed in Lebanon this weekend and the rest are to arrive later this week. But France’s initial contribution has fallen far short of the 2,500 to 4,000 soldiers that it had been expected to offer. France had also been expected to assume leadership of the entire international force, which was intended to number about 15,000 troops and would join 15,000 Lebanese Army troops in patrolling southern Lebanon.”
See, this is the problem with the whole “peacekeeping mentality” that so many European nations have fallen into. They don’t have very good militaries in the first place and even if they did, they’re not willing to fight for anything. Their idea of “peacekeeping” is a bunch of guys in blue helmets walking around with unloaded rifles and trying to stay out of trouble. The whole idea that “peacekeepers” should actually use force if necessary to keep the peace is alien to them. That’s why, in a situation like this one, where Israel is demanding the peacekeepers actually live up to their names, Europe is so decadent and weak that they’re incapable of dealing with it.
That’s ironic, if you think about it. Europe and the UN want to be taken seriously and they want international law to mean something. Yet, even though the UN supports this mission completely, even though it’s a high profile effort, and even though only roughly 1/9 the number of troops are required here as the US currently has in Iraq, the Europeans don’t appear to be up to the challenge. Even if they do somehow manage to get 15k troops together, nobody actually believes that they’re going to really disarm Hezbollah and secure Southern Lebanon.
In fact, at this point, we’re just twiddling our thumbs and waiting to see what’s going to happen when it becomes so glaringly obvious that this whole ceasefire is a sham — that the Kofi Annans of the world can’t continue to deny it. Of course, if people with that sort of mentality were able to comprehend the obvious, they would have given up on the UN a long time ago, so perhaps we’ll be in for a long wait.