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"Sustainable Ceasefire" -- The Charade Continues
So now the French — shamed at the exposure of chicanery so blatant anyone outside Foggy Bottom could have seen coming from a mile away — are going to send 2000 rather than 200 troops to join the "robust international force" that will police the "sustainable ceasefire" in Lebanon. Fabulous!
This morning's Washington Post story demonstrates what a charade this is. It reports that
French officials said [French President Jacques] Chirac won pledges from the United Nations, Lebanon and Israel that peacekeeping troops would be allowed to open fire to defend themselves or to intervene if civilians were facing imminent threat. Peacekeeping forces in several previous operations around the globe have been criticized for allowing combatants to massacre civilians because of rules that prevented soldiers from interfering.
This is strawman diplomacy if ever there was. The point of "robust" was not supposed to be about whether the international force was going to be able to defend itself — that was assumed. The idea was to have a force that would deal with Hezbollah since the Lebanese can't (or, more accurately, don't wish to).
And no one is worried about Hezbollah or Israeli massacres against Lebanese civilians. The concern is Hezbollah using southern Lebanon as a platform for jihad against Israel.
The bottom line is that the international force is going to do exactly nothing about Hezbollah — except complicate matters when Hezbollah inevitably attacks again and Israel has to worry about collateral UN casualties when it responds.
This is embarrassing