August 16, 2006
Rubenesque Conflict Seeks Single, Professional, Peacekeeping Force
Judging by these John Bolton (US Representative to UN) comments and the other background activities, it appears that no nation or force or combination of them is stepping up to volunteer to be the blessed armed peacemakers between Israel and Lebanon. Where are the Gurkhas when you need 'em? Or the French foreign legion, especially as the French were so active in putting this cease-fire plan together? Amazing, isn't it, that Israel and Lebanon are such great traditional tourist destinations, but for some reason the border between them just doesn't get the eager traffic you'd expect, even with the free (for spectators) fireworks displays.
With crack analytic certainty, I can assert that this absence of serious peacekeeper committment means that a) Hizbollah has won, b) Israel has won, c) neither has won, or d) some other combination. Arguing for a Hizbullah victory is the fact that Israeli troops appear to be exiting and cease-firing prior to any serious buffer commitment. And it appears, the peacekeeping force from the UN is not designed to disarm them anyway. Arguing for an Israeli victory is well....I am sure someone will come up with something, perhaps the fact that Hizbollah is degraded and there may be a behind-the-scenes plan by US and/or Israel to rearm the elements of a sectarian Lebanon. Arguing that neither side has won are tons of exiled and destroyed lives, property, and infrastructure, and an absence of resolution on outstanding issues like prisoners, Shebaa Farms, and all that other stuff.
Arguing for the results being yet some other combination of twisted reality is the fact that the past can indeed be a guide to future performance.
Either way, with no takers on the outside force for now, and no apparent enthusaism to push it, what's up and what's next?
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The Gurkhas and the British are apparently busy working out their own relationship and commitment issues.
Posted by: Eva Luna at August 16, 2006 01:19 PM
Gurkahs sound perfect for the job. Maybe the UN can turn Nepal into a breeding and training ground for ellite peace keeping forces. No more problems with member countries not paying their dues!
drdoug, that reads like Gurkhas would collect on unpaid UN dues. This would entail sending Gurkhas to Washington, DC. Now I would pay to see that happening...
Posted by: Frandroid Atreides at August 16, 2006 04:37 PM
FA: was I really that blatant?
A commenter on the interdictor journal over on LJ had the perfect comment on who won: Neither Israel nor Hizbullah won; it's just that the Lebanese stopped losing.
Posted by: pantom at August 16, 2006 08:32 PM
seems the French are taking charge.
I wonder: Is this going to be interpreted as France seeking re-entry as colonial power? Or are people more trusting towards France than the Anglos?
Posted by: Klaus at August 16, 2006 09:58 PM
Love the BBC article headline: "France uneasy about mandate"
What is this, 1920?
Posted by: matthew hogan at August 16, 2006 10:14 PM
Klaus, as regards France, I'm not sure Lebanese, as opposed to other Arabs, are more trusting towards Frenchmen than towards your average Anglo, since France has a tradition of involvement in internal Lebanese affairs. I suppose there would be differences along confessionnal lines, as France still assumes its role as "protector of Christians in the Levant" (I am not pulling your leg - see the website of the French Consulate General in Jerusalem - http://www.consulfrance-jerusalem.org/article.php3?id_article=257 : "le Consul général continue à assumer un rôle de protection des communautés religieuses dans la ligne des accords signés avec les Ottomans, toujours en vigueur par le jeu de la succession d’États. A cette proposition diplomatique s’ajoutent des subventions, la mise à disposition de coopérants et, dans le cas des domaines nationaux, la prise en charge de l’entretien et du gardiennage. En échange, le Consul jouit, au nom de la République, des honneurs liturgiques, comme en témoignent la cérémonie de son entrée au Saint-Sépulcre qui rappelle la protection française sur les Lieux saints, les messes consulaires, ou encore sa présence en uniforme aux célébrations de Noël et de Pâques, aux côtés des autres consuls des pays catholiques. Si ce rôle religieux assumé par le Consul général devient moins central, il demeure utile non seulement eu égard à la tradition mais aussi au maintien d’équilibres communautaires délicats et à l’avenir toujours incertain des Chrétiens dans la région").
The Shia and Sunni would probably remember when the French shelled Muslim areas in 1983, and I suppose that Jospin's famed remark about Hezbollah being terrorists hasn't gone unnoticed - and, of course, France's pivotal role in the adoption of resolution 1559 would not endear it with most Shias and some others who opposed the French-American drive to oust the Syrians.
I think that the bottom line is that France will be trusted if it does not try to disarm Hezbollah. As soon as it does act as Israel's proxy in that respect, it will be treated as such.
Posted by: Ibn Kafka at August 17, 2006 05:03 AM
And the Turks? Ottomans all over the place. Something I picked up:
I am a Turk and I really dont want to insult my country,but civil disputes are slowly spreading ultranationalism through Anatolia,making the gaps between the Eastern Anatolians(Kurds,Anatolian Arabs and other native folk) and Western Anatolians(Turks mostly) wider&wider!
Sheeet I've even seen people clapping and cheering Israeli bombardment on Lebanon(yes these people are Turkish) and when I asked the reason they said smth like "Whai? Coz Theyre killing arabs!!!HORRAY!"(and they are the very same people beating down Israeli tourists coz of their government's support on PKK and "Kurdish Guerrillas(?)")
Whatever the people say,it seems that there soon will be a civil war(I beg god it wont happen!)
somehow it comes down to 300 votes in Florida. I guess Camus would have called it absurd.
Posted by: Klaus at August 17, 2006 03:25 PM
(in reference to Turkish peacekeepers in Lebanon, btw.)
Posted by: Klaus at August 17, 2006 03:30 PM
somehow it comes down to 300 votes in Florida
thanks for depressing me, klaus.
You're not depressed, it's the world that's depressing. Here's a smiley for you :)
There. Did that help?
Posted by: Klaus at August 17, 2006 04:14 PM
thanks, klaus. you're a real pal!
now how about hooking me up with some citizenship papers?
I'd have to speak with the Devil about that. God hasn't done intervention business for a long time.
Posted by: Klaus at August 18, 2006 10:22 AM
that's quite acceptable, Klaus.
Little opinion piece in Daily Star on Turkey and the AKP:
Puts the blame a little too squarely on AKP for rising Islamism and Jew-hate. I should think US policy has something to do with it as well.
But I disliked Erdogan from the day he came into power. Another example of the deluded all-tolerant people of Denmark who do not take a real interest in the actual opinions and policies of those with whom they seek 'dialogue' would be Uffe Ellemann, who is the former foreign secretary of Denmark. He is a real internationalist, and reminds me quite a bit of Tony Blair. He insists on peace, tolerance, dialogue and the good intentions of his pal Erdogan, instead of trying to reach out to the Turkish opposition as he should be doing. In all his opinion letters, he hasn't mentioned once how Erdogan's party has thrown authors and dissenters in jail. It would break the narrative.
Turkey is goddamn complex.
Posted by: Klaus at August 24, 2006 07:36 PM