Wednesday, July 26, 2006

International Rescue FAB?

I'm very concerned about the proposals to introduce an "international force" into the Lebanon in a "peace keeping" role.

killing UN personnel has not helped their caseIsrael has been extremely opposed to this idea in the past as it would be a fetter on their ability to do who they pleased. However they've suddenly become great fans of the idea, I wonder why?

Well, it isn't simply because they'll be even more people in the area they can kill with impunity (BBC)- but because it serves the purpose of the Israeli State, which inevitably means it is to the detriment of its neighbour's.

We've already seen how harshly the international community isn't willing to deal with Israel (shocking grammar) and an international force will allow direct US and UK input into the region and place Lebanon under occupation.

The Stop the War Coalition's assessment has been that this is a preparation for war against Iran - and there is some sense to this. Whilst Iranian backed Hezbollah lies behind US lines the potential for opening up too many fronts at once is clearly a worry for the US, but Hezbollah have been scrupulous in ensuring they have played no part in the Iraq insurgency, so the US has had no excuses to act directly against them.

To allow the US / Israel to extend their zone of control has to be seen as part of their wider strategy rather than simple coincidence. Whether this can be pushed through the 'legitimate' channels is another matter and it looks like the talks in Rome are set to 'give Israel more time' as they can't reach a consensus (Reuters). Chirac, for instance, is insisting that NATO forces (ie not UK and US, or the French for that matter) should play no role in such a force.

The international community can only protect the citizens of the region if it is prepared to take on Israel - and that just ain't gonna happen. More UN blue helmets, in a more assertive role, will just be another chapter in the history of imperial occupations.

Not off topic - but if you can help that would be cool - we are probably printing up some T-shirts and badges tomorrow (or soon anyway) and my slogans and ideas have been robo-trot-ic at best. If you've a good suggestion for a slogan or design to suit the current crisis - let me know!


AN said...

What strikes me is that no government in their right mind would commit troops to such an international force, who are bound to be seen as proxys for the isrealis.

Jim Jay said...

So it's the US then

John said...

Several hundred Lebanese civilians
26 Red Cross ambulances
4 UN observers

died at the hands of
1 terrorist state

$3 billion a year from America

OK, it probably won't fit, but it's startling.

Jim Jay said...

Hi John - yeah a lot of mine are of that sort of variety... my other thought was it shouldn't be something that goes out of date too quickly

Jim Jay said...

Been reading a really interesting interview with Uri Avnery - here is an extract

"Q What would happen if the Lebanese Army were deployed along the border?

A That has been one of the slogans of the Israeli government from the first moment. They will announce this as the main victory. That is very convincing - for anyone who has no idea about the complexities of Lebanon.

Anyone who was in Lebanon in 1982 and saw the Lebanese Army in action knows that it is not a serious army. Furthermore, many of its officers and soldiers are Shiites. Such a force will not fight Hizbullah.

Its deployment in the South would depend entirely on the agreement of Hizbullah - and that also applies to every day it stays there.

Q Would an international force help?

A Ditto. That is a slogan especially tailored for diplomats, who look for an idea they can easily agree on. It sounds nice, especially if one adds the word "robust".

What exactly is the robust international force supposed to do?

It is proposed that it will remove Hizbullah from the border area. Not by words - like the hapless UNIFIL, that everyone ignored right from the beginning - but by force.

If the deployment of this force were to take place with the agreement of both sides - Israel and Hizbullah - alright. It may serve as a ladder for the Israeli government to climb down from the tree it has climbed up.

But if the force is placed there contrary to the will of Hizbullah, a guerilla war against it will start. Will the international force stand up and fight in a place which the mighty Israeli army fled with its tail between its legs?

For Israel, there will be a special dilemma: what will happen if Hizbullah attacks Israel in spite of the force? Will the Israeli army enter the area, risking a clash with the international force? With German soldiers, for example?"

Renegade Eye said...

Some progressives have an idealized view of internatioinal forces as neutral. Never was true.

AN said...

Could the US,, would the US commit troops. Personally i think they would be mad to.

Jim Jay said...

If the US is committed to an international force for their own strategic ends and no one else is willing ... who knows.

Personally I think they would mad too - but that doesn't mean they wouldn't do it. The implications would be enormous though.

Who else would do it? I don't think the UK is in a position to - certainly not on its own. I doubt any other Eurpean country would touch it. Middle Eastern countries wouldn't be allowed.

More Indian troops perhaps?

AN said...

Well it is all speculation, but in many ways the US army are very unsuited to the role, and I would be very suprised if it is what they have in mind.

I am not sure that the US really have a plan, and some of what Condi is saying is just playing for domestic US media consumption.

Jim Jay said...

From the BBC

"Following the deaths of four UN observers in an Israeli air strike, Australia has withdrawn 12 UN peacekeepers, describing the prospect of sending an international force to Lebanon right now as a "suicide mission""

badmatthew said...

Isn't US diplomacy still about ensuring Israel has more time in its so far failed attempt to destroy Hezbollah. Israel has already suffered its greatest military humiliation, even worse than the early days of the Yom Kippur War. Hezbollah is making the IDF look defeatable and that is going to have a big impact.

AN said...

BTW - a bit of trivis I picked up recently.

Did you know 1500 Cubans fought in the Yom Kipppur war.

AN said...

trivis = trivia

bad bad bad bad typist