Skip to comments.NATO belongs in Lebanon
Posted on 07/25/2006 8:54:12 AM PDT by La Enchiladita
We have a lot of respect for Condoleezza Rice. For the U.S. Secretary of State, who is currently in the midst of a whirlwind Middle East tour, the path of least diplomatic resistance would have been to echo the widespread call for an immediate ceasefire in the war between Hezbollah and Israel. But to her great credit -- and that of her boss, President George W. Bush -- she didn't. Instead, this week, she told Lebanese officials that any ceasefire would have to be part of a broader deal that included Hezbollah's withdrawal from Lebanon's border with Israel, and the deployment of an international force to guard the peace. "The situation on the border cannot return to what it was before July 12," Ms. Rice declared. She's also said she wants to avoid any deal that produces a "false promise" which leads to "a guarantee of future violence."
The idea of a "ceasefire" always sounds appealing on its face. War is hell, after all. But in this case, a ceasefire without conditions would only lead to more war. Hezbollah would claim that its rocket attacks had tamed the mighty Zionists, and cast the stillborn ground war as proof that Israel was afraid of confronting Hezbollah's Jihadis. Rather than discourage future attacks -- Israel's goal in its ongoing campaign -- Hezbollah would be encouraged to send more rockets and terrorists into Israel in the days to come. As Ms. Rice says, such a peace would be a false one.
No war goes on forever. And this one will likely end in a week or two. By that time, we hope, Israel will have destroyed a sufficient quantity of Hezbollah materiel and killed a sufficient number of jihadis to render risible any claim to victory by Hezbollah or its puppetmasters in Tehran and Damascus. We also hope Israeli troops end the operation in full control of the Lebanese side of the Israel-Lebanon border, including the villages where Hezbollah's assets are concentrated.
The question is: What then? There is no such thing as a power vacuum in the Middle East. When the Israeli army evacuates Lebanon, Hezbollah will simply reoccupy the territory -- unless a third-party force lays claim. Ideally, that force would be the Lebanese army. But there seems little hope of that: Lebanon's military is weak, and its leadership has been co-opted by Hezbollah sympathizers. Any effort to deploy the army in southern Lebanon could lead to civil war.
So who should be keeping the peace in southern Lebanon? Kofi Annan, naturally, thinks it should be the United Nations. So does Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who claims that any peacekeeping force deployed to his country must fly the UN flag.
But if this job does go to the UN, Israel will have waged its war of self-defence for nothing. The fact is, the United Nations already has a 2,000-strong peacekeeping force in Lebanon called UNIFIL. It's hasn't lifted a finger to stop attacks on Israel. And given the poisonous anti-Israel bias that suffuses the UN, we shouldn't expect any new force deployed under the blue banner to be any different.
The best course -- which has been proposed by the United States and greeted favourably by Israel -- is to deploy a well-armed NATO contingent with a robust combat mandate. This force would not be a doormat-style UN force, but one akin to the allied force currently engaging the Taliban in the south of Afghanistan.
Deploying such a force -- preferably under UN auspices, and preferably including a strong Canadian contingent -- would send exactly the right message to Hezbollah and its bosses in Iran: that the West stands united behind Israel in its fight against militant Islam, and that any unprovoked attack on Israel is an attack on civilized nations everywhere.
© National Post 2006
Any military force that is not willing to aggressively confront Hezbollah, or whatever militia eventually replaces Hezbollah, will actually wind up enabling and providing cover for it.
Which leads to the question. Besides possibly the Anglo Americans (who are busy elsewhere) which European militaries would be willing and capable of aggressively confronting Hezbollah?
I can't think of any. Which means that not only are UN peacekeepers a non-starter, NATO is probably a non-starter as well.
I thought there already was a UN presence in Lebanon--and they do nothing as it is.
And Canadian forces are good to go. I served alongside them.
But a NATO force should also involve the Euros. If capable...
The Iranians are so predictable. They looked into their archives and saw the visage of Jimmy Carter paralyzed in the Rose Garden over the hostage crisis and decided that's the way to neutralize the west, by kidnapping. Not sure it'll work any more.
LOL. We were posting at the same time and both used "Europeans" and "capable[?]".
If they do not disavow terrorism, then both need to become extinct.
We share the same doubts.
Be nice if ONE time the Freeper Arm Chair Generals would actually bother to learn even the most basic facts rather then mindlessly posting their daily Know Nothing rantings.
"United Nations already has a 2,000-strong peacekeeping force in Lebanon called UNIFIL. It's hasn't lifted a finger to stop attacks on Israel."
In fact, it has closely observed the Hezbollah buildup of installations, firing points, and arms buildup since 2000 when Israel withdrew, not to mention loaning its vehicles to Hezbollah......
Disagree, the war is happening now precisely because Israel eventually pulled out of Lebanon. They need to go back in for good, until every Arab state recognizes their right to exist.
"Which leads to the question. Besides possibly the Anglo Americans (who are busy elsewhere) which European militaries would be willing and capable of aggressively confronting Hezbollah? "
Serbia and Romania... but that's all. Western Europe is too weak, too anti-Semitic, too old to defend itself.
NATO, prepositioned to attack Israel. No thanks. Memories of what happened to Serbia. The Kosovan Liberation Army was no less brutal than Hezebola.
I'll grant you that. Point taken.
Personally, unless any NATO contingent had the level of numbers, force, equipment, and most imporantly, political backing from the countries themselves, they'd be about as useful as controlling and stopping the hezbollatiles as the UN "force" was (i.e., about as useful as a sun porch on a submarine).
Like fish need bicycles.
Screaming your ignorance louder doesn't change it to fact.
Perhaps you would be so kind as to enlighten us all on which NATO countries you expect to be chomping at the bit to get into Lebanon to confront the Hezbollah.
My misgivings are due to past history of European soldiers in the zone, but under UN leadership and UN rules of engagement, which rendered them worse than useless.
Some of the same soldiers, under NATO leadership and NATO rules of engagement are doing pretty well in Afghanistan, as you say. I had my doubts even there until recently, when they were not much more than the Kabul police force. But they are expanding their mandate to the south, and soon to the rest of the country, and they are engaging the enemy and doing a good job.
If that is the force that deploys into Lebanon, we've got a chance.
Land for peace might work, but not as its been conceived. What if Israel invoked a new policy: Any land from which they are attacked will be completely cleared of its hostile inhabitants and annexed forever into Israel. This would be an eye opener for the moozies.
Your feelings are not facts. In the future it would be wise of you to quit confusing what you feel for reality. The facts of the matter are totally at odds with your posting
Here it is again, slow and over the plate:
Besides possibly the Anglo Americans (who are busy elsewhere) which European militaries would be willing and capable of aggressively confronting Hezbollah?
One of the things I like about FR is that if I'm wrong, there are people ready to tell me so.
You've asserted that I'm wrong, which wouldn't surprise me. You haven't laid out your view, aside from your post #9, which I agree with. What is the way forward in Lebanon?
It would take at least 6 months to get together a NATO force, so I'm not that concerned. That's about how much time Israel has to dismantle the infrastructure of Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon.
CNN: The plan initially would involve putting an international force of up to 10,000 Turkish and Egyptian troops under a NATO or U.N. commander into southern Lebanon following a cease-fire.
I can remember post after post from Canadian sources talking about the problems they have maintaining their commitment in Afganistan. Are they up for a second military excursion? And last I heard the Nato countries were all complaining that they were overstreached with Afganistan as well.
I'm well-aware of what NATO has done in Afganistand, esp Germany. Your response to him was the aggressive one.
We all agree that a NATO force is preferable to UN or US force. The question remains, which NATO countries will step up...
You've got issues. Beyond the normal kindergarten type, one of them is asserting that the muslims would consider NATO to be a neutral player. The islamists would howl at the idea of European or Turkish troops policing them.
Until recently, NATO in Afghanistan provided troops sufficient to patrol Kabul itself, and no more. The US and Brits have done most of the bandit chasing out in the countryside.
In recent months, NATO has extended its writ to southern Afghanistan, and Canada has returned to the fold, and we are starting to see combat reports coming in as NATO troops in the south are coming under fire. Mostly the Canadians, although I saw where the Dutch also were engaged and evidently did well.
The fact remains that it is primarily the Anglo Americans, even with the NATO contingent in Afghanistan, who are primarily out chasing bandits. Subtract them from the whole, and what is left are small numbers from each member states, the largest contingents coming from Germany and Canada. The fact that this force is in essence protected by the much larger American and British force out chasing Taliban allows it to be effective at what it does.
Without the Americans and Brits, it would be itself on the front line against the Taliban (and actually, the Canadians in the south are finding themselves on the front lines).
That is the circumstance it would find itself in, if it took on the job of patrolling south Lebanon.
In Iraq, as in Afghanistan, the Americans and Brits have taken on the hottest spots for themselves, leaving the less hot areas for the other NATO contingents. My question from post #2, since I agree that the Anglo Americans won't be going into Lebanon, is which NATO military would be prepared to be on the front lines against Hezbollah, in the absence of the Brits and the Americans.
One of the posters offered the suggestion that perhaps the Turks and the Egyptians would take on the job. Does that sound workable? Not to me.
Right, NATO's sending Turkish and Egyptian troops to S. Lebanon and thinks they'll be neutral? Puhlease....
Really! And Egypt isn't even a member of NATO! Talk about sending foxes to guard the hen house!
I believe there is too much rush to a "solution" other than that which Israel provides.
More forces clearly on Israel's side would be more to my liking.
The fact is, the United Nations already has a 2,000-strong peacekeeping force in Lebanon called UNIFIL. It's hasn't lifted a finger to stop attacks on Israel.
Let the Euros start their own army.
This commentary, however, proposes for the NATO forces to be "under the auspices of the UN." Not appealing.
Push back Hizb'Allah until they have nowhere to go, then consider stabilization. Otherwise, by rushing international forces onto the scene, you have stagnation at best.
In fact, what other armed forces could be trusted to not attack Israel, besides the U.S. and ....?
If I were Israel, I would only trust the US under US control. The US under NATO control is a different matter. I hope we never again get into that bind.
Johnnie did not read Carnegie's best-seller, "How to Win Friends and Influence People."
And, one of the (many) things I like about FR is that when I am told I am wrong, I have the chance to respond as to why I am right.
Oy vey smeer, that is even worse...
Australia, maybe... Poland, no. They have been great allies in OIF, however, they have a history ...
I will be the first to admit that Johnnie lives up to the name of MR GRIM....
I have disagreed with Johnnie on a few occasions.
What I love about Johnnie- is that he is a breath of fresh air. Ya always know what he thinks. He takes no prisoners....but he never means harm to anyone for it...
He loves our country. He is not here to win friends.. he is here to defend what is dear to him...
there are times I cringe at his wording of things.. but never a time I would not want JOHNNIE to be the man defending my freedom.....
(along with a few other things......yowza!)
No, it would not make any sense. If one could get a force with a visceral interest in finishing that job - then yes, but the Israelis are ovbiously the most motivated here.