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.