Peace and Eurofighters

An idea is gaining ground. It is a Palestinian-Israeli peace to be concluded over the prostrate body of Lebanon. The project suffers from numerous ailments. They begin with the word “peace.” What is actually meant is an “armistice” of uncertain duration. That might be better than what we have now but it is, regardless of wishful thinking, considerably less than a “peace.”

The proposed (see the new French draft resolution before the Security Council) arrangement’s unstated cornerstone is a peace-keeping force. Officially the proposal begins with an armistice followed by the insertion of an international force and the army of Lebanon.

The gist of the problem of the proposed approach to problem solving is this. A real peace is, as things stand, unlikely. While Israel, Lebanon and some other Arab states might want it, a non-state entity that is a cheap-to-run proxy of recognized states (Syria and Iran) exercises de facto control over the moment’s battle-field. The Party of God – well supplied with prayers and arms – is committed to a struggle to the last drop of unwillingly hosting Lebanon’s blood. Therefore, any cessation of hostilities (whether that be a peace or an armistice) depends of Hizbollah’s intentions. These Jihadists will agree to little and whatever they promise they will not feel obligated to keep as agreements with faithless dogs lack validity once breaking them is of use to the Faith.

All plans for pacification are cognizant of Hizbollah and so they take into account the resulting problem of making, respectively keeping the peace. Doing either one of the above – keep in mind that the difference between the two roles is huge – presupposes a numerically large and qualitatively advanced fighting force. A relatively wide zone between Israel’s northern border and the Litani river must be tightly controlled by it. Unlike in the case of the token UN forces now withdrawn, passive “observation” will not cut the cake. The military force, actually the army to be put together for patrolling the deal must be credible. As it is likely to have to fight Hizbollah, the planned international army needs to have the will to make peace by warring for it and it must, therefore, be prepared to bring sacrifices in the fulfillment of its duty. The easy part will be to keep Israel from the throat ofLebanon. The hard part will be to restore ultimately (probably by force) Lebanese sovereignty over her entire state territory.

Since “credibility” also has a political dimension, the US cannot be part of the peace-keeping army. By implication this limits the stipulated military competence of the proposed force. Besides some symbolic participants included “out of politeness” the process of elimination limits the membership to a core provided by the secular states of Europe. Apparently the prospective participants are cognizant of this. Norway has been honest enough to announce that it shall not be part of the project. The rest hope that there will first be a “peace” after which the planned force will enter into the region. Irrationally it is also being assumed that the presence of an international army will assure general compliance.

This latter expectation has about the rationality of hoping to encounter marching snowmen in the Sahara. Keeping the peace and guaranteeing Lebanon’s currently not existent sovereignty means a job that Lebanon’s army of 70,000 could and would not tackle. In a worse-case-scenario the further aspects of the task are identical to what Israel’s current incursion finds difficult to accomplish. Once all this is added up it is difficult to see how the international force will muster the means and especially the determination to measure up to its assignment. Meanwhile it should be added that failure will not only jeopardize future solutions in the Near East but also compromise all future UN peace-actions involving anything that even resembles a military.

Adding to the irrationality

Irrationally it is also being assumed that the presence of an international army will assure general compliance.

This latter expectation has about the rationality of hoping to encounter marching snowmen in the Sahara.

 Especially if, as you point out, the US is to be left out... about the only country (outside of Israel itself) where one might have some shred of hope that they would respond to attacks against them by doing something other than wringing their hands and pulling out.

I Do Not Appreciate your pessimistic views

I have complete confidence that an international force will be able to do what present international forces in Lebanon haven't been able to do, and that is to disarm Hezbollah and block all future shipments of arms from syria to Hezbollah. You are a pessimist. Why do you think that a new international force under the auspices of the brave and corageous Kofi Annan would not be able to do what Israel's army was not able to do? I like the current ceasefire plan under discussion. Israel will give Syria the Sheba farms. They will also release a few prisoners to Hezbollah in return for their soldiers. I imagine that eventually Hezbollah will renew their attacks insisting that Israel hand over the Golan Heights to Syria. After Israel hands over the Golan Heights things will be quiet again for a short while until Hezbollah requests that Israel hand over Haifa and other small and unimportant towns. But in the end, whenever that may be, peace will reign in Israel and whatever is left of it. I do not appreciate your pessimistic views. You need to have more confidence in the UN. The UN has proved to be quite competent in observing terrorists as they build their tunnels, underground bunkers and arm themselves to the gills. I'm sure that they can be relied upon to accomplish whatever task is necessary to bring peace to Lebanon.