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August 10, 2006
Lebanon Getting Choosy

Efforts to reach a compromise in the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict hit a snag tonight when Lebanon rejected French forces as a component of any peacekeeping contingent in the south. Even with the French backpedaling furiously to placate the Arab League, the Siniora government refused to allow France to exercise its mandate:

A new obstacle was raised in the approval of the proposed cease-fire agreement between Israel and Lebanon on Thursday night, when the latter was refusing to allow French forces to enforce its mandate by force, if necessary, as allowed by the UN's chapter VII regulations.

Israel Radio reported that attempts were being made to convince Lebanon to agree to the proposal.

If both Lebanon and Israel agree to the proposal, it is expected to brought before the UN Security Council for ratification within 24 hours.

The irony comes in layers with this development. The Arab League wanted an immediate cease-fire and pressed France to shift its position on its own proposal. The French did so in order to placate the Arabs, but now Lebanon won't allow France into its territory. France originally insisted on the creation of a peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon and offered 5,000 troops -- the largest such commitment -- and now they may not want to go at all.

As the Jerusalem Post notes, Chirac has seen the difficulty Israel has had with the terrorists and now has second thoughts about getting between the two. France sees the mission of disarming Hezbollah and keeping them out of the DMZ as increasingly impossible. They could have just asked Israel about this from the beginning; they have understood that all along, which is why they have resisted the idea of pulling out without a robust military force in place.

Meanwhile, Siniora appears to have revealed himself as somewhat dishonest in his tearful pleas for rescue from the Israelis. While his reluctance to have the troops of Lebanon's one-time colonial masters in his country, the alternative appears to be more war. Siniora may worry that the French would really take its new mandate to disarm Hezbollah seriously, although he may well be the only one worried that they would be effective. In any event, Siniora's sudden pickiness about his protectors shows that he hardly sees an Israeli offensive against Hezbollah as his worst possible scenario.

France and Lebanon have both achieved incoherence.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 10, 2006 9:06 PM

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» New UN Plan for Lebanon - Who Will Disarm Hezbolla from Getting Nothing But Static From MSM
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