Thursday, August 17, 2006

France Promises a Token Force

After all of France's screaming about Israel using disproportionate force against Hezbollah it has decided to use disproportionate force to enforce UN mandates 1701 and 1559. Which is to say practically nothing.

The United Nations had counted on France to lead an advance contingent of up to 3,500 fresh troops that it hoped could be in place within two weeks. Paris already has some 200 troops in the existing, 2,000-strong U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and leads the operation.

French President Jacques Chirac assured U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan by phone that his government might yet send in more soldiers depending on the precise mission and rules of engagement, Chirac's office said.

In the meantime, he said the 1,700 troops serving in its air and naval forces in the region would remain in place for the time being, although not be put under U.N. command.

France's reticence surprised many U.N. officials and diplomats, since Paris was a key author of the resolution which spelled out the mandate, and had insisted that all troops be under U.N. command as Lebanon demanded.
How French of the French. And they have the nerve to complain about the perfidy of Albion.

Andrew L. Jaffee has his complaints as well.
Remember that “President Jacques Chirac of France called Israel’s acts [in Lebanon] ‘disproportionate.’” So… call for disarming Hezbollah, condemn Israel for trying to disarm Hezbollah, but when push comes to shove, let Israel disarm Hezbollah. Make sense?

Passing resolutions at the U.N. is one thing. Enforcing those resolutions is another. Remember Resolution 1559, co-authored by France, which “Call[ed] for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias?” This was adopted in 2004. What happened? Hezbollah was allowed to fester and build up an arsenal of 13,000 rockets.

France has now co-authored Resolution 1701, which calls for the “removal from southern Lebanon of Hezbollah as an armed force.” But will France enforce the new resolution? From the BBC:

French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie voiced concern about deploying troops without clearly defined goals.

“France wants the mission’s rules of engagement to be clear and it to have real means,” she told French TV.

“Sadly, all too often, the United Nations forces don’t have the power that they asked for.”
What a surpise there. Andrew has links to his sources. You can go there to find out more.

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