Saturday, August 19, 2006
Here's a screen capture from JPost.com, 8PM EST on August 19. (Hat tip: my lovely wife.)
Okay, so let's get this straight --
- The IDF says "operations will continue until UNIFIL deploys";
- Kofi Annan says the UN "won't wage war in Lebanon", because implementation of Resolution 1701 "must be realized through negotiation". (Oh, we realize what you're saying, Kofi, believe us, we do. As Charles Johnson put it, "Peacekeeping Force Won't Use Force To Keep Peace". Hmm, maybe we should call it something else.)
- The Lebanese army might halt deployment (and blame the IDF for it) -- say, wasn't part of the cease-fire agreement that the UN international force, led by France, would have to work in conjunction with the Lebanese Army to keep the peace? What if they have a cease-fire and nobody comes?
- But the French are ready to take command, having sent 50 whole troops to Lebanon! (Combat engineers, at that. Just out of curiosity, do they have guns?)
- Just to add to the fun, Iran is holding major military exercises (with 12 infantry regiments -- ah, but can they stand up against 50 French combat engineers?), and Syrian President Assad is exchanging insults with Arabic newspapers and major Arab leaders. (Some of this is too good to keep below the fold: "If you meant Arab leaders", wrote Salwa al-Sharafi in Elaph, a Saudi-owned online publication, "when you said half men, then please clarify what makes you different from them.")
(Update: Jules Crittenden of the Boston Herald goes to town with this, writing:
In recent weeks, France stepped forward to act as a broker of peace in Lebanon. “Act” is the key verb in that last sentence, as it now would seem that the only other verifiable part of the sentence is “in recent weeks.”Glenn Reynolds didn't say "heh" when he linked to this, although he should have. (He did say "read the whole thing" though, and I can't argue with that.)
To correctly parse that sentence, one must understand that when France suggested it wanted to broker peace in Lebanon, it did not necessarily mean “broker” or “peace” or “Lebanon” in the way we might understand those words. The same is true when France further suggested it wanted to “lead” a “strong” “multinational” “force” there.
. . .
The heady moment of peace brokering having passed, upon sober reflection, the French now say they already have a general and some staff in south Lebanon ordering about UNIFIL, the U.N. monitoring entity there. That’s plenty of leadership, the French suggested: All France needs to contribute now is another 200 combat engineers.
In tactical terms, when it comes to securing a Middle East conflict zone, that can be referred to as “squat.”
The United Nations, which is trying to salvage what is left of its own self-respect after the utter failure of UNIFIL in Lebanon, is now publicly begging European nations to contribute troops.
In the meantime, Syria is feeling its oats, Iran is getting ever more threatening, and the world is holding its collective ears, hoping it'll all be a bad dream.
I swear, you can't make this stuff up.