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18 August 2006

RTBF.BE - Lebanon at war

Dear readers,

As the following article summarizes quite well, RTBF.BE, Lebanon has entered in a dangerous phase. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be for the better. The different forces present in Lebanon, especially in the South, have either no reason nor any incentive to behave in a peaceful or even simply reasonable manner. They have not done it in the past and nothing in the current situation (except maybe their attrition level) would push them to change this.

Tsahal has always reacted with brute or not so brute force to any attacks coming from either side of the Litani river. These reactions have always more or less ignored the potential harm done to civilian populations. This has led even the most friendly minded Lebanese to distrust Israel for a long time. And who could blame them ?

The Lebanese Army has always been very cautious not to frontly attack anyone, be it Syrians when they were occupying the country, Tsahal in similar circumstances and especially Hezbollah. The fact that a majority of its soldiers are Shia Muslims too, of course never helped. But there is no reason to believe that this attitude of quiet observation will ever change. They actually made clear yesterday that they wouldn't do anything else than rising the flag, which is indeed a progress, but one unlikely to be more than symbolic.

The FINUL (led or not by France and reinforced or not) will not be more effective than before. It's mission (observing peace, a sad joke in the current circumstances) has not changed for a iota. This is particularly disgraceful from the Security Council members. They have shown disrespect for the numerous FINUL soldiers (particularly the dozens of French ones) that have been killed by either side without having the chance to defend themselves. Indeed, their UN mandate does not allow them to use their weapons to supress a threat to their own lives, and even less to enforce their mission. This mission does not include the only task which would actually improve the Lebanese situation: disarm Hezbollah manu militari.

The Hezbollah in the end has no reason to change its behaviour. It is likely that it will reduce its military activities for a while, at least until the situation cools a bit. But it already knows that the only force actually strong enough to force it to do so has already retreated South o'the border... The "replacement" force of the FINUL has no right to do so. So Hezbollah has already announced very directly what it will do (no one can really accuse them of lying, at least): they will hide their weapons, blend into the population again and resume their attacks against Israel asap. Under the usual pretexts: the Shebaa farms and the dozen of Lebanese prisonners in the Israeli jails. Everyone knows that at keast the Shebaa farms are a bogus one, but the prisonner issue is tougher.

Eventually, no problem has been solved. The situation is back to what it was before. With this huge difference: hundreds of innocents have been killed or maimed, and Lebanon has been sent back to civil war state for its infrastructures and economy. The only ones suffering from this will be the populations of Lebanon who haven't chose this situation and will pay again for the fanaticism of Hezbollah, the petty interests of Syria and Iran, the heavy handedness of Israel and the cowardice of the UN members. Indeed, the fact that no one had the guts in New-York to tell that the FINUL should disarm Hezbollah shows how Europeans and other powers are afraid about putting their hands in the oil (quite literally) and tackle the problems, with all the risks associated to them.

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