Friday, August 18, 2006

France - true to form

From today's Washington Post editorial:
THROUGHOUT this summer's crisis in relations between Israel and Lebanon, France has been liberal with its advice and admonitions, as befits the major power it claims to be. Now that the time has arrived to assume the responsibility of a major power, however, France appears suddenly bashful. The consequence for the peace deal it helped broker could be calamitous.

During the fighting that began when Hezbollah crossed into Israel to kidnap two soldiers and kill several others, France pressed for Israel to cease its military actions. At one point, it supported Arab demands that Israel withdraw before an international force was in place. Just this week, France's foreign minister was telling Israel to end its blockade of Lebanese ports and airports…

And, U.N. officials were led to believe, France would take a major role in leading and supplying troops to this international force, which would in turn encourage other nations to participate. Asked on the day the resolution was adopted about the deployment of the U.N. force, France's U.N. ambassador said, "I think it can be very swift."

Well, not so swift, it turns out, and possibly not so robust. Now that Israel is withdrawing and Hezbollah fighters are emerging with a swagger, French President Jacques Chirac says he is ready to send only an engineering company of 200 soldiers to join 200 serving in the current, and impotent, U.N. force in Lebanon.
What's the French for "Lying cowardly bastards"?


Anonymous Geoffrey MG said...

Lebanese Finance Minister Hamadah of the Party of God (Hizb’Allah) interviewed by George Malbrunot of Le Figaro, France (13 Aug 2006):

[Malbrunot] Does Hizb'Allah support the idea of an international stabilization force to be deployed in southern Lebanon?

[Hamadah] The Lebanese Government and Hizb'Allah do not agree to negotiate under fire, while the occupation continues. We demand an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops. Then Hezbollah will be ready to talk with the international community about the dispatch of a force, its mandate, its personnel, and its resources. But this force must resolve the pending problems, not create others. Following Qana, Hizb'Allah still supports the Al-Sanyurah plan for resolving the conflict, a plan that is similar to that advocated by France. An international convergence is needed so that the United States will accept an immediate ceasefire. We appeal to the whole of Europe to support the Al-Sanyurah plan. Iran supports it. France, Lebanon, and Iran are converging in this crisis. France must not allow Israel to destroy our country. France is a friend of Lebanon, but for the past decade it has also been a friend of Hizb'Allah. The Shi'i community is increasingly Francophone. In 2004 France evacuated from Cote d'Ivoire Hizb'Allah sympathizers holding French passports. France can now regain a driving role in the Middle East.

10:00 am  

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