Peacekeeping Mission to Lebanon may be in the works..

From the Washington Post 

In a departure from past peacekeeping missions to Lebanon, the force currently being discussed would not include U.S. troops, U.S. officials said yesterday.

Planning for the force is in early stages, but officials said they anticipate it including 10,000 to 20,000 troops led by a contingent from France or Turkey.

“The questions about what kind of force it is — what its command structure is, is it a U.N. force, is it an international assistance force — those are the discussions that are going on and, I think, are going to go on over the next few days,” Rice said. She is expected to leave tomorrow to discuss those matters on a trip to Israel, Italy and the West Bank.

One potentially nettlesome point would be whether the international force would be told to disarm Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon. Asked about that, Rice said, “It’s got to be capable of helping the Lebanese forces make certain that southern Lebanon is not a haven for these kinds of attacks.”

Another matter still under discussion is whether to post troops along Lebanon’s border with Syria, to cut off supplies of men and weaponry to Hezbollah. Such a move likely would be controversial because of the potential for confrontation with Syrian forces.

In addition to Turkey and France, nations that might send military units to participate include Italy, Brazil, Pakistan, India, and Germany, officials in Washington and at the United Nations said.

The United States could provide a variety of other forms of support. Areas of particular U.S. military capability are logistics, especially large military cargo aircraft, and intelligence, especially in technical forms such as detailed satellite imagery and signals interception. U.S. warplanes and helicopters also could provide air support over Lebanon from aircraft carriers offshore in the Mediterranean.

There has been discussion at the Pentagon of also contributing to the mission with contractors, though it could not be determined yesterday whether that would be in the form of advisers to help train and equip the Lebanese military, or supply experts to feed and house the troops and maintain their heavy equipment. 

What ever type of force that is agreed upon must have sufficient capability as well as the will to prevent southern Lebanon from again becoming an arsenal for terrorists. It must also be able to prevent the terror supporting states from funneling weapons and troops into Lebanon and not allow the elected Lebanese government to be manipulated by other countries like Syria & Iran. The necessary end result must be that the government of Lebanon be fully in control of its soveriegn territory. Any force that does not advance that goal is another UN waste of time.  


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