Sunday, July 30, 2006

The search for peace

Friday (28 Jul) On the BBC WS (radio), they spoke to an Hezbollah MP, Ali Mikdad (phonetic): Hezbollah don't  refuse the idea of a UN force. They will accept an international force, but not one with a role of disarming Hezbollah (kind of obvious really), that UN forces would take the role of Israel (interview with Michael Buchanan).
Saturday (29 Jul) Deputy Secretary General of the UN Mark Malloch Brown, talking of a robust peace-keeping force, said 'what mustn't happen is an expectation that it can complete the business that Israel has begun and that it could itself forcefully disarm Hezbollah... There's got to be this political agreement which leads Hezbollah to disarm voluntarily because it's felt that at least some of its political objectives have been met.'

In the FT, 'US, UK in another push for Lebanon truce':
Mr Blair stressed the need for Hizbollahto accept a ceasefire before a multinational force could operate. He said such a force would not “fight their way in . . . This can only work if Hizbollah are prepared to allow it to work.” Mr Bush had a different view about the preconditions for the international force: “The key is to have the Lebanese and Israeli governments agree to it,” he said. “Hizbollah is not a state.”
In the paper edition (UK), there was the following passage, which is omitted from the website article:
The US and UK also differ with France [and other countries], which believe that troops cannot be despatched until a wide-ranging peace deal has been struck. "We believe that this force can only play its role once agreement has been reached among the parties involved, including, in one way or another, Hizbollah," said a French official. (UN 'may move on Lebanon force next week') 
(The 'many ways to skin a cat' remark is attributed to Kofi Annan, not Bush.) So, despite what almost everybody says about Britain's position being identical to the US's, in some ways it is close to France's.

The Economist's main piece on Lebanon is subscriber-only, but they conclude that the best option, or least bad option, is a rapid end to the fighting. Another article, Mind those proportions:
Since 1945, there has been a new emphasis in diplomacy and jurisprudence, and in the language of human-rights lobbies, on the other big dilemma in military ethics: jus in bello—literally, law in war. The question here is this: once the bullets are flying and you are a belligerent, by what methods and weaponry is it legitimate to wage your war? How careful must you be to spare civilians and non-combatants, such as prisoners and wounded? That is what the four Geneva Conventions (extensively revised in 1949, though born of a process that began 80 years earlier) and their three “additional protocols” are all about.
They also have this, on the German role
...in the light of talk about European troops going to Lebanon. German officials do not exclude that possibility, given Germany's historical responsibility to defend Israel. Others say it is precisely because of history that German uniforms cannot be seen near Israel's borders.
Sunday (30 Jul) Turkey say they will deploy if there is a full ceasefire beforehand, if both Israel and Lebanon are in agreement for it.

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