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August 27, 2006

Just another feckless exercise in window-dressing.

Yesterday, I noted this:

Heh. The UN Peacekeeping Force for Lebanon starts to take shape. The headline on Yahoo for this article is what caught my attention: "Europe Provides the Backbone for UN Peacekeeping Force". Heh. The "backbone" is a robust mission, robust ROE to support the mission, and the will to carry it out. Otherwise, it's just another feckless exercise in window-dressing.

Today, the UK Telegraph reports this:

UN will not stop Syria sending weapons to Lebanon
By Harry De Quetteville and Michael Hirst


(Filed: 27/08/2006)

The United Nations peacekeeping force to be deployed in Lebanon is facing further criticism after the admission that its forces will not even be allowed to intercept shipments of arms to Hezbollah from Syria.

Speaking in Brussels before heading to the region, Kofi Annan, pictured below, the UN Secretary-General, confirmed that the 15,000-strong force will not meet Israeli demands to police the routes used by the militia to smuggle missiles from Syria.

"Troops are not going in there to disarm - let's be clear," he said. Instead, the Unifil force will only carry out interception missions if asked by the Lebanese government - which has made no such request. Syria, meanwhile, accused by Israel of re-arming Hezbollah during the recent conflict, has said the deployment of any UN forces near its border would be considered a "hostile act".

Oh, I understand the logic. Lebanon has a putatively sovereign government with it's own army capable of this. The Forms Must Be Followed, even if they are pretty patently bogus.

As I said yesterday:

The "backbone" is a robust mission, robust ROE to support the mission, and the will to carry it out. Otherwise, it's just another feckless exercise in window-dressing.

Window dressing. Regardless of how many and of what quality troops are provided. Window dressing. Anyone remember the disaster that was the initial UN Peacekeeping mission in Bosnia?

Deja vu all over again.

Feckless window dressing.

Winston Churchill famously said that "jaw-jaw is preferable to war-war."

Fair enough. But if all jaw-jaw does is lead to more war, or wider war, or worse war... then all jaw-jaw does, in any particular case, is facilitate war-war.

Read the whole thing here.