India Intelligence Report

 

 

   Israel & Lebanon Welcome EU Plan

  Israel & Lebanon welcomed the EU plan to dispatch 7000 peacekeeping troops, to be led initially by France and later by Italy, in Southern Lebanon that is capable of maintaining a buffer between the two nations with stronger defensive capabilities.
 

 

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Israel & Lebanon welcomed the EU plan to dispatch 7000 peacekeeping troops, to be led initially by France and later by Italy, in Southern Lebanon that is capable of maintaining a buffer between the two nations with stronger defensive capabilities. France & Italy had both signed up to lead the mission and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan facilitated a deal to have France lead till February 2007.

Italy has promised 3000 soldiers and France has promised to increase troop count from current 400 to 2000. While the presence of European peacekeepers will help, very few Muslim nations have volunteered to send soldiers. Israel rejected the offer of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Bangladesh offer to send troops as these nations do not recognize it.

While this border may be well monitored, there is a sense of failure to achieve agreement to deploy peacekeepers along the Lebanon-Syria border. Syria had warned that any deployment of soldiers along that border would be seen as an act of aggression. However, Israel has refused to budge on its sea and land blockade unless that border is also sealed as the Hezbollah go through the porous border with alleged support from the Syrian Government. France & Germany have been very critical of the Syrian threat and the Israeli blockade and asking for common sense and compassion for innocent Lebanese.

Annan arrived in Lebanon and had a good meeting with Lebanese authorities, said that the world has “a unique opportunity to transform the cessation of hostilities into a durable ceasefire,” but was booed uncharitably by Hezbollah supporters. Unlike previous engagements in Bosnia, the peacekeepers would be allowed to use lethal force to protect themselves and in other situations as necessary since the mission was “highly risky.