No doubt, Lebanese politicians engage Hizballah in very tough negotiations as I type up this entry. Only Zeus knows what the outcome of these negotiations will be. However, as I mentioned previously on this blog, only Hizballah can decide to disarm, because doing so forcibly would simply mean the end of Lebanon (either a through a cataclysmic civil war, or "another round" of Israeli strikes, only this time, nothing will hold them back - i.e. bye bye, Army, Downtown Beirut, Lebanese State).
A good analogy of the situation Hizballah finds itself in right now would be an authoritarian ruler being asked to abdicate for the sake of his country. In fact, let me take this analogy one step further and suggest that Lebanon is currently in the midst of what could be termed a "regime change," which began the second Syrian troops started leaving the country. Will Hizballah bow out? Will it put the wellbeing of Lebanon, and its constituents, before its agenda? If so, then at what price?
As for France, and its commitment regarding the UN force, my thoughts echo those expressed by editorials published by the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. The Journal wonders whether UN resolution 1701 is still alive,
Most U.N. resolutions don't have the shelf-life of a gallon of milk, which isn't always a bad thing. But in the case of resolution 1701 - the cease-fire agreement for Lebanon and Israel adopted unanimously this month by the Security Council - things seem to be going sour even faster than that. And that is cause for serious unease.And the Times mocks Jacques Chirac mercilessly for his "contribution" to the implementation of 1701,
It would be tempting to laugh about France's paltry commitment of 200 additional peacekeepers for Lebanon, if it weren't so dangerous. After insisting for years that they be treated like a superpower, the French are behaving as if they have no responsibility for helping dig out of the Lebanon mess.Of course, considering that Lebanese parties are still in the midst of negotiating the near and not-so-near future, the UN force and its mission could very well be leverage that would no longer exist once it is deployed.
However, I remain as impatient as ever. At a time when the international community, and the Arab world are supposed to convey a message of strength, determination and generosity, all I see is trepidation. But then again, how much do I really see?