The sad reality on the ground in Lebanon is that there isn't really a resolution to any of the crises that the country currently faces. Everything appears to be hanging in limbo, and this UN force only serves to emphasize that point. Whereas the "national dialogue" proved to be nothing more than a farce, at least Lebanese had a sense that a political solution to the deadlock was possible. Today... even that fragile but valuable mirage has dissipated.
France is quietly preparing to play a tougher role in the strengthened U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, rolling out hefty tanks, powerful artillery, and sophisticated radar systems to pinpoint artillery launch sites.
French Leclerc tanks will be some of the mightiest vehicles deployed under the U.N. flag - an answer to critics who have moaned about toothless, ineffectual U.N. peacekeeping deployments over the years.
Heavy armor such as the Leclerc is not typically part of the force deployment package for a U.N. peacekeeping operation, although battle tanks have been used in past missions. Attack helicopters, for example, have been deployed for the biggest U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo.
Thirteen Leclerc tanks were expected to arrive by rail from central France to the port of Toulon early Wednesday, before being sent across the Mediterranean to Lebanon in the next several days....
France is also sending four 155mm surface-to-surface AUF1 canons, with a range of up to 17 miles, plus armored vehicles, short-range anti-aircraft missiles, and Cobra radar which can pinpoint artillery fire in a range of up to 25 miles.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
French sending in the heavy equipment
The French don't appear to be too optimistic about the stability of the cease fire in Lebanon. According to certain press reports, they're sending in heavy equipment along with their troops into Southern Lebanon. The "package" includes heavy tanks and radar designed to track the source of artillery fire. The AP reports,