Searching for a European Power Willing to police the Cease-Fire in Lebanon.--

The Belmont Report discusses the difficulties that European powers are having in agreeing to pacify Lebanon until someone else pacifies it first:

Though many people reflexively disagree with President Bush, his statement that the ceasefire in Lebanon under UNSC Resolution 1701 will collapse unless a major European country makes a substantial contribution of troops to an expanded UNIFIL force will probably meet with wide agreement. It is now hoped that Italy will fill the gap left by the sudden refusal of France, co-sponsor of 1701, to send more than 200 men to the contingent. The problem is that the Europeans have no intention of disarming Hezbollah by force, which would require high intensity combat operations and politically unpopular casualties. France actually wanted an assurance that Hezbollah would be "safed" before they made their appearance. MSNBC reported: "French officials on Tuesday (Aug 15) insisted Paris would resist leading a bolstered international force in southern Lebanon without Lebanese government assurances that Hizbollah, the militant Shia group, would be disarmed. ... French officials accept that disarming Hizbollah would not happen overnight but say an international force could not be deployed until a demilitarized zone was created."

Nor would the "international community" leave the disarmament of Hezbollah to Israel, even under its residual right to self-defense under 1701. The UN actually warned Israel that it was violating the ceasefire simply by using force to interdict arms smuggling from Syria -- arms meant to attack Israel.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan views the Israel Defense Forces' commando operation near Baalbek over the weekend as a violation of the cease-fire agreement, UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen told Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni during their meeting in Jerusalem Monday. "If you discovered arms smuggling, you could have complained through diplomatic channels," Larsen told Livni.

There was something of the air of unreality about Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema statement on Tuesday that "From Israel, we expect a renewed effort, this time truly binding, to respect the ceasefire. It's fair to expect that Hizbollah put down their weapons, but we cannot send our troops to Lebanon if the (Israeli) army keeps shooting."