Overheard on Special Report With Brit Hume

…just now [ed note: refers to broadcast of 17 Aug.]: After discussing Iran’s attempts to rearm Hezbollah, the conversation shifted to troop allocations for the U.N./Lebanese ceasefire force. Brit asked why France has volunteered such a ‘puny’ number of troops when they’d been one of the driving forces of the plan.

Bangladesh pledged up to 2,000 troops and France offered 200, a disappointment to some who expected more from the country likely to lead the force.

The reason? It has been rumored through diplomatic circles that Syria has threatened France directly ~ if they participated in any great manner, there would be a repeat of 1983 and the Marine Barracks. (Can you imagine OUR reaction to that?!)
The French, being the French, are considering their response.

UPDATE: I still haven’t found a transcript of the comments themselves, but the latest wire releases certainly lend credence to something Vichy going on.

…French President Jacques Chirac said he would dispatch only 200 army engineers in addition to the 200 already part of UNIFIL, which is commanded by a French general. He said 1,700 troops were offshore but would not be put under U.N. command. France had been expected to be the backbone of the force.
“We had hoped — we make no secret of it — that there would be a stronger French contribution,” Malloch Brown said. “Others have come forward and we are pretty convinced we’ve got the elements here of a strong force.”
France’s hesitation has confused U.N. officials. On Wednesday, French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie criticized the mandate of the force, which France wrote in drafting the August 11 resolution. She also objected to troops coming under U.N. control — another provision Paris had insisted on to meet Lebanese demands.

UPDATE Part Deux: I’ve found an NYT July 24, 2006 report where Syria threatened the UNIFIL Force itself.

One Syrian official issued a strong warning against a proposal that was gaining momentum on Sunday for an international force to guard the Lebanon-Israel border. Deploying such a force without the cooperation of Syrian and Hezbollah, the official said, will risk repeating 1983. That was a pointed reference to the 241 United States service members and 58 French soldiers killed in attacks on military installations by suicide bombers. It has long been considered likely that Hezbollah sent the bombers with Syria’s blessing.

The whole article is a basically a Syrian billboard.
From today’s WaPo: A new edition of “And NOT to Yield”

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called Chirac on Thursday to plead with him to reconsider. The French president’s office released a statement later indicating he had not yielded.
The statement confirmed that France would send a company of 200 military engineers to Lebanon. They would join more than 200 French peacekeepers already serving in the relatively small U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL. Chirac also told Annan that “France was prepared to assume command” of the bolstered U.N. force, according to the statement.
…The decision was prompted in part by the French military’s anxiety over serving under U.N. command, diplomats said. French officials cited the loss of 84 French troops in the U.N. mission in the early 1990s in Bosnia, and the seizure of French peacekeepers as hostages. French officials had also expressed concern that Hezbollah fighters were not prepared to disarm and might turn their guns on peacekeeping troops, according to U.N. diplomats. In 1983, Islamic militants killed 58 French paratroops in a suicide bomb attack in Beirut.

Let me translate that for non-French speaking Swillers:

WE get to LEAD you wonderful Nepalese/Indonesian/Banglesdeshi/smallforeignbrownpeople guys into battle, since it was OUR idea.
YOU will get to do all the dying, so that WE do not soil OURselves.”

AGAIN: The French

Alliot-Marie said troop contributions to the expanded UNIFIL force should come from a great number of countries, both in Europe and the Muslim world.
“What we must absolutely avoid is giving the image of a Western world imposing peace on the Muslim world,” she said.

…make me dizzy.

5 Responses to “Overheard on Special Report With Brit Hume”

  1. DirtCrashr says:

    200 white flags are cheaper than 2000.

  2. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Hmmmmmmmm……maybe the French can field test their battle tank, the model with 2 forward and 5 reverse gears.

  3. Gunslinger says:

    The frogs have just invented the doctrine of “preemptive surrender”.

  4. Gunslinger says:

    …and the UN(necessary) goes into panic mode…
    One low-yield nuke over Damascus, heavy on the radioactive isotopes, hold the prevailing winds sil vou plait.

  5. Oh I love the Deputy Secretary’s..

    …”it’s very important that Europe now steps forward.”

    Hahahaha! Good luck on THAT one!

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