Greece must stay out, for now

The ceasefire and the return of the Lebanese citizens displaced by the war to their villages have brought some relief to the population but instability persists. Israel’s «defeat» has undermined its former conviction that the country can impose its will by military means. That may of course fall short of a major strategy shift, as Israel may well seek an easy military victory over Syria. The aims would be, first, to dispel the bad impression after the foiled campaign in southern Lebanon; second, to enhance its bargaining power; and, third, to please Washington, which makes no secret of its wish to topple the unstable Assad regime. It’s not just the Americans who would like to see a regional shake-up. Paris has similar ambitions. It envisages a Lebanon divided into cantons that would enable the EU to set foot in the region. The argument presented to the Lebanese is that the deployment of an international force will thwart the threat of more Israeli attacks. France will probably try to entice the Shiite element by selling them a system of more representation. The situation is still vague – setting rules of deployment did little to clear things up. Questions abound. What would happen if the Israeli forces started hitting selective targets in order to prevent a transfer of weapons from Syria? Would the Shiite rebels respond by firing Katyusha missiles? And what about Hezbollah’s disarmament? It’s clear that despite the Security Council call, any attempt to disarm the rebels will spark a fresh round of violence. The French are holding a guarded position as they pursue a clearer framework. They fear that without the necessary clarifications, the peacekeeping force will be caught up amid conflicting political objectives that could tilt the situation out of control. Greece should not send troops before all sides agree on a set framework.

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