Saturday, September 02, 2006

French Foreign Legion to the...?

In case anyone's wondering where the so-called UN Peacekeeping "forces" are and what they're doing, here's an update.

Soldiers of France's Foreign Legion, Second Engineering Regiment, hold part of a temporary bridge as they prepare to install it to replace the destroyed one in the town of Damour, south of Beirut, Lebanon, Sept. 1, 2006, that was attacked in an Israeli bombardment during the 34-day long Hezbollah-Israel war.

Some 245 French soldiers arrived at Beirut airport Sunday to help the Lebanese army rebuild bridges destroyed or damaged by Israeli air strikes during the Hezbollah-Israel war.

The French bridge building soldiers are in Lebanon as part of a bilateral agreement between France and Lebanon and will not be operating as part of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon known as UNIFIL, to which France has pledged to commit 2,000 troops. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

And the story Yahoo! News claims is "related"? Iran offers cooperation on Israel-Hizbollah truce. I can't even get past the headline without making a derisive sound, but if I could, the first paragraph of the article of this "related" story would have me laughing with disdain:
Iran is widely believed to be the main arms supplier for Hizbollah in Lebanon. Although Iran funded and armed Hizbollah in the 1980s, it now says its support is primarily moral and political.

By contrast, Germany is offering to patrol Lebanon's coast rather than send ground troops. Yet Israel asked Germany to provide fighting troops, and Germany refused. Isn't that a historical paradox, Ambassador to Germany Shimon Stein was asked.

"In a way, it is," he responded. "Prime Minister Olmert recognizes that this is a different Germany, which has proven, more than many other countries, that it has internalized the lessons of the Holocaust. But the Germans are unwilling to put themselves in a position where German armed soldiers might have to face, or even shoot, an Israeli soldier. They are accepting the burden of their history, even if we, at least in this instance, are willing to overlook it."

Good for the Germans. Never forget!! German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung was asked in a newspaper interview about reports that the German force would number about 1,200.

"This is still being agreed, particularly with the Lebanese government. But I expect that the number will probably be greater," Jung was quoted as saying in the Neue Presse daily on Thursday.

More on the German involvement in UNIFIL efforts from THE JERUSALEM POST.



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