European Force of 7,000 to be Deployed
Israeli Blockade Strangles Lebanon
The illegal Israeli blockade of civilian Lebanese ports continues to inflict massive damage on Lebanon and on ordinary Lebanese from all walks of life. The United States more or less supports this strangling of the little country.
Illegal Israeli cluster bombs go on harming innocent Lebanese. Five were blown up on Saturday, including 4 children.
Israel’s illegal air raid on a major oil refinery, which produced the worst environmental disaster in the history of the Eastern Mediterranean, has profoundly harmed Lebanese fishermen.
Italy is now planning to send between 2,000 and 3,000 troops for the peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon. France will send 2000 “within 20 days.” Spain will send almost 1,000. Germany may well join in at that level, too.
Israel has vetoed Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia, not in the legal sense. But as the regional superpower it does have a say. The Israelis would prefer Turkey, Egypt and Jordan as contributors. But I can tell you right now that isn’t going to happen. Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah II cannot afford to be seen by their publics as cracking down on Hizbullah on behalf of Israel. As for Turkey, it is being rejected by the Armenian members of the Lebanese government and parliament [Ar.].
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora says he wants to see Hizbullah integrated into the Lebanese army.
Dick Norton and Thomas Milo on the difficulties facing UN peacekeepers in Lebanon. Both have practical experience on the ground in south Lebanon peacekeeping.
Dozens of local Labour Party activists in Derby have defected to the Liberal Democrats. Most of them are Muslims of South Asian ancestry. They were protesting the Labor Party’s strong support of Israel in the recent war on Lebanon. The move is especially embarrassing to Labour because Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett is elected from Derby.
Britain has 1.6 million Muslims in a population of 61 million, and most of the politically active in the community have tended to vote Labor. PM Tony Blair, an evangelical close to George W. Bush on foreign policy, may have started a historic realignment whereby UK Muslims identify with Britain’s third party, the Lib Dems. As Muslims become more politicized and the second and third generations become more integrated, they could emerge as an important swing vote, causing parties to compete for them. Such a dynamic would likely have a significant effect on Britain’s foreign policy.