Friday, August 25, 2006

Lebanese Peacekeeper Roulette

I give up. First I heard that France would be sending 'thousands' of peacekeepers to Lebanon. Then I heard that President Chirac decided to send only 200 troops because a large number of troops would be too big a target.

Then I heard that ten French troops actually showed up on the Lebanese shore from a French warship. Later, that number was revised to fifty and called an advance engineering force and Chirac upped his contribution to 400 troops total.

There was so much criticism that it was then reported that France committed to sending 2,000 troops to Lebanon, which was revised downward to 1,600 troops, then bumped up to 1,700.

Now I hear that Chirac is back to the 400-troop level and he considers a peacekeeping force of 15,000 to be excessive.

Frankly, I beginning to believe that French President Jacques Chirac has one of those magic 8-balls. Prior to making a public statement he shakes it and it tells him what to say.

Meanwhile, with presumably more reliable information, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said today that he would initially send 302 peacekeeping troops with the number rising later to 394.

As a result, it's impossible to chart progress toward the deployment of an actual peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

Orig. at Interested-Participant.