Back to the Future in Southern Lebanon?

Despite recent statements, internationl involvement in Lebanon is far from being a done deal. Therefore, Israel may be stuck in Lebanon without an ability to withdraw and with the continuation of fire

Discussions in the international arena are focusing on the formation of a multinational force to be deployed in Southern Lebanon. Meetings will be held today in Rome among 18 nations and UN representatives, with the expressed purpose of determining the mandate and composition of this force. Despite what seems to be an international consensus regarding the need to send international troops to Lebanon, the realization of such an involvement may not be within reach. Therefore, Israeli political achievements from the current fightings may be compromised due to the following reasons:

  • Hizbullah's rejection – it is not likely that the Hizbullah will agree to a truce that includes the presence of a multilateral force in Southern Lebanon. Without its consent, the prosects for effective deployment of an international force are dim.
  • No volunteers – it may be difficult to find countries that are willing to send troops into Lebanon. France and Egypt, that were mentioned as possible participators in such a force, rejected this option today.

The Reut Institute contends that this combination of factors indicates that Israel may find itself stuck in the quagmire of Lebanon:

  • With no ability to end the confrontation with Hizbullah;
  • without a clear political achievement; and
  • without an ability to reach such an achievement.

In other words, Israel may be stuck in a Lebanese territory without an ability to withdraw and with the continuation of fire.