A tough week is ahead for the Lebanese Government to sustain the ceasefire. The Israeli raid in Baalbeck area in Eastern Lebanon last Saturday proved that the ceasefire was indeed very fragile. Fearing escalations and with blurred objectives of its mission, the Lebanese Army halted its deployment in the South. The Army will probably continue to deploy in accord with a gentleman’s agreement with Hezbollah to go underground for the time-being until further dialogue is initiated to achieve Siniora’s objective of ‘one government one gun’.
The French withdrawal from participating and leading the peacekeeping force in South Lebanon
has also added to the fragility of the situation. France
will only participate in 600 soldiers - mostly engineers - a symbolic gesture compared to Chirac’s earlier pledge of sending thousands of troops. It is apparent that not agreeing on clear ‘rules of engagement
’ for this peacekeeping force halted the French participation as well as other European states. This could definitely risk the implementation of 1701
resolution and could lead to renewed violence. Among the European states, only Italy
is sending a large number of troops and will most probably lead the force.
The next few days are decisive to show if the ceasefire will go in effect or it was only a recess to prepare for ths second round.
Meantime, people of South Lebanon, get used to pronouncing tagliatelle.