UnNews:France sends 200 soldiers to Lebanon, predicts victory
18 August 2006
|UnNews Audio (file info)|
|Listen to this story!|
MARSEILLES, France -- The war in Lebanon has given France the chance to shine again on the world stage. France is sending 200 of its soldiers to Lebanon, in response to a call from the United Nations for more countries to fight in the area. Lebanon was recently the site of a month-long conflict between Hezbollah, Israel, Russia, and Hell.
Many see the French as natural victors because of the historically strong seas between France and Lebanon.
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was able to deflect attention from domestic problems by focusing on the conflict in his traditional Bastille Day interview. "We plan to put 10 men on the border with Syria, 10 on the border with Israel, 30 in various southern Lebanese villages, 50 in Tyre, and 100 in a support role off the coast," he said. "We will be everywhere in Lebanon! We will build impregnable fortifications and achieve a military victory!"
The good publicity helped prime minister's opinion poll ratings rise by 5%. But the next stage may prove to be a far tougher test.
Some cast doubt that the planned force was large enough. A survey for the newspaper La Crois found that only seven French people supported the deployment of the force.
Speaking in Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said that 200 troops was not enough to pacify Lebanon. "The situation here might spiral into civil war."
But some are afraid of negative consequences back in France.
Some news agencies are carrying rumours that France is already planning to surrender. "I've seen what's been happening in NetHack," said a 42-year-old user agent. "I don't want the same here. Having France identify its possessions could leave it without enough bananas for victory."
Memories of Vietnam
French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie voiced concern about deploying troops without clearly defined goals. "The Germans have established a very clear objective for their forces in Lebanon. We have not. We are not planning to disarm Hezbollah, so what are we going to do?" She blamed the United Nations for not clarifying the purpose of the war.
The main political parties share such reservations. A member of the parliamentary financial committee belched, "We are only willing to pay for the deployment of 130 troops," suggesting that the United States or the European Union would fund the other 70.
Above all, France wants to avoid a situation where its own soldiers find themselves having to disarm Hezbollah fighters. "If you attack Beirut, our rockets will land on Paris," threatened Hassan Nasrallah.
- "France pledges 200 troops for Lebanon". BBC News, August 17, 2006
- AFP "More French troops for Lebanon". Aljazeera, August 18, 2006
- Hassan Nasrallah "Islamic resistance: Special site to cover news of the French aggression on Lebanon". Hezbollah, August 18, 2006