Since February 2009 , this blog and Huib's 3 other Euroblogs are together at:

- In Europa Zu Hause [DE]
- L'Europe Chez Soi [FR]
- At Home in Europe [EN]
- In Europa Thuis [NL]

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

EU: A common policy for the Middle East, before sending troops!

Next Wednesday, August 23, an EU-meeting in Brussels will deal with the conditions for a military contribution by European countries to Unifil II, the "robust" UN force to be deployed in South Lebanon.

A blessing in disguise, this face-saving manoeuver.

An eager France, during the dealings in the Security Council, hoped to resurrect its colonial role in Lebanon, to suppress Hizbollah and reinstaure the "Lebanon de Papa", its ninteenth century protectorate, led by a Maronite élite.
But the French Army, who did not forget its Bosnian frustrations and aware of the carnage in 1983 of 88 French parachutists in Beirut at a similar ill-defined "peace"-mission in Beirut (Le Monde, 21/8/06: Les réticences des miltaires français, hantés par le syndrôme 'Drakkar'), revolted.
And, what is more: French Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy, on visit in Beirut, had to accept, that the whole Lebanese political spectrum is against disarming its coalition partner Hizbollah. After 15 years of civil war, national unity has become a priority for all Lebanese factions, Hizbollah not excluded, as it has shown convincingly during the so-called Cedar Revolution of last year.

Without the Lebanese, the French would find themselves doing the dirty work for Bush and the NeoCons, as a temporary replacement for Likud. The French are proud and stubborn, but not silly.
So they called, too late, "Europe" to save their faces.
Which means, that, for some wrong reasons, the problem has been transferred to the only forum, where it belongs. No hard feelings, please. Let's see what opportunities this offers.

Neither France, nor the UK, and certainly not Italy or Spain, could handle this situation on their own. Maybe, the EU as a whole, can.

But it is necessary, then, that a common EU-policy for the Near-East is laid down first.

For, without a framework of a common political objective, a military operation is senseless, counterproductive and doomed to turn into a great failure. It would help in one way or another those people who actually have an agenda for the Middle East, that is to say, the Bush administration and/or Israel. There are only two days to go until Wednesday. A short time. Too short?

An EU-roadmap
UNSC Resolution 1701could become a foundation for an EU roadmap. A programme ("process") of mutual steps in the direction of a stabilisation of this part of the Middle East.
1. Demilitarisation of the area south of the Litani river as a condition for redeployment of the Israeli Army 15 KMs from the Lebanese border.
2.Restitution of the Shebaa Farms as a condition for swapping hostages.
These small steps could be monitored and secured by the projected UN army, it is strong enough for that, not for controlling the Hizbollah armament at this moment.
In the mean time, restart of the Israel-Palestine Roadmap. Work with the Fatah-Hamas coalition.
But an EU-policy for the region will have to deal with Syria also:
3. The Avi Dichter (Haaretz today) proposals for an arrangement on the Golan Heights with Syria.
4. Guaranteeing Israel's borders with Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, with an effective border-control by the greater Unifil II (25.000). A control, that guarantees both sides of the border.

In order to stabilize really the region, a nuclear disarmament of Israel (and the whole M-E) would be unavoidable. Here, only an intervention with the USA could bring a solution.

But the procedural steps mentioned before, lie within the power of a solid EU, alone, without American support, or even more or less against it. Important will be an effort to engage Turkey into the EU effort. The Turks have diplomatic, military, economic and nuclear relations with Israel.
Their army is well-equipped and competent, and, something that is not often discussed, their nuclear capabilities are strong enough, to neutralize an eventual Israele nuclear blackmail.
Maar de voorgaande stappen liggen binnen de macht van een gezamenlijk optredende EU.

In this way, an UN-covered strategic intervention by the EU, could secure the state of Israel step by step, and secure other countries in the region as well.
It would offer an opportunity to realize the Cohn-Bendit plan to have Joschka Fischer as an omniguarantee between Israel and its neighbours, including Palestine.

Wednesday, this could start, in Brussels.

Translingual crossposted to L'Europe Chez Soi, In Europa Thuis, In Europa Zuhause and

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