Peacekeeping: March 15, 2005


France is again indulging in some stealthy peacekeeping. For the last three weeks, the French command ship Var has been sitting off Lebanon, coordinating plans for the evacuation of French citizens from Lebanon. This would involve moving some 20,000 people out of the country, by sea, air and land. This would require two or three battalions of elite troops (marines, paratroopers and commandoes), and some of these may already be in the area. Some French troops are already ashore and establishing "liaison" relationships with Lebanese civil and military organizations. While the French are seen as pro-Christian by the Moslem factions in Lebanon, the French are also respected as a foreign country that respects Lebanese interests. This means that France could play a role in preventing another Lebanese civil war, especially one that involved the issue of Syrian troops, and influence, in the country. But most importantly, the French are doing all of this very quietly, so as not to enrage any of the already irritated factions in the area. 


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