LOOKING FOR TROOPS….Via Josh Marshall, the Forward reports that the Bush administration is pushing for the creation of a multinational force to patrol Lebanon and disarm Hezbollah:
During a briefing with senior officials at several major Jewish organizations, Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams reportedly said that a multinational force in Lebanon would have to be ?combat ready,? authorized and appropriately equipped to engage Hezbollah militarily if needed. Such a force, he said, would also have to patrol not only Lebanon?s border with Israel but also Lebanon?s border with Syria, to prevent smuggling of weapons to Hezbollah. In addition, such a force would have to observe Lebanon?s sea and air ports to make sure that Iran is not rearming Hezbollah, Abrams reportedly said.
This is fascinating. At a guess, something this ambitious would take a minimum of seven or eight combat brigades plus associated support and logistics. Call it 40,000 troops in round numbers.
The United States has previously said that it won’t be able to participate in this because our troops are tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UN can’t help since it deals only in peacekeeping missions, not combat missions. None of the troops can come from Middle Eastern countries, of course. NATO troops are largely committed to Afghanistan, and Europe has in any case been notably reluctant to commit combat troops to either the Middle East or Africa.
What’s needed here are (a) large numbers of (b) quickly deployable (c) combat troops. Offhand, I can’t think of anyplace this could come from. Am I missing something?