Last week, one of the central aspects of UN Resolution 1701, referring to sending troops to a “security zone” in southern Lebanon, began to be implemented. The resolution, promoted by France and the US and custom-made for the Zionist state, seeks to create a force to cover Israel’s back, after its military defeat. The new UN troops will reinforce the 15,000 soldiers of the Lebanese Army and the UNIFIL contingent (UN Interim Force in Lebanon), which has been there since 1978. France, Italy and Spain will contribute the biggest contingents, while other, smaller contingents will be sent by Germany, Greece and Finland. In case proof of the fact that the resolution is scandalously pro-Zionist is lacking, it will be up to the State of Israel to make the final decision on who does or does not participate in the international force, by virtually vetoing countries it considers hostile. This is shown by its declarations against Malaysia and Indonesia, countries with a Muslim majority, with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations, that offered troops.
In this way, Chirac, Rodríguez Zapatero and Prodi are adapting to the political and security needs of the US, by doing the dirty work, since the US army is very committed to the imperialist occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last week, France’s announcement that it would send only 200 soldiers, caused the imperialists to worry, since France is the country that will lead the international force until February, 2007.
President Chirac immediately made it clear that he was not disputing the presence of troops, but that “it would have been irresponsible to make a decision that put the lives of French soldiers at risk” (Washington Post, August 28). Once Kofi Annan made it clear that the troops will be able to use force in certain circumstance, France confirmed that it would send 2,000 soldiers.
Rodríguez Zapatero, famous for withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq, who acted as “mediator” during the negotiations, by asking repeatedly for a ceasefire, did not think twice before increasing the imperialist forces with 1,000 [Spanish] soldiers.
The government of Prodi in Italy was already supporting US imperialism in the first round of negotiations. In the unsuccessful conference of Rome, Prodi’s Foreign Relations Minister, Massimo D’Alema, had backed the motion by Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State, to create a “new Middle East.” This government, that proclaims itself as center-left and criticized ex-President Berlusconi for involving Italy in the invasion of Iraq (but did not do anything), announced that it would send the biggest contingent to Lebanon, with up to 3,000 soldiers (while it joins Spain in intervening in Afghanistan). The scandalous silence of Rifondazione Comunista, when faced with this measure, which shows its complete integration into Prodi’s government and its passage with weapons and baggage into the camp of social imperialism, deserves special mention. Rifondazione Comunista already had an embarrassing attitude during Prodi’s previous government, when it refused to withdraw parliamentary support when Prodi was sending troops to put down the uprising in Albania in 1997 (the defeat of this uprising permitted the advancement of capitalist restoration).
The UN international force only serves to legitimize intervention by imperialism in the Middle East. Those who are preparing to occupy southern Lebanon show that when it comes to guaranteeing the reactionary order in the region, there are no substantial differences among them. More than ever, it is necessary to fight for the withdrawal of all imperialist troops, whether they have UN backing or not, from the entire Middle East. The students, youth and workers that mobilized against the occupation of Iraq, and those who also demonstrated against the Zionist attack on the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples, can play an active role by opposing their own governments, in order to prevent the sending of troops.
Imperialist troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the whole Middle East!