Thursday, August 17, 2006

In the Middle East, The French Can Be So...British

A quickie history lesson from Fox News on why the French are interested in taking the lead in the peacekeeping force in Lebanon--their historic ties there:

When the Ottoman Empire was dismantled at the end of World War I, the League of Nations carved up the Middle East, giving the area that is now Syria and Lebanon to the French in 1920, making France the mandatory power there — much like Britain was made the mandatory power of what was then Palestine. The French then carved Lebanon out of Syria — placing the Lebanese Christians, who were the majority, into positions of power.
France apparently shared the same arrogance as Great Britain in arbitrarily carving up land that was given them to control and in the process created the Syrian-Lebanese conflict we have today.

Ultimately, France wants to play with the big boys:

France would also like to lead the peacekeeping force and push through a cease-fire at the U.N. to gain stature with its Arab allies, raising its stance as a defender of Arab interests as compared with the U.S., which is perceived by Arab states to be always siding with Israel.
Gain stature with its Arab allies? Sure, like the snot-nosed kid who tries to ingratiate himself with the bullies on the block so he can be cool too--not realizing how despised he is by them.

There are countries that take the lead in the world...and then there is France.

Vive la difference!

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