There’s much discussion of putting a multinational, NATO-led force in southern Lebanon as part of a ceasefire agreement in the Israel-Lebanon conflict, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, according to a story in the Washington Post, has said that she does “not think that it is anticipated that U.S. ground forces . . . are expected for that force.” However, a well-connected former CIA officer has told me that the Bush Administration is in fact considering exactly such a deployment.
The officer, who had broad experience in the Middle East while at the CIA, noted that NATO and European countries, including England, have made clear that they are either unwilling or extremely reluctant to participate in an international force. Given other nations’ lack of commitment, any “robust” force–between 10,000 and 30,000 troops, according to estimates being discussed in the media–would by definition require major U.S. participation.