Peacekeepers for Lebanon

Aug 3rd, 2006, in News, by

The media, and apparently some politicians and generals, keep insisting, with much enthusiasm, that an Indonesian armed peacekeeping force will shortly be sent to Lebanon.

A litany of reports have appeared stating that the Indonesian military is in the advanced stages of preparing to send a force (touched on in Israel & Lebanon II, 31st July). The latest one, from Tempo, reads as if the matter is a foregone conclusion.

The Military Area Command of Jakarta Raya (Kodam Jaya) is preparing 46 armoured cars to support Indonesian peacekeeping troops that will be sent to Lebanon.

Brigadier General Darpito Pudyastungkoro, the Chief of Staff of Kodam Jaya, is waiting on the news from HQ.

For the time being, according to Darpito, Kodam Jaya is waiting for the Indonesian Military (TNI) Headquarters to announce when the troops will leave.

Separately, TNI commander Air Marshal Djoko Suyanto said that the TNI has prepared 600 officers experienced in the Bonggo and Bosnia wars as the peacekeeping troops under the name of the United Nations (UN) in the Middle East.

Their experience in the Bonggonese war will no doubt serve them well.

Indosiar also thinks it’s certain.

The TNI commander said that a peacekeeping force that will be sent to Lebanon and Palestine will be composed of Marines and Strategic Reserve units. The 600 men who will leave for the middle east have ability in peacekeeping operations.
(Panglima TNI menyatakan pasukan perdamaian yang akan dikirim ke Lebanon dan Palestina, terdiri dari pasukan Marinir dan Kostrad. Ke-600 personil TNI yang akan diberangkatkan ke Timur Tengah itu memiliki kemampuan peace keeping operation atau operasi penjagaan perdamaian.)

Long term plans are being made Marshal Suyanto:

The commander added that the peacekeeping force being prepared would do a tour of duty of one year at the most before being withdrawn or replaced by other units.
(Panglima menambahkan pasukan penjaga perdamaian yang dipersiapkan akan menjalankan tugas paling lama satu tahun, sebelum ditarik atau diganti pasukan lain.)

Other reports take seriously the prospect that a partisan organisation like the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), and its member states’ armies, will ever be allowed anywhere near Lebanon. Liputan6 says:

The OIC will send a Muslim force to Lebanon under the auspices of a UN force. Israel was also urged to investigate the possibility of war crimes having been committed.
(Organisasi Konferensi Islam bakal mengirim pasukan muslim ke Lebanon yang bernaung bersama pasukan keamanan PBB. Israel juga didesak untuk menginvestigasi kemungkinan adanya kejahatan perang.)

Fantasy. The same report repeats the habit of Indonesian media of referring to Israel as the “Zionist state”. The foreign minister, Hassan Wirajuda, is more level headed however and stated yesterday that any Indonesian force sent would be under the command of the UN not the OIC.

Although it may come to pass nevertheless no mention has been made of Indonesia in any international circles when likely candidates for the job in Lebanon are discussed. If any peacekeeping force were to be sent it would ultimately have to rely on European/Nato troops, and substantial American assistance. A semi third world country like Indonesia with an army that has never distinguished itself in anything but doing business deals and making money is hardly likely to be at the top of anyone’s list of troop-donor countries for such a difficult and sensitive task.

The immaturity of the Indonesian media and military in consistently going about saying that the sending of the army to Lebanon is imminent beggars belief, and is proof positive that Indonesia, despite the title of this website, is a provincial place far from the sobering experiences that being close to world events brings. It also raises questions about the future of Indonesian foreign policy and its long term relationship with traditional allies like America. The Lebanese issue has seen the willingness of many to cleave to the Muslim unity phantom and there is certainly more than a touch of belligerence in the “peacekeeping” idea, often it seems that the real motivation is one of going to war against Israel.


One Comment on “Peacekeepers for Lebanon”

  1. avatar Rockstar says:

    “It also raises questions about the future of Indonesian foreign policy and its long term relationship with traditional allies like America. The Lebanese issue has seen the willingness of many to cleave to the Muslim unity phantom and there is certainly more than a touch of belligerence in the “peacekeeping” idea, often it seems that the real motivation is one of going to war against Israel.”

    Nobody knows exactly what the intention really is. But I could not agree with you more on this. I do have sympathy for both countries but we have no business at all there.

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