After much debate and dithering, a new international force for Lebanon is finally taking shape. The UN still has a way to go to raise the maximum number of peacekeepers authorised in the Security Council resolution. But Europe has shown it is willing to play a key role. Italy is sending up to 3,000 troops, with 2,000 from France, some 1,200 from Spain, 500 from Poland and around 400 from Belgium.
UN officials want the Europeans alongside a sizeable Muslim component in the expanded force, which is to work with 15,000 Lebanese troops being deployed in the south. Malaysia, Indonesia and Nepal have offered contingents, while Turkey and Bangladesh are considering doing so.