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High Level Assessment of Lebanon Shows Country Will Survive War

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An end to the Lebanese civil war is nowhere in sight but Lebanon will survive as a distinct entity in the Middle East according to a high level assessment made available here this week.

Other points in this assessment are that President Valery Giscard d’Estaing’s offer of French troops would not have entailed intervention in the fighting in Lebanon but was intended as a peace keeping force once the combatants had themselves reached agreement. As force could not settle the conflict, only political initiatives could be contemplated.

However, there is now a total deadlock, compounded of the conflicts between the Syrians and the Palestinians, the Palestinians the Lebanese, and among the different Palestinian groups, the reports said.

SYRIAN LIMITS ON INVOLVEMENT

After the failure of the Syrian-sponsored reform proposals earlier this year, Syria set a limit to its involvement in the Lebanese conflict for two reasons: firstly, it was inhibited by fear of a new war with Israel; secondly, Syria is now concentrating on extending its influence on the broader Arab stage by establishing close ties with Jordan and endeavoring to control all the Palestinians.

This is being resisted by the Palestinians in Lebanon who insist on asserting their own national identity. The international context is also unfavorable to a political settlement. The main interest of each of the two superpowers is that the other should not intervene. Only France, mainly for reasons of sentiment, has been active in trying to resolve the conflict with the abortive mediation missions of Couve de Murville and Georges Gorse and now the offer of token military detachments.

A joint Arab political initiative is cancelled out by the rivalries of the Arab states. Even if a point Arab military force did not provoke Israeli action, it would lead to fighting among the Arabs themselves.

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