IRELAND — is set to turn down, for the first time, a United Nations call for peacekeeping troops following intelligence that there is little prospect of a permanent ceasefire in Lebanon and that the Hizbollah will refuse to disarm. In today’s Sunday Independent, Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea said he will not be sending soldiers into a conflict zone where they would be in ‘mortal danger’. The decision by Ireland, whose Army has had the longest continuous UN peacekeeping service in the war-torn region, could well have wider repercussions for the proposed peacekeeping mission as other Western nations who have traditionally provided vital support back away from the proposed mission. The Sunday Independent has learned that in-depth analysis of the situation in Lebanon by the Defence Forces and the Departments of Defence and Foreign Affairs has led to the conclusion that the area is far from settled and that war could easily break out again. Four UN observers were killed during the month-long conflict. During the outbreak, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) came under pressure as Hizbollah adopted a tactic of launching attacks from beside UN bases, provoking the Israelis to return fire, […]

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