Why Is Malaysia So Keen To Commit Our Armed Forces In Lebanon?
Given the opposition by the Israelis, wouldn't insistence on sending our army there, amount to exposing our troops to more danger than that which already exists for UN peacekeepers? What is to prevent the Israelis from unfairly targeting our men in blue, as they would the Hezbollah, since our presence was not welcomed by them from the beginning? Remember that they have an awesome, sophisticated arsenal. Therefore it would be a reasonable assumption that there will be many body bags returning home if we still insist on travelling this path.
Now comes the larger question; why are we so keen to enter Lebanon? Is it to establish our Islamic credentials? Are we desperate to show the world that we are as Muslim as the true Muslim majority countries like those in West Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and our giant neighbour Indonesia? Frankly there is no shame in being an 'Islamic' country where a little less than half of the population is non-Muslim. (Unless you wish to believe our Census Board who'll probably put that figure at less than 20%!)
Or perhaps as the current Chairperson of the OIC, the Prime Minister feels that we have to be seen to make a bid to get our men into the peacekeeping force? Of course the best way is for us to make a couple of attempts and then throw up our hands and say "guys, we tried. But the bloody Israelis won't have us and the cowardly UN is no help either. However we shall keep at it. Cheers."
However if the government is hell-bent (pun intended) to send our military in, then one way to convince the Israelis would be to assure the UN that we shall send only non-Muslim troops. I don't think they should have any objections. (I wonder if our chaps would have any objections to that though!!) After all what reasons can the Israelis give for refusing UN peacekeepers who are Malaysian Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs? Our military forces are disciplined professionals, irrespective of their ethnic group or religion, and if sending non-Muslims is the only way to fulfil our government's desire for our army to serve in Lebanon, so be it.
Also please read: Annan to decide on Malaysian peacekeeping mission