France dissuaded Israel from opening a large-scale military operation against Lebanon in response to the border incident which killed Ltc. Dov Harari, the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Wednesday.The Al Asharq article is here.
French sources told the paper that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had informed French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner that "Israel intends on opening a large-scale military operation to educate the Lebanese Army and avenge the death of the senior Israeli officer."
This allegedly led to high-rank contacts involving French President Nicolas Sarkozy, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as Egyptian, Jordanian and other Arab state officials.
According to the report, the pressure managed to defuse tensions and prevent another northern campaign.
I don't think that Israel was going to invade - but I think it is entirely possible that Barak threatened to do so, in order to get France and the US to take a second look at exactly who they are supporting when they send weapons to the LAF and to encourage them to curtail such arms transfers in a deal to avoid having the trigger-happy, reckless IDF overreact.
Hey, if the world is convinced that the IDF starts wars at the drop of a hat, then why not use that to diplomatic advantage? The Arabs use the same tactic to pressure the West all the time (saying that if they don't get their way, the unpredictable and dangerous "Arab street" will rise up and cause big problems.) The threat of acting irrationally is a very effective tool when applied correctly.
(h/t Islamo-nazism blog)