Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hezbollah & UNIFIL: The need for a more "robust" mandate!

"...One of the major problems, despite the explicit language in UNSCR 1701 calling for the UN to stop weapons from entering this area of operation, is that UNIFIL has no presence on the border between Syria and Lebanon -- the route used by Hizballah to transport weapons and materiel into Lebanon. Syria was the main opponent to placing troops there and threatened to close its border with Lebanon should the UN follow through with this proposal. When the idea was floated, Syrian president Bashar al-Asad announced that such a deployment would be considered "a hostile act" by the Syrian regime
The Lebanese government and UNIFIL both responded weakly to the exercise, even though it was clearly intended to demonstrate that Hizballah was in charge. ....The feeble UNIFIL response to the exercise is consistent with its broader pattern since 2006 of avoiding escalation of the situation. ....Clearly UNIFIL has not fulfilled its obligation of helping to restore Beirut's writ in the south, disarming Hizballah and other groups, or stopping the flow of arms. And now that Hizballah has reentered the Lebanese cabinet and reasserted its political power in Beirut, the issue of the organization's disarmament has been shelved indefinitely.... To change the cautious and ineffective nature of the current deployment, pressure needs to be applied to the governments contributing troops to UNIFIL. Fearing the implications of provoking Hizballah, however, it is unlikely that UN member states would be willing to more aggressively patrol southern Lebanon..."

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