Friday, August 18, 2006

UNIFIL as a Window Dressing

Fire of Liberty

As I noted in a previous, the UN's efforts to provide an adequate UNIFIL force in Lebanon is falling on its face because the crafters of UN Resolution 1701 have failed to provide a clear mandate for the forces entering Lebanon. Any nation would be foolish to think about sending its troops into a climate like southern Lebanon in which Hezbollah is threatening to make Beirut of 1983 look like child's-play especially when these forces are restricted on what they can do to respond to such threats. What's even worse is that the UN leadership(Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown) is unwilling to face the fact that Hezbollah is not a militia but is a terrorist group that is willing to kill or do anything necessary to achieve their goals. To really understand how the UNIFIL forces will be mere window dressings rather than being an active partner in the disarmament of Hezbollah, you should check out Benny Avni's"U.N. Is Scrambling to Rescue Mission as France Falters" in the New York Sun. The thing that stuck out the most for me and reminds me the dangers of entering into a multi-national peacekeeping force under a UN banner is the most is what keeps on coming out of U.N. deputy secretary-general Marc Malloch Brown's office. Here's just a brief look:
The confusion about the role of the force was not made easier by Mr. Malloch Brown, who tried to describe what he called "prudently designed rules of engagement." The force, he said, would be "non-offensive in character," but the rules would allow troops "to robustly use force, if it's necessary."

There would be "no large scale disarmament of Hezbollah," he said, but rather "policing a political agreement."
I guess you get such responses from folks like Mark Malloch Brown who fails to identify Hezbollah as a terrorist group by insisting that they're mere militias. No wonder France or other nations are unwilling to commit the life and limbs of their soldiers into areas that they can't fully protect themselves from. If the UN was really wanting to disarm Hezbollah and end the problem once and for all, then they should have laid out a rock-solid mandate that provides the UNIFIL forces with the authority to apply an aggressive and offensive posture towards Hezbollah rather than just sitting in the middle of a free-fire zone in which the Lebanese army(Who wouldn't or couldn't enforce 1559) are supposed to be their sole protectors. I guess that's what you get when you do things via the UN, which is sad for the people of Lebanon and Israel who suffer under the deadly hands of Hezbollah.

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