As a man who delights in expressing himself when he has an opinion, I’ve found it difficult to do a follow-up to my initial piece on United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1701 as I have such mixed feelings about this new UN mandate. While I doubt, given the track record of the United Nations, it will succeed, I see some hope in the Security Council’s unity in wanting to see Hezbollah disarmed, its recognition that Hezbollah is responsible for the war.
My biggest concerns about the resolution are that it failed to demand the release of the two Israeli soldiers whom Hezbollah kidnapped and that it failed to give the United Nations peacekeepers Chapter Seven powers to use force to enforce its demands that the terror organization disarm.
That said, I do not agree with those who see this resolution as an unmitigated disaster. It does build on Resolution 1559 in insisting that Hezbollah be disarmed. And while the previous resolution passed with only 9 votes (the minimum needed for passage of a Security Council resolution), all 15 Council members supported 1701. Every member-nation of the Council is now on record in support of disarming Hezbollah within Lebanon.
If a resolution were such a disaster for Israel, Lebanon would not be balking at its terms. According to the latest reports, the Lebanese army will not be asking the terror organization “to hand over its weapons.” Opponents of the resolution understood that this might happen, fearing the Lebanese government would not succeed in fulfilling the Resolution’s mandate to disarm Hezbollah.
Captain Ed believes Israel must make “sure that Beirut can take control of their own territory before they withdraw back across the Blue Line.” I agree. Unless Hezbollah is disarmed, the Lebanese government has not met it obligations under 1701 and Israel can maintain its forces in Lebanon.
Given the UN’s track record, I dare say the Secretary General will condemn Israel should its forces remain in Lebanon as they wait for the Lebanese Army to fulfill 1701 and disarm the Hezbollah terrorists. And he would mute his criticism of Lebanon and the terror organization.
While I don’t agree with those who say that this resolution amounts to a victory for Hezbollah, I don’t think it was a victory for Israel either. Under more resolute leadership, Israel might have been more aggressive in its offensive and overwhelmed Hezbollah in South Lebanon, severely weakening the organization and strengthening the hand of the other parties in the Lebanese government.
In short, Israel didn’t lose this war, so much as it was deprived of a convincing victory over Hezbollah. Had the Security Council delayed consideration of the Resolution for another week, Israel would have been able to more completely degrade Hezbollah’s forces and clean out more territory. Hezbollah wouldn’t be asking the Lebanese army to promise “not to probe too carefully for underground bunkers and weapons caches” because Israel would have already destroyed those bunkers and captured those weapons.
I am not yet as pessimistic as others on the Right are about 1701. It seems, however, to be a temporary solution, almost guaranteeing a further conflict down the road. At least, in that war, Israel will be better prepared to face its foe. But, war, even when necessary, is horrible. And the real failure of this resolution is not that it amounts to a defeat of Israel, but that the United Nations hasn’t done what it necessary to prevent further violence in the same region.
In time we’ll come to see who is the most disadvantaged by Israel’s failure to achieve a decisive victory in the current conflict. I’m just hoping Captain Ed‘s right and it’s Hezbollah.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com