***UPDATE: If it’s up to Kofi, then it looks like 1701 is doomed to fail. The Secretary General says the operation (mentioned below) violated the cease-fire. I guess Annan just wants a cessation of hostilities rather than respect for the terms of the agreement.
That’s the bad news. The good news is the Administration’s resolve to enforce UN mandates:
The White House declined to criticize the Israeli operation, noting that Israel said it acted in reaction to arms smuggling into Lebanon and that the U.N. resolution calls for the prevention of any weapons resupply for Hezbollah.
It looks like the test of the West’s resolve and Kofi Annan’s commitment to the principles of the United Nations (UN) and the mandates of its resolutions on the disarming of militias in Lebanon has come sooner than I anticipated. Israel launched a commando raid into the Lebanese town of Baalbek to “prevent the smuggling of arms to Hizbullah” (link via Pajamas). As rearmament of Hezbollah is a violation of UN Resolution 1701, such smuggling means that terror group — and those responsible for providing arms to it — has breached the agreement.
Now that “Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora phoned UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to protest“, the Secretary General has the chance to show his stuff by making clear that the resolution calls for Hezbollah’s disarmament and condemning attempts to resupply the terror group. And recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense if the resolution is breached.
That Israel continues to take defensive actions indicates that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recognizes that 1701 does not call for an unconditional cease-fire. And confirms my view that the resolution is not entirely bad. As Captain Ed wrote, “If [Hezbollah Chief] Nasrallah balks, then Israel will have a green light and a wide window to finish the job, and they will have lost very little in the hours it will take for the gambit to play to its conclusion.”
And it’s not just Hezbollah’s leaders who appears to be balking. Another man not known for keeping his word, French President Jacques Chirac, has pledged only 400 French troops to the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon. “France had been widely expected to increase its contribution to UNIFIL after the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution drafted by France and the U.S. last Friday.” The UN “is disappointed with the French contribution” (link via Captain Ed).
As the UN-brokered cease-fire is beginning to come apart, it’s becoming increasingly clear which parties take UN Resolutions seriously and which parties see them merely as opportunities for self-congratulation.
Along with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Chirac is concerned about “the rules of engagement” for troops operating under the Resolution. Before sending troops, Prodi asked Annan for “a clear mandate, without any ambiguity and with very precise rules of engagement, for the soldiers who will be deployed.”
The ball is now in Kofi Annan’s court. It’s up to him to make 1701 effective. Yesterday, I expressed some hope that he might stand up for the good principles set forth in this flawed resolution. Will the Secretary General condemn Hezbollah — and the nations attempting to resupply its guerillas? Will he set forth clear rules of engagement, allowing troops deployed in southern Lebanon to disarm those militias operating in violation of a number of UN resolutions?
If Annan does not condemn Hezbollah and muster an international force (and define clear rules of engagement for them), hostilities will resume. But, this time it will not only be Hezbollah who will be responsible for the violence, but the Secretary General as well. For he will have failed to stand up for a resolution that he had long been eager to see passed.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com