Sunday, August 22, 2010

Other Than The Fact It Cannot Do Its Job--"There Are No Obstacles" To Renewing UNIFIL In Lebanon

Great news--looks like UNIFIL will be sticking around another year for Hezbollah to kick around to keep the peace and keep Hezbollah from rearming:
The Security Council is expected to address this issue of extending the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon ( UNIFIL) at the end of the month.

UNIFIL commander General Alberto Asarta expected the U.N. Security Council to extend UNIFIL term for another year.

During an interview with al Mustaqbal newspaper Asarta stressed : “There are no obstacles preventing it from renewing UNIFIL’s term.”

He said : “The renewal will respect U.N. resolution 1701 and there are no plans to change the troops’ rules of engagement.

1701 is a UN Security Council resolution that was intended to end the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.
That sounds all well and good, until the article actually tells you more about what UNIFIL's job actually is:
The Resolution demanded
- Full cessation of hostilities
- Israel to withdraw all of its forces from Lebanon in parallel with Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers deploying throughout the South
- Hezbollah to be disarmed
- Full control of Lebanon by the government of Lebanon
- No paramilitary forces, including (and implying) Hezbollah, will be south of the Litani River
Apparently, the UN is using a copy of the same map that Hezbollah was using last year when the arms cache being stored in the home of a Hezbollah operative exploded:
Hizbullah defied the maps Wednesday and claimed that the rocket explosion that reportedly killed five of its terrorists near Tyre two days ago occurred north of the Litani River, outside the zone where UNIFIL forces have authority. The claim was made by Hizbullah political leaders, according to Voice of Israel government radio.

The large explosion rocked the house of senior Hizbullah operative Said Issa, which was being used as an arms cache for the terrorist organization. The house was located in Tayr Filsay, a village approximately 15 km east of the coastal city of Tyre, clearly inside the zone and south of the Litani River, and about 10 kilometers north of the so-called "Blue Line" -- the military boundary with Israel set by the United Nations.
Here is video provided by the IDF of Hezbollah cleaning up after the explosion in Tayr Filsay:
On October 12, 2009, there was an explosion at a Hezbollah weapons storehouse in Tayr Filsay, in southern Lebanon. This aerial footage, taken shortly after the explosion, shows Hezbollah operatives closing down the area around the warehouse, driving in two trucks and removing weaponry from the site. They then took the weapons to a known weapons storage facility in the center of the village of Dir a-Nahar about four kilometers away. Only after Hezbollah removed the weaponry did they allow UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army to enter the site of the explosion. The IDF has submitted the footage to UNIFIL to aid in their investigation of the incident.

The IDF also pinpointed other locations where Hezbollah has been able to rearm under UNIFIL's nose.

Keep in mind that General Alberto Asarta said:
there are no plans to change the troops’ rules of engagement.
That is significant since the limitations placed on the UN force--at the request of Hezbollah and Lebanon--prevent it from enforcing UN Resolution 1701 and being a peacekeeping force, reducing it to something very different.

The new force is expected to operate under Article 7 of the UN Charter, granting it enforcement authority. Its troops will be authorized to open fire in order to carry out Security Council resolutions, not just in self-defense. UNIFIL, whose mandate is based on Article 6 of the UN Charter, has no such authority. Its role is one of observing and reporting.
The resolution authorises the UN force, known by its acronym Unifil, to take "all necessary action" to stop the area it patrols from being using for any kind of hostile activities.

But in a significant concession to the Lebanese it will still have a traditional peacekeeping mandate, under Chapter 6 of the UN charter.

A Chapter 7 mandate, which Israel had wanted, allows troops to use military force to enforce peace.
How a unit reduced to observing and reporting can seriously be referred to as a peacekeeping unit is unclear, as this video illustrates:

So when Asarta claims:
There are no obstacles preventing it from renewing UNIFIL’s term.
...he is obviously not looking very hard.

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