Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Assad rejects UN troops on Lebanon - Syria border

The chinless ophthalmologist, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, may have put an end tonight to any chance that the cease fire hudna might work. In an interview with a Dubai television station, Assad rejected the possibility of stationing UN troops on the border between Lebanon and his country, which has been demanded by Israel under operative paragraphs 8, 14 and 15 of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. I reread the resolution and I believe that it requires a request by the Lebanese government for the UNIFIL troops to deploy on that border, and you can bet that request will no longer be forthcoming.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Assad told the Dubai television station that deploying UNIFIL troops on the Lebanon - Syria border "would "harm Lebanon's autonomy" and would be considered an act of hostility." The interview will not be aired until tomorrow (Wednesday).

But HaAretz claims that UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said on Tuesday that there were indications from senior Lebanese officials that they would request help in monitoring the crossings and that the international community would heed any such requests.

The JPost also is reporting that UN Secretary General Kofi Goofy Annan is going to meet with the Europeans on Friday to try to convince them to send troops for the 'upgraded' UNIFIL force. One of the Europeans' problems is that they believe that the force's mandate is not clear. Here's one of the 'clarifications':
According to the Paris daily Le Monde, a draft UN document would give peacekeepers the right to open fire to defend themselves and to protect civilians, but not actively search for Hezbollah weapons.

The force would be authorized to prevent hostile activities in a buffer zone in southern Lebanon; to counter anyone who tries to prevent peacekeepers from carrying out their mandate; and to "protect civilians in immediate threat of physical violence," Le Monde said, citing the document.

The newspaper said it obtained another working document that says the Lebanese army, working alongside the peacekeepers, must take control of the buffer zone and be responsible for disarming Hizbullah.
Of course, the Lebanese army has already said that it will not (and probably cannot) disarm Hezbullah. All of which suggests that the cease fire hudna is likely to be quite short-lived.


Post a Comment

<< Home