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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Revisiting UNIFIL

UNIFIL's mandate under Security Council Resolution 1701 is up at the end of the month. In the Corner, Noah Pollak argues that instead of just rubber-stamping its renewal, we ought to be re-examining UNIFIL and seeing whether it can actually do the job it was intended to do.

Hat Tip: James Kirchik
UNIFIL's size was increased from a few thousand to almost 14,000 troops with the approval of 1701, and the new "robust" and "enhanced" force was supposed, at long last, to fill the power vacuum in southern Lebanon and prevent Hezbollah from rebuilding its terrorist nation on Israel's northern border.

But the new UNIFIL has of course done nothing. Actually, worse than nothing: In the year since the end of the war, Iran and Syria have been rearming Hezbollah at a torrid pace, this time with better weaponry than before, and UNIFIL has barely even pretended to be interested in disrupting the arms flow. UNIFIL's rules of engagement prevent the border with Syria from being patrolled, and UNIFIL blue-helmets have neither the desire nor the means to confront Hezbollah.

A year ago Resolution 1701 was upheld by the international community as a guarantor of lasting peace. UNIFIL's continued existence is an example — like the West's anemic diplomacy toward Iran — of the refusal of those who most emphatically insist on diplomatic solutions and soft power to uphold any standards for, or breathe any life into, diplomatic and soft power initiatives. I wonder how many of the editorial pages that last summer demanded the approval of 1701 will revisit the subject of southern Lebanon in the coming weeks, on the first anniversary of the resolution?
Read it all.


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