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Monday, May 12, 2008

Lebanese army in cahoots with Hezbullah

The IDF has declared a high alert on Israel's border with Lebanon. Let's go to the videotape and then I'll have the second part of this story.

One of the reasons the IDF is so worried about what's going on in Lebanon is that it is clear that not only is the Lebanese army not going to do anything to stop Hezbullah - they are actually helping Hezbullah out.
Witness accounts of Hezbollah's actions in Lebanon in the course of the incidents demonstrate not only that the Lebanon Army is refraining from trying to bar Hezbollah from operating throughout the country, but is in fact carrying out orders from the organization and granting it media cover.

Lebanese media reports clearly indicate that Hezbollah is practicing censorship over broadcasts of the various networks. Nonetheless, it can be discerned at times that the picture as broadcast from Beirut is not telling the story in full. While camouflage-spotted Lebanon Army armored personnel carriers take center screen, Hezbollah men manning roadblocks can often be seen on the margins, checking the identity papers of passersby.

Friday morning, Lebanese television stations were allowed to broadcast calming footage of armored personnel carriers standing outside the Al-Mustakbal Television building, owned by the Hariri family. The station's operations had been halted by Hezbollah.

The actual story, of course, was much more serious. According to one version of the events, the Lebanon Army had ordered the workers there to leave their offices, solely to allow Hezbollah men to enter immediately thereafter to destroy equipment and other property. Two hours later, cameras were allowed into the area, but only to film the APC's standing guard over the building.
For those of you who are still naive enough to believe that UNIFIL is going to do anything if Hezbullah turns its guns on Israel, please consider this.
The close ties between the army and Hezbollah go beyond the recent battles. They also extend to south Lebanon. Under UN resolution 1701, the Lebanon Army was to deploy in the south and thus take up places occupied by Hezbollah, something that had raised hopes in Israel. Today, UNIFIL and the Lebanon Army respond to every incident in south Lebanon, but the presence of the army has no real significance there. At the moment of truth, the army will follow Hezbollah's orders, diplomatic sources believe.
And recall that under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, UNIFIL's rules of engagement don't allow it to act against Hezbullah unless the Lebanese army asks it to act.
The problem with 1701 from the get go has been that it is not self-executing with respect to disarming Hezbullah. As Barry Rubin noted back in August:
But the central contradiction in the document is between OP11 and OP12. OP11 basically makes UNIFIL action dependent on the Lebanese government asking for help. In other words, only if the government asks UNIFIL to fight against terrorists in southern Lebanon or interdict arms smuggling can it act.

It should be noted that the Lebanese armed forces are a polite fiction. Just as Hizbullah is part of the government coalition, it has also deeply infiltrated the army. Half or even more of the soldiers sympathize with Hizbullah and will not do anything to - as they think of it - "protect" Israel from attack. It is not a highly disciplined military with a reliable chain of command. If a Lebanese soldier fires at Hizbullah, the entire army could split into two warring factions, something the government and politicians will want to avoid at any cost.
That's why the IDF is on high alert in the north. If Hezbullah uses the current turmoil to turn on Israel, UNIFIL will sit there like the three monkeys.


At 5:31 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Let's recall that Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni trumpeted UN Resolution 1701 as a "great victory" for Israel. It did nothing of the sort. Not only does Hezbollah still hold the kidnapped Israeli soldiers Ari Regev and Ehud Goldwasser hostage to this day, Iran has replenished much of Hezbollah's deadly arsenal lost in the last round of fighting in the summer of 2006. The same bozos who bungled the last war in Lebanon are still in charge in Israel and the last thing they want is to admit the war didn't resolve anything to the North. A blowup with Lebanon is only a matter of time. The only open question is whether that takes place on Hezbollah's or Israel's terms.


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