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Friday, April 30, 2010

UNIFIL's epic fail

Michael Rubin wonders whether it is time to disband UNIFIL, the 'peacekeeping force' in southern Lebanon (Hat Tip: Daled Amos).
The rearming of Hezbollah — to the point that, as Secretary Gates points out, they now have more missiles than most countries — highlights the utter failure of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. What was a force of slightly less than 2,000 men, before the 2006 war, ballooned in the aftermath of the end of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 ending that war into more than 11,000 troops — the budget for which, this year, is more than $500 million. Rather than maintain peace or prevent Hezbollah's rearmament, UNIFIL has become, in effect, the world's most expensive summer camp.

Not only has UNIFIL failed in its mission, but its continued presence in southern Lebanon has also transformed it into a human shield for Hezbollah. UNIFIL's deployment has convinced Hezbollah that they can rearm without consequence. Is President Obama really prepared for Hezbollah's launching rockets from behind 11,000 hostages, even if none of them are American? On the other hand, if the United States and its remaining European allies disbanded UNIFIL, might it convince Syria, Iran, and Lebanon that the time for three-card missile monte is over and they need to reassess their strategies?
While I'm not entirely opposed to disbanding UNIFIL on the grounds that it's a waste of money, I doubt that doing so would convince Syria, Iran and Lebanon of anything. Additionally, it is only fair to point out that UNIFIL's ineffectiveness is not entirely UNIFIL's fault. They are victimized by an impossible mandate. Resolution 1701, which established the expanded UNIFIL, was flawed from the outset by requiring that the Lebanese army request UNIFIL's intervention rather than giving UNIFIL free reign. The result is that areas like the Syrian border, the Mediterranean coast line and parts of southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley are essentially off limits to UNIFIL troops.

This was all foreseeable to anyone who read and understood Resolution 1701.


At 4:06 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - Lebanon's army is a fiction. It is really little more than a division of Hezbollah and could not go against it even if it wanted to. Half its recruits are Shiite and guess where they come from.

For all practical intents and purposes, Hezbollah effectively runs Lebanon today.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

Lebanon and Syria will have to be destroyed on the slightest attack against Israel


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