UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to recommend Monday that the rules of engagement of the enhanced UNIFIL force to be deployed in Lebanon include opening fire on Hizbullah where necessary, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Sounds impressive until you read a few paragraphs further into the story:
The question of the rules of engagement was addressed last Thursday in New York at a meeting of those countries considering sending troops to the force, with some of those countries opposed to being able to open fire, concerned that Hizbullah would then shoot back.
Sounds like the last UNIFL except bigger. Apparently however, the force will be given authorization under their Rules of Engagement (ROE) to open fire on Hezbollah. But as the article says "whether they would indeed do so and subject themselves to a firefight with Hizbullah is questionable."
I can't say I'd really, honestly blame them if they refused. Stuck between Israel and Hezbollah trying to enforce what Lebanon's army should take the lead on enforcing, I'm sure I'd have second thoughts about engaging Hezbollah as well. My guess is the unofficial ROE will be "fire if fired upon".
Israel is now trying to convince Italy to take the lead within the force now that France has backed away:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in a telephone conversation in the afternoon with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi on Sunday, said that Israel would like to see Italy lead the force, a change from the widespread expectation that France would be heading it up.
According to a statement issued from Olmert's office, the prime minister told Prodi that Israel viewed Italy's sending troops as "vital" to the implementation of the resolution and that this would be an important contribution to "peace and security in the Middle East."
Olmert told Prodi that it was not only important that Italy lead this force, but also that Rome send troops to monitor the Lebanese-Syrian border to stop the rearmament of Hizbullah.
The last paragraph seems as important as any. If Hezbollah is supposed to disarm (or be disarmed) then it shouldn't be receiving supplies which would help it rearm. Whether the UN will see this as a part of the mandate of the resolution remains to be seen however. In reality it should be the Lebanese military ensuring any attempt at arms resupply is stopped. Somehow I don't see that happening in reality.
Israel, in the meantime, has talked with Turkey and has declared that Turkish troops would be acceptable to Israel on the UNIFL force. However Israel has also said it would not find acceptable the troops of any Muslim country which had no established diplomatic relations with Israel. That would include three countries which have shown a lot of interest in participating: Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Turkey, btw, has not decided yet whether it will participate.
Israel, a little late to the "we won" spin game, is now trying to respin the month long battle with Hezbollah and the result:
"If a multinational force deploys in southern Lebanon, and we find ourselves facing a demilitarized zone, then from our point of view the goals were achieved," Peretz said of the outcome of the war.
Frankly he has a point. If the force is actually deployed along with the 15,000 from Lebanon and the area south of the Litani River becomes a defacto "demilitarized zone" (even if it just means Hezbollah's weapons are hidden and not used), then I'd have to agree that in real terms, Israel wins.
Some of the other spin isn't quite as convincing:
Olmert said that Israel had not been surprised by Hizbullah's capabilities during the war, and knew that it had amassed thousand of missiles over the years.
Meanwhile in Lebanon, there appears to be an almost Alice in Wonderland quality:
The Lebanese defense minister insisted that Hezbollah would hold its fire.
"We consider that when the resistance (Hezbollah) is committed not to fire rockets, then any rocket that is fired from the Lebanese territory would be considered collaboration with Israel to provide a pretext (for Israel) to strike," Murr said.
He added that "the Lebanese army will decisively deal with" any attack on Israel and that anyone arrested for violating the truce "will be considered by the military tribunal as an agent of the Israeli enemy."
I can imagine that potential Hezbollah rocketeers never imagined in their wildest and most virgin filled dreams of being accused of being an Israeli agent if they fired their munitions into Israel.
I'm sure privately Israel is saying "whatever" to this round about way of blaming them for something Hezbollah would do as long as the "decisively deal with" part of the equation is actually enforced. Actions speak louder than words, and decisive action is the best. It is obviously in the interest of Israel to have Lebanon effectively policing southern Lebanon, whether the UN is ever able (or willing) to do so or not.
Lebanese PM Faud Saniora got into the act as well:
Saniora, the prime minister, made his first visit Sunday to Hezbollah's south Beirut stronghold, where air strikes wrecked whole neighborhoods.
"What we see today is an image of the crimes Israel has committed ... there is no other description other than a criminal act that shows Israel's hatred to destroy Lebanon and its unity," Saniora told reporters and television crews invited on the tour.
"I hope the international media transmits this picture to every person in the world so that it shows this criminal act, this crime against humanity," the Western-backed prime minister said.
Yeah, be sure to watch for those pictures, especially if they're like any of those which have been coming out of there lately.
All in all the UN is performing at its usual level, Israel seems to be the one which most benefits by the 30 battle and Lebanon has the chance to redeem itself and take charge of its country.
Hezbollah? Well there's a wild card in every deck and there is no way of telling which way that joker will go.
“We need to know what are the material and legal means at our disposal,” the French defense minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, said Friday. “You can’t send in men and tell them: Observe what is going on, but you don’t have the right to defend yourself or shoot.’’
I have to ask, when would you send anyone in as a 'peace keeper' and tell them "observe ... but you don't have the right to defend yourself or shoot?" I mean unless you were operating under the auspices of the UN.
Much of this hesitation, per the article, stems from other peacekeeping stints with the UN:
Haunted by their experiences in Bosnia in the 1990’s, when their forces were unable to stop widespread ethnic killing, European governments are insisting upon clarifying the chain of command and rules of engagement before plunging into the even greater complexities of the Middle East.
How can anyone in the world be considered a 'peacekeeper' if they can't do what is necessary to keep the peace? Since when did "observer" become synonymous with "peacekeeper?"
So I really can't blame these countries when they hesitate:
“In the past, when peacekeeping missions were not properly defined, we’ve seen major failures,’’ a spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry, Agnès Romatet-Espagne, said Sunday. “There are the bad memories of Bosnia. This time we want the answers beforehand, so we don’t come to the problems when they have happened.’’
It just blows my mind, however, that anyone even has to ask about being able to defend themselves. Or even does ask. I'm further mystified by a role which, given the hesitancy evident from the various nations, hasn't a chance of being fulfilled if they don't have permission to do what is necessary to do the job. If you can't use force, even defensively, you can't keep the peace or protect yourself. Why be there? How can you keep the peace? And I think that's what these countries are asking. Of course it would have been nice if this had all been settled beforehand, but then, you'd think, given the role and the UN's experience, that it would have been settled long before now.
Oh yes, Israel won this round and NOW in the second round things will go badly for the evil-doers...yeah right. I heard last night that after the Israeli’s "Violated" the ceasefire that Lebanon says it may NOT deploy its army in the South. And this Un force is certainly coming along nicely. I don’t see what has changed.
However Israel has also said it would not find acceptable the troops of any Muslim country which had no established diplomatic relations with Israel. That would include three countries which have shown a lot of interest in participating: Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Turkey, btw, has not decided yet whether it will participate.
I know Kofi is incompetant at anything besides teaming up with his felon son Kojo to siphon blood money from UN programs, but was he really so f*cking dense to even consider for a minute to put soldiers from hostile nations on Israel’s border?
Can we just pass the hat and raise enough to pay off this career criminal to retire and spare us anymore of his a-holery? Maybe throw in a Nobel Peace prize that all these bloodstained wretches seem to get. We can even get him a book deal and a infomercial segment on 60 minutes where he can bash Bush. Anything, just get him out of here already please.
This article resonates with me. Bush probably has to say what he said (Israel won), but for the reasons stated in this article, one cannot believe that. One can only hope that American liberals follow the path of the Israeli left and begin to realize that diplomacy will never get this done. If they don’t, and soon, better look into investing in bhurka-producing textile firms. Oh, and tell your granddaughters that they might never be veterinarians.
This just exposes the core stupidity of the UN thinking their "supreme moral authority" and pursuit of "peace at all costs to stop civilian deaths" would find nations, including those who advocate such stupidity - willing to risk their own soldier’s lives stuck in best case for another 20, 40, 100 years as a buffer force, in worst case, as lambs wishing to avoid slaughter when the unresolved war restarts.
I hate all the tired WWII metaphors, but they are recognizable to most lacking knowledge of any other war because our educational system makes it so - therefore we are stuck using them. So.....inserting UN peacekeepers is like sending in the Swiss to "create peace" between the Nazis and Soviets before the battle of Kursk or Stalingrad, or right after D-Day.
The Euroweenie rhetoric, UN groupthink, and dumbass Kofi got ahead of reality. Reality is you don’t stop a war with a 3rd Party, until warring parties generally want it. If you do, you just have people in the middle wondering which side will fire across your positions first. And if they will bother trying to miss you.
Sorry, but I have to state that this article is rather biased.
I agree that Israel as a right to exist in peace, as does Lebanon and Palestine. The violence and terror being promoted as acceptable or necessary in this article will do nothing to acheiving peace for any nation.
I agree that Hezbollah should disarm, but bombing and raiding them (and the rest of their country) will not achieve this goal. It will only strengthen thier (perhaps mis-guided) resolve. Why not address the greivances of this group and arrange a long term peace?
Lets not forget, 1300 Lebanese died (mostly civillians) and 160 Israelis died (mostly soldiers). So who are the real terrorsists in this?
Hezbollah are a nasty group, but the IDF are far worse. At least Hezbollah are straight up. If they want a war, they declare that clearly. The IDF peddles peace whislt instigating a lrage scale war.
Karlos... YOU. ARE. INSANE. There is no way that Israel or anyone else can "address the grievances" of Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s greivance is the very EXISTENCE of Israel. How should a country act when the only resolution that its enemies will truly accept is the destruction of your nation and the death or exile of your people? Obviously, all Israelis are not saints (some of the things settlers have done put my teeth on edge), but the actions of a few settlers against Palestinians is not the cause of conflict. It is a convenient excuse. Israel’s enemies in the region will end up trying to destroy her NO MATTER WHAT SHE DOES.
karlos, I realize you’re likely just trolling for traffic to your blog, but for posterity:
I agree that Israel as a right to exist in peace, as does Lebanon and Palestine.
The problem is that if you agree with this then you agree that Hezbollah does not have a "right to exist in peace". From their "charter":
Our primary assumption in our fight against Israel states that the Zionist entity is aggressive from its inception, and built on lands wrested from their owners, at the expense of the rights of the Muslim people. Therefore our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated. We recognize no treaty with it, no cease fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated.
And what to make of this:
Hezbollah are a nasty group, but the IDF are far worse. At least Hezbollah are straight up. If they want a war, they declare that clearly.
While you are correct that they declare it clearly — in their charter, in fact — I’m not sure what total equivalence you’re implying. After their clear declaration, they shoot from behind children and dare Israel to shoot back. If you find that declaring war means Hezbollah is excused for this kind of behavior, then would it be okay for Israel to meet your criteria by making a formal war declaration before wiping out everyone in Lebanon? At least they were straight up.
Go ahead and take cheap shots at the U.N., but Kofi Annan doesn’t command any troops. Not, one, soldier, directly. No objective assessment can call this Kofi Annan’s fault.
I think the lack of rapid troop deployment into the area is risky. Rapid troop deployment is also risky, but it’s a different kind of risk. Frankly, ad hoc humanitarian alliances often run into trouble.
I will say that Israel’s raids during a supposed cease-fire are almost certainly contributing to the Europe’s reluctance to send troops. No one wants to be the fall guy for only half-a-cease fire.
Considering The Legal Perils of Peacekeeping Failure under discussion here just a few weeks ago, it’s hard to blame the contributing countries for insisting on clear chains of command and RoE. The UN has a near-perfect record for trying to resolve conflicts on the cheap, refusing to commit to sufficient force to get the job done. The results are half-a**ed efforts that tend to be worse (for everyone involved) than doing nothing at all.
Any troops sent to shut down Hezballah are being sent into combat, pure and simple, and that needs to be acknowledged by the UN and contributing countries up front. Those who get the vapors at the mere thought of live fire should just stay home, but the ones willing to put their lives on the line to accomplish the objective deserve to be allowed and enabled to do just that, not trammeled about with diplomatic red tape till they’re nothing more than staked goats.
No one ever talks about what if Israel violates the resolution? No resolutions had ever had teeth when Israel was the subject. No UN force ever has any hint of being able to open fire against all combatants who violate the rules including Israel. It’s the rule of the jungle and of the strong in this world. Therefore it’s always the case of the UN asking the weak to play by the rules of the strong. In the history of the world, there has been no time where the strong behaves nice to the weak. It’s all hipocrasy on the part of the strong and ruthlessness on all parties. It’s understandable that the weak has to employ unconventional tactics to counter the force of the strong. This is why the US and the West gained so little in diplomacy. When they only protect their own interest and those of the strong, there isn’t any legitimacy to win hearts and minds.
Look at history. The French never listened. They were defeated and bundled out of Vietnam. The Americans were the same. They killed, they maimed and they destroyed the environment before they were defeated and bundled out of Vietnam. They will face same fate in Iraq and Afganistan just like the Russians in Afganistan.
When will people ever learn? Invaders will never keep what they win in wars. The only way people can have peace is to get out and stay out of where they don’t belong, mind their own business and focus on economic matters.
Wars only earn debts for revenge for future generations.
You are misled or confused. Hezbollah does not oppose the exitence of Israel or it’s citizens. It opposes the continued violation of Lebanese Soverignty and the murder of Lebanese nationals, by Israel.
Perhaps you are confusing Hezbollah with Hama’s, the Palestinian group that calls for an armed resistance to the Israeli occupation and wonton murder of their people.
I think Israel can attain peace with its neighbours, if it stops killing them and engages in restoring justice to them. Basic human right are not too much to ask for, for ayone.
Scout, I wouldn’t say i was trolling for traffic, but I didn’t pass up the opportunity to enter the URL since there was a field for it.
Your quote from Hezbollah’s charter is unfounded. Can you please please please cite the source? I doubt you can provide a non-israeli source, and we all know Israelis are masters at propaganda. Hezbollah have stated several times that they will disarm when ALL of Lebanon is free from Israeli occupation. I don’t support them fighting for the Shebaa Farms, but they chose to.
Hezbollah don’t hide behind children. They are the poeple of the land, they live in those villages that are alledged human shields. Israels actions are the cause for the hatred it breeds from people of the region.
I’m not setting criteria or excuses for war. Just making an observation that Israel pretends to act in self defence and pretends to be interested in peace, when the truth is, they are interested only in war.
Hezbollah have stated several times that they will disarm when ALL of Lebanon is free from Israeli occupation
define ’all of Lebannon’ please.
Hezbollah don’t hide behind children. They are the poeple of the land, they live in those villages that are alledged human shields.
Huh??? Look, if someone comes in my house shooting and I jump behind my daughter, I’m using her as a human shield. She is a ’people of the land’ as it’s her house, and I’m a useless sack of sh!t because I hid behind her. If Hezbollah cared about their own people, they would either get them out of the villages or get themselves out of the villages.
Israel pretends to act in self defence and pretends to be interested in peace,
Right - I get it now. They pretended to have their soldiers kidnapped and then pretended to have all those rockets randomly fall on their country. Those damn Joooooooosss... sneaky suckers I’ll tell ya... they sure had me fooled. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
You need a definition? ok. "All of Lebanon" refers to the Shebaa Farms. Lebanese land occupied by Israel to maintain a state of conflict with Lebanon. Though old maps show Shebaa Farms at Syrian, all taxes from the land had always been paid to Beirut.
If Hezbollah cared about their own people, they would either get them out of the villages or get themselves out of the villages.
You’re so right. Infact, upto 1 millions people were forced to leave their homes. So it would seem that Israel went out of their way to kill civilians. Killing them in their convoys as they fled, killing them in hospitals as they bled, and killing them in shelters as they sought refuge.
To add to this, Israeli bombs are state of the art, precision bombs, smart bombs. Hizbollah bombs are crude Soviet era rockets that are notoriously diffucult to aim. Yet: 1300 Lebanese were killed by Israelis bombs. Most of them were civilians. 130 Israelis were killed by Hizbollah bombs. Most of them were soldiers.
Civillian infrastructure destroyed by the Israelis: 15000 homes and apartments, hospitals, roads, 99% of all bridges, factories etc. That tells me that the Israelis acted like little Hitler’s, actively tyring to exterminate as much as possible.
They pretended to have their soldiers kidnapped ...
I didn’t deny that soldiers were kidnapped, but you must put that in context. Since year 2000, Israel has breached Lebanese soverignty hundreds of times and kidnapped dozens of Lebanese people.
and then pretended to have all those rockets randomly fall on their country.
Again, context. Until the recent was, NOT A SINGLE Israeli civillian had been killed in rocket attacks on Israel since 2000. Hizbollah rocket attacks on Israel had largely been restricted to the Shebaa Farms. Lebanese land, occupied by Israel.