08 November 2006
JINSA Report #617
UNIFIL is Undermining Lebanon
The German Navy is said to be unwilling to patrol Lebanese waters at night, but twice sent helicopters toward the Israeli border. The French commander of UNIFIL threatened to put anti-aircraft batteries in UNIFIL positions aimed at Israeli planes. Lebanese Army commander Gen. Michel Suleiman met with the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon who offered to supply the Lebanese army with anti-aircraft missiles. What is Israel doing that makes them so nervous?
Documenting the Syrian and Iranian rearming of Hezbollah and the inability or unwillingness of the Lebanese Army or UNIFIL to stop it.
Lebanon is at a crucial point in its political emancipation - the point at which it must decide whether to advance from Syrian domination to independence, or fall fully under Iranian control. Nasrallah has demanded a unity government in Beirut that will give Hezbollah - and thus Iran - a virtual veto over Lebanese national politics. Not all Lebanese - not even all Lebanese Shiites - think this would be a good thing. But in the absence of strong international support for disarming Hezbollah, it is becoming less and less likely that the government of Fouad Siniora will be able to withstand the pressure of Iran and Hezbollah.
UNIFIL's timidity - Western Europe's timidity, because France, Italy and Germany are the only countries in UNIFIL that matter - is subverting the indigenous Lebanese revolution that tossed out the Syrian occupiers and made an independent, democratic Lebanon a possibility, though not yet a reality. Following Hezbollah's attack on Israel and Israel's partial destruction of Hezbollah assets in the South, UNIFIL's job was to extend the revolution and the Lebanese government's authority to the rest of the country by enforcing UN Resolution 1701 aimed at disarming Hezbollah.
UNIFIL's failure to act against Hezbollah resupply is a problem for Lebanon and also for Israel.
Implementation of UN Resolution 1701 was to have been Israel's reassurance that there would be no repetition of the unprovoked Hezbollah attack from Lebanese soil. But if the resolution is not implemented, Israel has a right - indeed an obligation to its citizens - to accurately assess the threat from the north and, if it continues to grow, to eliminate it. It is unreasonable to assume that Israel will ignore the danger from Hezbollah simply because the French or the Germans do - hence the overflights.
In a related vein, Israel has discovered the Palestinian Authority smuggling Iranian weapons through Egyptian ports and overland through Sinai to Gaza. No one should be surprised - although many will profess to be - if Israel finds these weapons an intolerable threat and takes action against them as well.
We will continue to monitor these situations so that JINSA Report readers, at least, will be aware of the growing threat to Israel from the Lebanon and Gaza, and the unwillingness of responsible parties - Egypt and the European countries - to do their part in dealing with it. At least we won't claim to be surprised.
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