It’s bad news, Resolution 1701, passed yesterday by the Security Council. Whatever gloss may be given to it, whatever partial elements it contains that may seem positive, this is the essential fact.
A ceasefire is called for that requires Hezbollah to cease all hostilities and Israel to cease offensive attacks. The Lebanese army is to send 15,000 troops into southern Lebanon; the Lebanese are to have full control of the area, so that there would be no weapons or troops permitted there except with the permission of the Lebanese. To assist the Lebanese army there will be a UN force — under the auspices of UNIFIL, with an expanded mandate — of a corresponding 15,000 troops. Israel will pull back to the international line (the Blue Line). There will be a ban on sale or supplying weapons to forces in Lebanon except with the permission of the Lebanese government.
The major problem with this is one of will, starting with the will of the international community, of course, which is not inclined to confront evil directly and put in place the provisions to do so. But then, the failure of the will of the Lebanese government, which is weak and under the thumb of Syria and Hezbollah.
Words are cheap. Especially words in the UN. Actions are another matter all together. Precisely how effectively do we imagine the Lebanese will work against Hezbollah?
— There is an embargo on weapons to Hezbollah, but is the Lebanese army actually going to stop smuggling of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah?
— The resolution calls for a long term solution (OP8) based in part on "an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL between the Blue Line and the Litani river." But is the Lebanese army actually going to drive back any Hezbollah forces remaining south of the Litani? Besides which, please note, this by implication means that there can be other armed personnel, etc. north of the Litani — this resolution is acknowledging that Hezbollah will continue.
— True, the long term solution called for also refers to implementation of resolution 1559, which requires disarming of all militias. But it’s a joke to imagine that Hezbollah will be disarmed by the Lebanese army. In fact, elsewhere in the resolution (OP10) the Secretary General is requested to develop proposals for implementing 1559. Proposals for implementing? That’s like forming a committee to look into it. Why not a resolution that says Lebanon, which was supposed to have implemented 1559 when it was passed in 2004, MUST do so now?
Part of the problem, as this is structured, is that the UNIFIL force coming in is not mandated to act vigorously in independent fashion, but rather to "accompany" "support" and "assist" the Lebanese, at whose behest they are present.
And here there is only very bad news. Were there a truly "robust" force, mandated to act independently, there might be hope. However, it appears that France is going to head this international force, and play a role in putting it into place. I would suggest that the willingness on the part of Lebanon and Hezbollah (see below) to accept the resolution is a reflection of their confidence that they will be working with a friend.
Oh, the French must be in their glory now! Having influence internationally — especially in the Middle East — is one of their major goals, along with undermining the US and promoting Muslim terrorists regimes. "We want to do it in a European spirit," said Phillipe Douste-Blazy, French foreign minister and a very dangerous man. "France seems the best-placed to lead this force." Right, the France that sought to weaken the original resolution. And they’re going to analyze the need and see how many other forces need to go in.
The resolution calls for Lebanese and UNIFIL forces to deploy in the south as soon as hostilities cease — and for Israel to pull out in concert with this (rather than immediately as Lebanon had originally demanded). Lebanese forces will be available more quickly. It is not clear if they will move in before the international forces are prepared to deploy. It would be better if the IDF did not pull out until international forces were in place. I do not know how this will play out. What I’m now picking up is an estimate of seven to ten days until the international forces will be prepared to deploy.
It must be noted as a positive that we are being called upon to stop all offensive attacks. This means we retain the right to defense, and it remains to be seen how this will be interpreted and how it will play out.
What might also be seen as a positive of sorts is the recognition in the resolution that the hostilities began with Hezbollah actions and that there is a need to address causes.
A decided negative is that the cessation of hostilities seems to be in no way predicated on return of our kidnapped soldiers — that is certainly how I read it. There is an introductory phrase that says: "…emphasizing the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers," But this is not binding and does not appear in the operational section of the resolution.
From the beginning and throughout, Olmert and the IDF have made statements about how we would continue to fight until our soldiers are returned. Whatever else may or may not be the case, to agree to cessation of hostilities now without getting our soldiers back would be shameful.
The introductory paragraph following this refers to "efforts aimed at urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel." Also not binding but giving the nod to the Lebanese demand. The hint of a parallel here is disturbing.
You can see the text of the resolution at:
Does it solve the problems? Of course not. Does it bring us victory. Most certainly not. It may — may — bring a period of cessation of hostilities, most definitely to be followed by further hostilities down the road, hostilities that may be more fierce than what we’re facing now.
We have certainly weakened Hezbollah. But a major concern that remains is how a failure to decisively defeat Hezbollah strengthens the morale of Islamacists in the region.
Nasrallah said today that he would abide by the UN resolution. However, he also said that "We must be aware of the fact that the war will continue for another few days. That’s why we are continuing to fight today. We will fight as long as Israeli soldiers are in Lebanon."
If he is true to his word on this, there will be no ceasefire now. For the first order of business, according to the resolution, is a cessation of Hezbollah hostilities. Israel doesn’t leave Lebanon until replacement troops are in place, and those troops don’t move into place until hostilities have ceased. Sort of a Catch 22 here.
The Israeli Security Cabinet has yet to vote on this resolution, which has already been accepted by Lebanon. That vote should take place tomorrow; I will be surprised if they oppose the resolution, which has already received verbal acceptance from Olmert and Livni, but we’ll see.
What it is m
ost important to mention however is the continuing military action in Lebanon: We have executed the largest airlift in IDF history, bringing in 30,000 troops by helicopters (one of which has been downed by Hezbollah), and are currently advancing to the Litani River and taking out rocket sites and guerillas as we go. Exactly when this operation will stop is unclear. Obviously, the more we can achieve before a ceasefire, the better, for no other force is going to do what we are doing.
Chief of Staff Dan Halutz was talking today about another week. "We do not know [how] much space will pass between the decision accepted at the UN and its implementation in the field."
According to the Jerusalem Post: "Government officials said IDF operations would not stop until the army’s goals were reached, despite the passage of UN Security Council resolution 1701."
Were this to be, it would go a long way to redeeming the situation.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/8/12/posted-august-12-2006.html