Saturday, August 26, 2006

UNIFIL with 'teeth'

U.N. Resolution 1701 has authorized up to 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers. Contributions from member nations so far amount to:
-- Italy has agreed to send up to 3,000 troops.
-- France said it will deploy 2,000 troops, including its current 200-member contingent in Lebanon.
-- Finland said it would send up to 250 peacekeepers by November.
-- Germany will not send troops, but will offer naval forces to help patrol the Lebanese coast.
-- Greece has pledged to send naval vessels
-- Netherlands said it would not send troops but may also offer navy a patrol vessel.
-- Spain has reportedly offered between 1,000-1,200 troops.
-- Poland has offered 500 soldiers.
-- Belgium is sending 400 troops, including anti-mine experts, and medical units.
-- Bulgaria said it is willing to send troops, but has not given a number.
-- Turkey has indicated it will contribute troops, but has not given a number.
-- Bangladesh has offered two mechanized battalions with 1,600-2,000 troops. (So far refused by Israel)
-- Indonesia has offered one mechanized battalion and an engineering company totaling about 1,000 troops. (So far refused by Israel)
-- Malaysia pledged one mechanized battalion and Nepal pledged one mechanized infantry battalion, also totaling 1,000 soldiers. (So far refused by Israel)
-- Britain said it would send Jaguar ground attack aircraft and Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, known as Awacs, in addition to a navy frigate. It also offered to help train and equip the Lebanese military and support enhanced command and control technology for the force.
-- The United States said it doesn't plan to participate but does expect to provide logistical assistance to the force.

UNIFIL with 'teeth'
“If, for example, combatants, or those illicitly moving weapons, forcibly resist a demand from them, or from the Lebanese Army, to disarm,” then armed force could be used, Annan said. He added, however, that disarming Hezbollah — a central goal of two United Nations resolutions on Lebanon — “is not going to be done by force.”
The expanded peacekeeping force’s mandate is to support the Lebanese Army in enforcing the resolutions. But disarmament of Hezbollah “has to be achieved through negotiation, and an internal Lebanese consensus, a political process, for which the new Unifil is not, and cannot be, a substitute,” Mr. Annan said. Unifil is the acronym for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.


Blogger btree said...

Timur Goksel, senior adviser and spokesman for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon for 24 years, thinks Resolution 1701 is deeply flawed because it contains (thanks to John Bolton) veiled references to Chapter 7 ("forced disarmament") language while ostensibly referencing Chapter 6.

UN mandate not all that clear, Seattle PI, Aug 16


French and other envoys, meanwhile, are returning to those U.N. backrooms to talk over Resolution 1701's real meaning. "It's time for a robust force, but they have to negotiate every aspect of that mandate, including when to use force and when not to use force," said Sir Brian Urquhart, former chief of U.N. peacekeeping.

Questions focus on a paragraph deep in the lengthy document, in which the council authorizes the strengthened U.N. force "to take all necessary action" to, among other things, ensure no "hostile activities" take place in its zone, and to "protect civilians."

"What constitutes `hostile activities'?" asked Tufts University's Johnstone, a one-time U.N. peacekeeping official who edits an annual journal on peace operations.

"One can imagine all the situations where one side takes action and that's interpreted as hostile by the other, and UNIFIL will have to decide."

The specialists say distinguishing between defensive and offensive Israeli actions could prove difficult - if Hezbollah, for example, is detected building up arms in a village.

"What happens if the Israelis cross the border and raid a village, and in doing so imperil civilians?" asked Augustus Richard Norton, a Boston University professor who served with UNIFIL in the 1980s.

"My reading of that clause is that the U.N. force would be very much in its rights and responsibilities to interpose itself and stop the Israeli action."

What if Hezbollah, on the other hand, fires rockets again at Israel from south Lebanon? Can UNIFIL stop it?

"Let the Lebanese army go in and do it," Goksel, who was a senior U.N. adviser in south Lebanon for 24 years, said by telephone from Beirut. The UNIFIL veteran agreed with the others, however, that the new resolution is "too vague. What does that mean, `all necessary action?'"

One vague point is key: If Hezbollah is to be disarmed - as called for in a 2004 U.N. resolution - who will do it?

Most look for a cosmetic "disarmament" arrangement between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government.

But Karim Makdisi of the American University of Beirut sees a "Trojan horse" in Resolution 1701 - a passage he says implies that Hezbollah is a "threat to international peace and security."

That's "Chapter 7 logic," Makdisi said, referring to a section of the U.N. Charter empowering multinational forces to suppress such threats.

"This may result in UNIFIL being urged to confront Hezbollah," Makdisi said. "It is potentially very dangerous."

It's also a further sign of the ambiguities diplomats and generals will debate in coming weeks - in essence the uncertainty over whether the new resolution falls under the charter's Chapter 6, dealing with "pacific" settlement of disputes, or Chapter 7, envisioning peace enforcement.

"What we have here is a Chapter 6 ½ resolution," Goksel concluded.

UN plan not realistic, Toronto Star, Aug 22


The U.S. drafted UN Resolution 1701 with the intention of accomplishing politically what Israel could not achieve militarily. An earlier draft of this resolution clearly revealed America's hand when it specifically called for an international force to be deployed in southern Lebanon under the terms of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which authorizes the use of force to implement its mandate.

In blunt terms, this would have meant that such an international presence would have been required to disarm Hezbollah, by force if necessary.

There can be little doubt that Hezbollah's success on the battlefield gave Lebanon enough leverage to ensure the removal of this reference to Chapter 7 in the final text; and in so doing removed the very real threat of civil war and potential breakdown of the Lebanese state in light of the lack of national consensus regarding the role of the Resistance.

The final wording of Resolution 1701 thus implies that an expanded UNIFIL would operate under the more acceptable terms of Chapter 6 of the UN Charter, which is concerned with the "pacific settlement of disputes" and thus lacks the mandate to use force.

Still, there remains genuine concern by UN member states that the U.S. has deliberately inserted text into Resolution 1701 that mischievously recalls Chapter 7 language and logic and implies its terms. Indeed, recent statements by senior UN, U.S. and Israeli officials seem to be reinforcing the notion that there are Chapter 7 elements in this resolution, thus contradicting its spirit.

Since Hezbollah has been singled out for blame by the resolution, and its disarming is seen to be the main long-term remedy, then the resolution could be interpreted to mean that Hezbollah's continued presence as an "armed group" could constitute a "threat to international peace and security," and thus trigger some sanction under Chapter 7.

In this case, UNIFIL and the Lebanese army could be asked to disarm Hezbollah by force, which is both politically and militarily unrealistic.

Annan's announcement of substantial troop commitments and the use of robust force confirms Goksel's prediction of a Chapter 6 ½ force that is neither concerned with the "pacific settlement of disputes" nor committed to forcible disarmament of one of the warring parties, namely Hezbollah, and thus supposedly accomplishing -- militarily! -- what the Israeli army was unable to accomplish in a month-long total war.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Chris Baker said...

This is an important initiative for the EU because Lebanon is increasingly likely to fall under EU influence. Jordan will likely also move in that direction eventually as well, and away from the US. Tony Blair's offer of fighter jets and AWACS aircraft is very significant.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Smartipants said...

I wonder if the Germans will mind the new submarines they just sold Israel being used against the naval forces it is contributing to patrol the Lebanese coast...

7:33 PM  
Blogger Jaeger said...

Since they don't plan to disarm Hizb'Allah I fail to see the point of them at all. There are already 2,000 UNIFIL troops standing around watching while Hizb'Allah builds its bunkers and smuggles the rockets and missiles in. Now we will have 7,000 troops, a few fighter planes and a frigate watching them build their bunkers and smuggle weapons.

This is a classic UN fiasco of generating lots of visible activity in lieu of doing anything useful.

10:48 PM  
Blogger btree said...

Perhaps understandably, there's wholesale ignorance and a lot of misunderstanding out there regarding the basic purposes of a peacekeeping force.

When peacekeeping degenerates into an exchange of hostilities, when UN forces are being seen to "take sides" by any of the warring parties (and yes, there are more than two sides to this conflict), peacekeeping becomes impossible.

I suggest looking up Augustus Norton's site. Another good idea would be to look at assessments produced by the Israeli intelligence community, for example:

Daniel Sobelman, 'New Rules of the Game: Israel and Hizbollah after the Withdrawal from Lebanon' (pdf)
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, January 2004.

As quoted by Norton on August 1:

Civilian deaths in Israel's war in Lebanon now exceed 800, including almost 60 victims in Qana and 18 Israeli civilians killed by Hizbullah rockets. By comparison, the six-year period between Israel's unilateral withdrawal from South Lebanon in May 2000 until the Hizbullah operation of last July 12 was more or less placid. During that earlier period, half a dozen Israeli civilians succumbed to Hizbullah weapons, and only a few more Lebanese civilians were killed by hostile action.
The rules of the game were well understood by Israel and Hizbullah. As Israeli analyst Daniel Sobelman wrote in 2004: '[T]he sides have abided by these ground rules, prudently avoiding disproportionate moves. Infrequently, when one party identifies an apparent imbalance, steps are quickly taken to re-impose the status quo ante. This dynamic has become one of the most important stabilizing features in the border landscape.

It never was UNIFIL's role to keep Hezbollah from attacking Israel. In case you're unsure, there are plenty of places to look up the history of UNIFIL, pre-July 2006 -- when it got there, and what its purpose was. (You could start with the UNIFIL web site or even Wikipedia)

More pointers:

Augustus Norton, Hizballah of Lebanon: Extremist Ideals vs. Mundane Politics
Council on Foreign Relations Press, February 2000

Hizbollah: A Primer, Lara Deeb, Middle East Report, July 31 2006

11:33 PM  
Blogger mejnuni said...

teeth are good.the more international groups placed in Lebanon whether 200 0r 2000 from different countries the less chance of Lebanon being attacked. Isn't that the point. To stop the bombing in more. None of the peace treaties have held strong in the past.This looks good for Lebanon.(well,for the innocentcitizens anyway) Keep your eyes open to the bigger picture. has som interesting visions

4:03 AM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

what the world should know

11:47 AM  
Blogger Mr Wrath said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...

JERUSALEM - The Israeli government said Saturday it is asking friendly Muslim countries to contribute troops to the U.N. force that is to help police the cease-fire in southern Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah.

The U.N. wants Muslim troops included to lend credibility in the region to what so far is a mostly European force, and the predominantly Islamic nations of Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malaysia have offered to participate.

But none of those recognize Israel, which says it would be reluctant to share intelligence with a force that included Muslim nations it doesn’t have relations with. While Israel does not have any veto, its opposition to a country could influence which troops are included.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Israel had spoken to the governments of several Muslim nations with which it has diplomatic relations, but primarily to Turkey. Turkey, which would be acceptable to all parties, has not decided whether to join the mission.

“If Turkey decides to send a contingent, we would welcome that,” Regev said.

He did not specify the other nations contacted by Israel, but Jordan and Egypt are among the Muslim countries that Israel has relations with.

Hezbollah pledges to keep arms
The difficulties facing the nascent force were already apparent, with a top Hezbollah official saying in a defiant interview published Saturday that the Shiite Muslim guerrilla group would keep its weapons despite international pressure to disarm.

Sheik Naim Kassem, the group’s deputy leader, also told the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar that Hezbollah’s “resistance” to Israel would continue. “Justifications for ending it do not exist,” he said.

Kassem’s remarks underscored the fragility of the U.N.-brokered cease-fire.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

I know you're all pussies, all of you!

Why so quite now? Come whereare your balls, just like the coward Muslims and their supporters. Hide you f-ing cowards!

6:39 PM  

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