Moon’s enlightenment

Ban Ki-Moon, meet the big pink elephant in the room.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council on developments in Lebanon on Thursday, the secretary-general had the courage to declare the continued existence of Hizbullah as an armed militia a direct threat to Lebanon itself.

Unfortunately, Moon also used the opportunity to praise Lebanon and Syria for establishing diplomatic ties. (How is this a good move, exactly, when Syria’s policy has been to plunder and abuse its weaker neighbor, and when the UN investigation into Syria’s involvement in the assassinations of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and several other anti-Syria leaders remains open?)

But Moon’s language on Hizbullah was unequivocal.

“Hizbullah’s maintenance of separate military assets and infrastructure is a fundamental challenge to the government’s attempts to consolidate the sovereignty and authority of the Lebanese state,” he said.

In his report, Moon said disarming and disbanding all militias in Lebanon should be done through a political dialogue “that will lead to the monopoly on the use of force by the government of Lebanon throughout all of its territory,” and that “the ultimate purpose of disarmament is the establishment of a strong Lebanese state for all inhabitants of Lebanon.”

This was the thrust of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended hostilities between Israel and Hizbullah two summers ago. That (stillborn) document called for “full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 and 1680, that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state.”

Obviously, the feeble Lebanese government has not disarmed Hizbullah. On the contrary: the government’s recent agreement (read: capitulation) legalizes Hizbullah’s arms and, rather than make the divisive movement comply with the “consolidation of sovereignty and authority of the Lebanese state,” makes such a scenario impossible.

UNIFIL, the “beefed-up” United Nations force that was deployed to southern Lebanon with instructions not to allow Hizbullah to redeploy and rearm there, has proven to be nothing more than a tourist contingent. Not only do UNIFIL troops not engage Hizbullah militia members when they see them, but they have even agreed not to film Hizbullah violations of Resolution 1701.

So, while it is good that Ban Ki-Moon has shown enough courage to point out the big pink elephant in the room, that doesn’t mean anyone in Lebanon or in the UN is about to shoo it away.

 

The inescapable conclusion is that Hizbullah, left unrestrained (and with Syria and Iran free to manipulate the Lebanese government), will continue to undermine the sovereignty of Lebanon, and it will continue to pose a threat to Israel. When it feels it can, Hizbullah will strike out at Israel again. Oh, what a report the UN secretary-general will file then!

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