UN Sleeps, Hezbollah Rearms
Like fire ants that just had their hill kicked over, Hezbollah soldiers in southern Lebanon are rebuilding, reshaping and restocking the infrastructure and arsenal that was destroyed and depleted in its war with Israel this past summer. Tunnels and trenches are being redug; telecommunications lines, restored; weapons and missile stocks, replenished—and aid and supplies are flowing in.
What is remarkable, though, is the fact that this major overhaul is being carried out under the noses of over 20,000 Lebanese and UN soldiers.
As if the embarrassing oil-for-food scandal in Iraq and the botched UN operations in Liberia, Sudan, Rwanda, Colombia, Kashmir and Angola weren’t enough to prove the United Nations is a decrepit organization, this travesty further confirms it. Hezbollah is making a mockery of the United Nations.
Hezbollah fighters are using the reconstruction in Lebanese towns as a cloak for their own reconstruction efforts (Telegraph, Nov. 1, 2006). Terrorists who brandished guns and rocket launchers last July now push shovels, brooms and wheelbarrows. But rather than help rebuild homes and schools, these militants are pouring their sweat into tunnels and trenches that will be used for weapons smuggling and launch pads. The hundreds of trucks carrying aid, supplies and materials into southern Lebanon are perfect for smuggling weapons and communications equipment into the region.
About 9,500 UN soldiers and at least 12,000 Lebanese soldiers are stationed in southern Lebanon, and still the region is a beehive of terrorist activity. So if these soldiers aren’t curbing Hezbollah’s activities, what are they doing? Very little!
Spiegel Online reports: “‘We just stand around,’ complain Spanish Marines from the nearby ‘Isla de Leon’ base who are on patrol in Piranha armored cars. The two vehicles stop every 20 minutes and the soldiers hang around on the street. ‘We can tell you exactly what we’re doing here,’ they say. ‘We are here just to be here’” (Oct. 31, 2006).
Read UN Resolution 1701, the resolution aimed at resolving the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, and it becomes obvious why UN troops are inactive. Beyond being soft-spoken, toothless and painfully vague, the resolution provides no clear, definite course of action should Hezbollah decide to return to its pre-war status as a fully armed, battle-ready terrorist organization.
The resolution is clear on one matter though, that is, unifil forces are not to act independently in their responsibilities in southern Lebanon; rather, they are to submit to and provide assistance to the Lebanese government and military. Though such a deal seems reasonable—after all, it is Lebanon’s territory—there is one major problem: The Lebanese government and military have a soft spot for Hezbollah and a history of failing to deal forcefully with the terrorist group in their midst. The Lebanese government deployed 12,000 soldiers to southern Lebanon, but they too are doing virtually nothing to prevent Hezbollah from rearming. Hezbollah’s position in the Lebanese coalition government, and the support it receives from Tehran and Damascus, emboldens the group to disrespect the Lebanese government and military.
Arutz Sheva noted Nov. 1, 2006, how Hezbollah terrorists are more prone to roaming freely and conducting their activities at night because unifil does not patrol the streets after dark. Spanish unifil official Richard Ortax admitted they don’t conduct night patrols “because of the danger involved.” These soldiers are well-trained and equipped with some of the best technology and weaponry available, not to mention that they outnumber Hezbollah fighters almost two to one—yet it’s too dangerous for them to participate in nightly patrols?
This is as embarrassing as it is ridiculous!
UN officials would argue that its presence in Lebanon—weak as it may be—is preventing war from breaking out. That might be true for now, but the fact is, if an unrepentant Iranian-backed terrorist group with a proven track record for starting wars with Israel is allowed to rearm and reinstate itself so quickly after its latest war, then a future war is inevitable. The UN’s incompetence is hastening the day.