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Israel has warned the UN and Lebanon that any solution that allows Hezbollah to retain any weapons will result in a resumption of hostilities. Kofi Annan's earlier reaction to the reported deal between Fuad Siniora and Hassan Nasrallah that amounted to a "don't show, don't tell" policy angered Israelis and probably scotched the notion of a cease-fire in the short term:
The IDF will have to resume operations in Lebanon if the expanded United Nations force being assembled does not fulfill its obligation to dismantle Hizbullah, an official in the Prime Minister's Office warned on Tuesday.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah reportedly reached a deal allowing Hizbullah to keep its weapons but refrain from exhibiting them in public. Israeli officials called the arrangement a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which passed over the weekend and was approved on Sunday by the cabinet.
"The resolution is clear that Hizbullah needs to be removed from the border area, embargoed and dismantled," the official said. "If the resolution is not implemented, we will have to take action to prevent the rearming of Hizbullah. I don't think backtracking will serve any useful purpose. There has to be pressure on Hizbullah to disarm or there will have to be another round." ...
Annan angered Israeli officials when he told Channel 2 on Tuesday that "dismantling Hizbullah is not the direct mandate of the UN," which could only help Lebanon disarm the organization. Annan upset officials further when he said that deploying international forces in Lebanon would take "weeks or months," and not days as expected.
None of us who follow the UN and Kofi Annan experienced any sort of surprise when he demurred from actually enforcing a Security Council resolution. His insistence that the UN has no real interest in the question of Hezbollah disarmament may seem shocking, since the Security Council has now twice demanded it, but it comes as a piece to the record of UN peacekeeping under his regime, first as the head of peacekeeping and now as Secretary-General. UN forces sent to keep "peace" have almost without exception fled from terrorists and genocidists, only standing firm when under NATO or US/UK command.
Many saw UNSCR 1701 as a defeat for Israel, because of this obvious deficiency and the use of the discredited UNIFIL force for the mission. However, Israel would not quietly allow Annan and Siniora to defeat them where Hezbollah failed. Politically, the Olmert government cannot accept the return of an armed Hezbollah organization to the sub-Litani, a fact that even the terminally dense Annan should have recognized.
Annan also miscalculated the Israeli impulse for a cessation of hostilities. He was under the impression that Israel had tired of the military option, but in reality Israel won everything it wanted in the action, especially under the terms of 1701. The Israelis still had plenty of will left to fight, but with the exception of pushing into the Bekaa, a further incursion past the Litani would have produced rapidly diminishing results. The Israelis want a sovereign Lebanese government to take responsibility for its own territory, and do not want to conduct another long occupation based on the lack of a partner in Beirut.
Don't expect this cease-fire to last more than the next 24-48 hours. Annan himself managed to destroy it, and the UN Security Council will be hard pressed to make any more demands on the Israelis -- which leaves them open to do whatever they think best without further interference.Sphere It View blog reactions
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