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The Jerusalem Post reports that Kofi Annan will modify the rules of engagement for UNIFIL to allow them to open fire on armed Hezbollah positions and troops. This change, if true, would constitute a major departure for the UN and its hapless observer forces in the region:
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to recommend Monday that the rules of engagement of the enhanced UNIFIL force to be deployed in Lebanon include opening fire on Hizbullah where necessary, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
While UN Security Council Resolution 1701 mandated an enhanced UNIFIL force to help the Lebanese Army deploy south and along the border with Syria, it did not spell out the operational procedures of this force.
Israel has been pushing for the need for an effective force, arguing that one of the criteria would be the ability to open fire on Hizbullah if the force saw, for instance, Hizbullah launching rockets toward Israel. This matter came up at a meeting Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held last week in New York with Annan. ...
"This is to date the most explicit expression of the upgrade to the UNIFIL force that has yet been received," one senior diplomatic official said. Nevertheless, even if the UNIFIL forces had authorization to open fire, whether they would indeed do so and subject themselves to a firefight with Hizbullah is questionable. Officials in the Prime Minister's Office reserved judgment, saying they wanted to see the recommendation before responding.
Modifying the ROEs would certainly go a fair piece to establishing some credibility for UNIFIL. Previously, UNSCR 1701 only committed to defensive action on the part of UN troops, and not the enforced disarmament of Hezbollah terrorists. The raid near Baalbek may have shaken Annan from his vacuousness and forced him to start addressing some of Israel's concerns.
However, the order to fire will not come from Arabs in the UN contingent. The plans to use Muslim troops, especially from nations hostile to Israel, effectively negates any notion that UNIFIL will operate in a manner that uses the new ROEs to reduce Hezbollah's grip on southern Lebanon. Only NATO forces would react in a military fashion to maintain the peace in the region, which is probably why Annan went to the ummah rather than the US-European military alliance.
The public acknowledgment of 1701's inherent flaw of credible enforcement comes as a pleasant surprise, as does the proposed solution. If we had a hope in Hades that the UN would actually deploy the kinds of troops that would execute such orders, we'd almost say this was progress.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Israel at War Watch: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Expected To Give UNIFIL Teeth from FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog
United Nations peacekeepers from France, atop an APC, disembark from a landing vessel in the port of the southern border town of Naqoura, Lebanon. JPost: Annan to give UNIFIL ‘teeth’ UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to recommend... [Read More]
Tracked on August 21, 2006 8:19 AM
» Annan to give UNIFIL 'teeth' from Old War Dogs
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to recommend Monday that the rules of engagement of the enhanced UNIFIL force to be deployed in Lebanon include opening fire on Hizbullah where necessary, The Jerusalem Post has learned. [...] Israel has been [Read More]
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