THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 28, 2006
Relying on various news agencies, Haaretz reports on a briefing by Fouad Siniora for news folk in which the Lebanese prime minister slammed Israel and its military presence in his country as the "mother of all ills." If the Israel army were to be totally withdrawn from Lebanon, "there won't be any valid argument then," Siniora assured, "for the continuation of weapons in the hands of Hezebollah."
Siniora is not an idiot. But he is a rogue if not actually a liar. He has made this preposterous statement despite Hassan Nasrallah's speech last Friday proclaiming Hezbollah's possession of 20,000 rockets and its clear challenge to the Lebanese army and to UNIFIL that it would not be disarmed. Despite also the fact that Israel has almost totally withdrawn from Lebanon. And despite another salient fact that the embellished international UNIFIL detachments have not confronted Hezbollah on precisely its retention of arms and its replenishment of rockets and missiles from Syria.
Besides all this, the enlargement of the numbers of UNIFIL troops is still less than half what had been promised. Siniora can't even persuade his president, the Syrian satrap Emile Lahoud, to stop hectoring the French, who have actually been doing what they should be doing under U.N. auspices. When Hezbollah started this war, unprovoked and without any Israeli forces on Lebanese territory, Siniora did not discipline its two ministers in his cabinet, and he certainly did not dismiss them for dragging the entire country into a disaster.