THE SPINE JANUARY 31, 2010
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, against which I warned long ago, passed unanimously on August 11, 2006. Two days later, the Israeli cabinet approved the motion 24-0--but with one astute minister abstaining. For whatever it is worth, I thought (and wrote) that the restrictions on Hezbollah (and, more than inferentially, on both Syria and Iran) meant less than nothing. Control of the smuggling of arms to Hezbollah and of the reintroduction of Hezbollah men into southern Lebanon was delegated to UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which had been an interim operation since 1978 ... and a useless operation at that. Utterly useless. And this was the case whether the soldiery was Tonga’s or Spain’s.
Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister during the Lebanon war, formed a sisterhood with Condi Rice, and together they panicked the Council into passing a measure that was bound to fail. UNIFIL had no authority and few men. Hezbollah very quickly began to test 1701 and found that the path was clear for any and every violation it wanted to commit.
Now, of course, Hassan Nasrallah’s well-outfitted army is raring to go. It is now fully recognized as a legal militia but outside the jurisdiction of the ministry of defense. So it is really Nasrallah’s militia, and he has everybody else in the government, from Prime Minister Saad Hariri (once thought independent) to the constitutionally mandated Maronite president, Michel Suleiman (a former general), frightened out of their wits. Ordinary folk are praying that there won’t be a war.
But an important figure in the Obama administration, Jeff Feltman, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told the London-based Arabic daily, Al-Hayat, that the danger of another war follows on the depth and extent of Hezbollah’s rearmament. A report by Avi Issacharoff on this article was published in Ha’aretz.
Jonathan Spyer extends the analysis to the prognosis for Syria and Israel, based on the mercurial situation in Lebanon, in a policy paper for the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center.
Alas, the administration in Washington above Feltman continues in its see-nothing, do-nothing approach to Syria and Lebanon, only making both states feel that they have successfully pulled the wool over American eyes.