The Lebanese Army and UN Peacekeepers Provide Cover for Hizballah in Southern Lebanon

In December of last year, the IDF launched Operation Northern Shield, which uncovered and destroyed six attack tunnels dug by Hizballah from Lebanon into Israel. Jerusalem had showed the Israeli-side openings of tunnels to the UN International Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)—whose task is to ensure that only the Lebanese military is operating in the southern part of that country—but no action was taken in response. With the thirteenth anniversary of the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War approaching this Friday, Assaf Orion examines the failures of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the war and created UNIFIL:

While the United Nations reports thousands of patrols in the area without any findings, recent events proved that Israel has a credible intelligence picture penetrating even Hizballah’s clandestine and compartmentalized projects. Israel’s exposure of physical evidence sheds light on the absurdity of the UN’s declamations about the “lack of evidence” of violations of Resolution 1701.

[Likewise], there is a wide gap between the international community’s appeals to the Lebanese government and the simple fact that this government, whether as a hostage or as a willing accomplice, plays an active role in concealing Hizballah’s military and in enabling its activities against Israel and against the UN forces. Since Iran and Hizballah have seized control over politics in Lebanon, the Lebanese government is not the solution, but rather part of the problem.

[Thus] the gravest military threat to Israel’s security today has gradually emerged in Lebanon: a massive, forward array of Iranian firepower on Israel’s northern border, embedded in populated areas while enjoying a sovereign state’s protection and cloaked in international denial. . . .

Since it has become evident that the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south is not at the expense of Hizballah’s military forces there, it would be wise to temper international enthusiasm about reinforcing Lebanese forces. . . . Further assistance to the Lebanese army should be provided to units that pose no danger to Israel, such as those combating terrorist activities and border-security units, and assistance should be made contingent upon the fulfillment of Lebanon’s obligations [to keep Hizballah out of its southern region].

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More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Second Lebanon War, United Nations

 

A U.S. Withdrawal from Syria Would Help Russia, Iran, and Islamic State

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Despite the president’s declaration last year that American troops would soon begin leaving Syria, about 1,000 remain. Charles Lister argues that their presence in the country serves vital U.S. interests:

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More about: Iran, ISIS, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy