As fast as Israel withdraws from S.Lebanon, the Hezbollah moves in quickly to return to their “old stomping grounds in Hezbollastan”, that utopian state which allows …”the rest of Lebanon to operate autonomously”. Yes, we see the dramatic pictures of the Lebanese army being transported to the south of the Litani river, but what will they do there once they get there? The Lebanese national army has neither the gumption, nor the mandate, to disarm the Hezbollah, but then again, neither does the “new and improved” UNAFIL force that is supposed to be 15 000 strong, but can’t even get 3500 men into the area for another two weeks.
The watered down version of UNSCR 1701, calls for the disarming of all non government militias (read= Hezbollah), but sends in troops with absolutely no jurisdiction to enforce the Security Council’s chapter seven (binding) resolution. This is a return to the way things were, before the Hezbollah launched its attack on Israel. The original UNIFIL force had roughly the same amount of men then, when it was first brought into being(15 000) in the early 80’s, only to be whittled down to a rump force of about 2000. The same fate appears to await this one as well, as they try to put together the requested number, of which Finland is presently mulling over the possibility of supplying 200 men. Talk here is over their safety, and that, more than anything else, signifies just how ineffectual they will be once they’re in position.
Syria’s Bashir Assad’s recent swipe at Saad Hariri, the son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, as being an “Israeli collaborator”, is only meant to add fuel to the fire, with a Hezbollah takeover of Lebanon being a possible outcome. That Syria is trying to “cook up” a civil strife-cum-civil war in Lebanon, makes even the most pessimistic of Middle-East analyists, appear to be an optimist. KGS