Hezbollah defies UN Resolution 1701
By: Elias Bejjani*
The weird status of the Terrorist Iranian Hezbollah Militia in Lebanon has no precedent in the entire world, not in the contemporary era, nor at any time in the past. Presumably Lebanon is an independent democratic and multi-cultural country and an active founding member of both the United Nations and Arab league, while in reality and practicality it is not so due to the sad fact that its governing mechanism on all levels is mostly dictated and controlled by the Hezbollah leadership who run and dominate a mini Khomeini state inside the state of Lebanon with an army, financing capabilities, social services, educational body, organizational structure and weaponry arsenal that are all far stronger and far larger than those of the Lebanese state itself.
Hezbollah, the armed Iranian militia stationed in Lebanon, is totally affiliated to the Iranian notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Its leadership holds on solely to Lebanon's war-peace decision making process and imposes on the Lebanese and the country's institutions and officials by force and terrorism their Khomeini's denominational Islamic criteria with regard as to who is an enemy, who is an ally or friend, and who should be from the Lebanese tagged as a nationalist or a traitor.
On July 2006, Hezbollah instigated a deadly war with Israel that lasted for 34 days. The Lebanese legitimate authorities nor the people had any saying in the matter. Because of this insane war, the whole country has suffered huge financial loses that has exceeded 50 billion dollars with more than 1500 citizens and army men dead and with thousands injured. Hezbollah leadership came out of their underground dens and bunkers when the war stopped to declare a divine victory. A victory that in reality is a mere self deception and a sickening delusion according to all world-wide recognized scientific standards of military, loses, gains, reality and logic.
The war was ended in accordance to the UNSC Resolution 1701 that calls in its 8th clause for:Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the following principles and elements:
Full respect for the Blue Line by both parties;
Security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11, deployed in this area;
Full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state; No foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government;
No sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government;
Provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel's possession.
Hezbollah did not abide by the UNSC 1701. Its Leadership did not put an end to its presence in the area that falls between the Blue Line and the Litani River. The Resolution stipulated that this area must be free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Lebanese Army and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the UNIFIL.
UNIFIL does not have the mandate to disarm Hezbollah nor to confiscate its weapons, while the field engagement rules that govern its military activities are limited to self defense only and when facing danger.
Meanwhile the Lebanese Army that was deployed in the South and whose higher command according to the Lebanese Constitution is the Lebanese government, was left in the cold with no orders to either disarm Hezbollah, engage with its men, limit their activities or to confiscate any weaponry of its depots located in the UNFIL working area.
Sadly the UNIFIL, Israel, Lebanese officials and politicians, United Nation, and all the countries whose troops are serving with the UNIFIL, have always been aware of this fact but hesitated, and failed, from taking any action to straighten out the matter and put the UNFIL troops under the UN Chapter Seven that gives the troops the power to carry enforcing and deterrent assignments that the Lebanese army is not allowed by the Lebanese government to implement.
UNIFIL troops have always been under the mercy of Hezbollah and were never able to carry out their assignments freely. In this context a series of underground explosions took place on Tuesday July 14/09 in an abandoned building near Lebanon's tense border with Israel. They were the result of a huge fire in a Hezbollah underground weapons depot. There were no casualties in the blasts, though widespread panic was caused among residents, some of whom mistook it for an Israeli air raid. The depot in the village of Khirbet Silim, about 10 miles north of the border, was housed in an abandoned building and guarded by Hezbollah militia men around the clock.
Following this incident, the Lebanese Army and the UNIFIL stated in their official statements that they have closed off the area and launched a joint investigation into the cause of the explosions. But according to media reports and local residents, Hezbollah deployed heavily in the area following the blast, preventing not only civilians, but also the UNIFIL and Lebanese Army from entering, the area.
Hezbollah in its camouflaging and distraction maneuvering tactics in regards to the Khirbet Silim incident has carried two more violations to the 1701 and tried to fabricate justifications for its so called resistance against Israel:
On July 17/09 a group of 15 Lebanese civilians, including children, crossed the border from Lebanon into Israel. The people were carrying Hezbollah and Lebanon flags. The group crossed the border at a spot where no fence exists, and walked to the Israeli side. IDF soldiers spotted them, but seeing they were unarmed, and had children with them, decided not to respond. Several minutes after crossing the border, the group turned back and returned to Lebanese territory.
Earlier on the same day Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah alleged that Israel is still holding a Lebanese prisoner and the remains of others despite a prison exchange a year ago in which all were to be returned and claimed that the family of the Lebanese soldier Yehia Skaff, say their son is still being held in an Israeli prison. He also alleged that Israel is also holding the "remains of martyrs." There was no immediate comment from Israel, but the government has said in the past that they believe Skaff was killed during the Palestinian terror attack he carried out in 1978 that killed 35 Israelis.
On July 18/09 fourteen UN peacekeepers were injured when Hezbollah civilians stopped by force a UNIFIL patrol that was trying to investigate into the Khirbet Silim arms cache explosion. During the confrontation around 100 Hezbollah civilians threw stones at the troops and damaged their vehicles.
The UNIFIL considered the Khirbet Silim incident a serious violation of Security Council Resolution 1701, notably the provision that there should be no presence of unauthorized assets or weapons in the area of operation between the Litani River and the Blue Line," UNIFIL spokesperson Yasmina Bouziane said in a press statement issued on 15/07/09. The statement noted that UNIFIL's Force Commander Claudio Graziano had met with Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and LAF Commander Jean Kahwaji to brief them on the situation, adding that a "deposit of ammunition" had been discovered.
Observers believe that the warehouse that blew up was filled with rockets, artillery shells, and machine guns and that it is one of dozens of ammunition depots in southern Lebanon that Hezbollah still fully controls. Obscuring the situation further, a security source told the English language Daily Star that the site was an "arms assembly plant." Local residents are fully aware that Hezbollah had turned hundreds of homes in the area into warehouses to store short- and medium-range Katyusha rockets, but are afraid to officially complain.
Since the 2006 war ended and since the issuance of the 1701 Resolution, there has been no visible Hezbollah weapons in the UNFIL area, but at the same time there has been no confiscating of Hezbollah Arm depots, which clearly means that all its depots have remained intact where they were before the war. This fact becomes credible when we Nasrallah, bragging publicly that his arsenal has doubled 10 times after July 2006. The only thing that has changed is that Hezbollah fighters "Al Mujahedin" are not wearing any more their military attires, but instead civilian cloth. Otherwise they are still there, moving freely in all the South under the eyes of both the UNIFIL and Lebanese army forces.
The UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, through a series of reports on the implementation of the Resolution 1701, had expressed his dire concern about the indications of both the continued presence of arms and armed men in the south and the smugglings of weapons through the Syrian-Lebanese borders. In his latest report issued last month he sated that the "Lebanese authorities have the primary responsibility to make sure there are no unauthorized armed elements and weapons in the region between the Litani River and the Blue Line, which serves as the border between Lebanon and Israel.
In conclusion, Hezbollah is still in control of South Lebanon, and still maintains there all its weaponry depots and armed men in spite of the presence of the UNIFI and Lebanese army troops, and accordingly remains capable at any time to instigate a war with Israel on the instructions of its masters, the Iranian Mullahs. At the same still manipulating the Lebanese government and obstructing its control and authority.
There will be no end to the bizarre, volatile and fragile situation in South Lebanon unless Hezbollah militia is dismantled and disarmed, not only in South Lebanon, but in the whole country. To achieve this goal the UNIFIL force in South Lebanon must have a new engagement mandate under chapter seven of the United Nations' charter in a bid to be authorized jointly with the Lebanese Army force to implement the 1701 and 1559 UNSC Resolutions
By the end of the day, for Lebanon to enjoy a long-lasting stability and peace, its government must engage immediately with Israel into serious negotiations in a bid to end the war status between the two countries and sign a peace treaty as was the situation with both Jordan and Egypt, or otherwise, Hezbollah and other terrorist and Jihadist groups will continue to use South Lebanon as a battlefield for their Jihad wars (Holy Wars) against Israel.