UNIFIL to have ‘teeth’?
Err … doesn’t sound quite right, does it? Well, according to the Jerusalem Post UN Sec. Gen. Kofi Annan is expected to recommend today that the UNIFIL forces that will (someday?) be deployed to Lebanon be given the go ahead to ‘open fire’ on Hezbollah if the need arises:
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to recommend Monday that the rules of engagement of the enhanced UNIFIL force to be deployed in Lebanon include opening fire on Hizbullah where necessary, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
While UN Security Council Resolution 1701 mandated an enhanced UNIFIL force to help the Lebanese Army deploy south and along the border with Syria, it did not spell out the operational procedures of this force. [Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the UN, does it? Not that most of us had any to begin with. –ST]
Israel has been pushing for the need for an effective force, arguing that one of the criteria would be the ability to open fire on Hizbullah if the force saw, for instance, Hizbullah launching rockets toward Israel. This matter came up at a meeting Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held last week in New York with Annan.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in a telephone conversation in the afternoon with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi on Sunday, said that Israel would like to see Italy lead the force, a change from the widespread expectation that France would be heading it up.
As my co-guest blogger Betsy Newmark pointed out earlier today, included in those who expected France to ‘lead’ a UN force into Lebanon was one Sec. of State Condi Rice who – quite honestly – should have known better than to believe France would be willing to lead anything that didn’t involve slamming the US and Israel in the process.
Side note: Is it just me or does the color powder blue as worn by any soldier (whether French or otherwise) not look especially intimidating? Hmm. Maybe that’s the point … but I’m digressing.
In any event, expect any UN ‘force’ to have about as much bite to their barks as the ‘ceasefire agreement’ the toothless piranha in the UN approved (without specifying operational procedures for UNIFIL) in the first place.
More: Captain Ed is skeptical of this as well (make sure to read all the way to the end).
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