John E. CareyDay 11, Crisis In Southern Lebanon:Mon Jul 24, 2006 00:56
July 22, 2006 at 19:07:35
Day 11, Crisis In Southern Lebanon: Blame the United Nations
by John E. Carey
Day 11, Crisis In Southern Lebanon: We Blame the United Nations
By John E. Carey
As the Israeli army pushed into Lebanon on July 22, civilians that had ignored week-old Israeli-dropped leaflets warning them to evacuate, had to move back. Consequently, today, tens of thousands of Lebanese fled north packing into the port of Sidon to escape the fighting.
Naturally, the United Nations warned of a growing humanitarian "disaster."
Not relying on leaflets alone, an Israeli radio station that normally broadcasts to southern Lebanon has also been warning residents of 13 villages, for days, to flee north by Saturday afternoon. The villages form a corridor about 4 miles wide and 11 miles deep.
The people didn't move much and the UN, paralyzed as usual, did little to find a way to move them.
The U.N. has reacted with: nothing.
And the UN apparently was taken off guard by this current crisis, despite warning for decades.
Predictably, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed a beefed-up U.N. force along the Lebanese border when the fighting is all over.
It just so happens that the UN mandate for Unifil, which has been camped out doing nothing in Southern Lebanon for 28 years, runs out on July 31.
Unifil, officially the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, has been totally useless in its mandate for years.
Here's Unifil's mandate, according to Security Council resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978: (A) Confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon; (B) Restore international peace and security; and (C) Assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.
Unifil accomplished one of its missions: it confirmed the Israeli withdrawal. But Unifil failed miserably to restore peace: allowing Hezbollah to send rockets, bomb carrying terrorists and other bad things into Israel. Unifil couldn't even stop children from throwing rocks at Israelis through the fence.
And, did Unifil assist the government of Lebanon by "ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area."? No. Nobody did.
"In 1975, Lebanese President Suleiman Franjieh warned Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat that failure to discipline Palestinian radicals in the southern outskirts of Beirut would exploit Lebanon's hospitality and plunge the country into civil war. These were famous last words. Within months, a civil war broke out that engulfed Lebanon and continued over the next 15 years."
"Looking back over the past 30 years, we can see the profound consequences that emerged since Mr. Franjieh's warning. Central authority lost was never restored."
We put those last two paragraphs into quotation marks because they were written by David Makovskyin the Baltimore Sun on July 18. Mr. Makoyskyin is a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process. (read his essay at: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templatec06.php?cid=947)
You'd think, in thirty years, someone would say, "leaving Arab terrorists, who routinely talk in the most ugly terms of pushing the State of Israel into the sea, in control of a part of Lebanon snuggled up against Israel, is a dangerous thing."
Did the UN ever say that? Did the UN do anything? No.
Israelis were left to live in terror as their neighbor fomented terror. And the rhetoric coming from Israel's enemies is appalling in its vitriol.
"Thanks be to God, despite its criminal and savage nature, the Zionist regime and its supporters in the West do not have the power to look in the same way towards Iran," the fiercely anti-Israeli president wailed recently.
The same people who rioted when newspapers published unflattering cartoons about Islam routinely use the ugliest words to threaten Israelis. And they get away with it.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, no stranger to criticizing Israel, said today that the conflict had displaced at least 700,000 Lebanese so far, and Israel's destruction of bridges and roads has made access to them difficult. "I'm afraid of a major humanitarian disaster," Kofi Annan told CNN.
We ask: why, then, did Mr. Annan allow Unifil to do next to nothing to rein in Hezbollah and other anti-Israeli terrorists in Southern Lebanon for the last 28 years at mostly US expense?
The UN humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, is already passing the hat for money and he already knows just what to ask for: more than $100 million to help the displaced. He said he would make an appeal "urging, begging" the international community for contributions.
As part of an effort to avert such a crisis, Israel eased its blockade of Lebanon's ports to allow the first shiploads of aid to arrive. It remained unclear how that aid would get to the isolated towns and villages where the fighting has been centered. This is because the UN has not the foresight, despite the fact that we are in day 11 of this crisis, to muster relief agencies and other Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) expeditiously to form a human chain of helping hands to bring forward the food, water and medial supplies the refugees need and deserve.
Let me be perfectly clear: despite months of warning, the UN was not able to stop Hezbollah from annoying Israel; was unable to prevent wanton attacks on Israel despite 28 years of assimilation in the region; and was unprepared for the ultimate Israeli reaction: anger, and attack resulting in human flight.
Despite the fact that this is all history repeating itself, the UN was caught unawares. Israel isn't doing anything new. They seem to have the AAA "trip Tick" to Southern Lebanon memorized by now.
As a former military planner, I was taught to anticipate. What annoys me most about the UN is not that they are lying, cheating, money wasting bureaucrats living in the United States at mostly US expense, not that they routinely engage in evil money making capers like "Oil for Food" disguised as helpful international peacekeeping.
What annoys me most about the UN is that a lot of people get killed, hurt, and displaced because nobody in the UN can anticipate and nobody in the UN is ever held accountable. And then the UN wraps itself in the humanitarian shroud of tears and ashes and asks for: even more money.
Every crisis that brings forth the leadership of the UN asking the world to send groceries and money, except the natural disasters like the Tsunami in Thailand in December 2004, could have been anticipated. The UN just has not, and is not, doing its job.
We have no rosy outlook that would allow us to predict, after 28 years of ineptitude, that the UN would be successful in keeping the peace in Southern Lebanon in the future. We should not even consider Kofi Annan's wonderful offer to "establish" a UN "beefed-up" peacekeeping force in Southern Lebanon when the smoke clears. Instead we should ask, "Where's the beef?"
More appropriately, we should ask the UN for all the money wasted on Unifil for 28 years and to convene courts martial for those military people and bureaucrats who frittered it away. The United States, along with all the allies we can muster, should politely excuse the inept UN and Unifil from further responsibility. Then we need to put into Southern Lebanon people who care and will do the job. And we need some accountability over those people because their work is important and has human consequences.
We assume, and we hope and pray, that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, at the direction of President Bush, is right now preparing her thoughts and talking to many allies, about the future peacekeeping force in Southern Lebanon. This will not be a useless UN force but a dedicated group of professionals, the so-called "Arab Nation Umbrella" some in Washington are already opining about.
Israel is consolidating a small buffer zone on its border with Lebanon. Israel is destroying as many Hezbollah hideouts and weapons as it can, before the US and other allies arrive like the cavalry to put peace back into place.
Let's not be too sanguine that Israel, by establishing a new cleaned-out buffer, can remain secure for long. Hezbollah shows no signs of throwing in the towel. And they are supported by an angry group of supporters including Syria, Iran and perhaps others.
Hezbollah is being armed with increasingly longer-range and more dangerous missiles and rockets. The "buffer zones" we create in the world are becoming meaningless as more and more long-range and powerful missiles and rockets reach the hands of terrorists.
How long before a terrorist has a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon and the will to use it?
The future of the fragile democratic government of Lebanon depends upon the good work of many nations over the course of the next weeks and months. More importantly, the lives of many innocent civilians on both sides of that border are in the hands of President Bush, Secretary of State Rice, and all the allies they can bring to the table.
Kofi Annan and his UN cronies have failed. Now someone else needs to take charge.
The human consequences of ineptitude by the UN are all over your TV just now. People fleeing with little but their shirts on their backs.
I blame the UN.
John E. Carey
Proudly at: http://peace-and-freedom.blogspot.com/
John E. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.
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