Saturday, October 07, 2006

Peacekeeping in Lebanon: Inspecting UNIFIL's terms of engagement 

The United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon -- UNIFIL to the cognoscenti -- has issued a press release with its terms of engagement(pdf).

In implementing their mandate, all UNIFIL personnel may exercise the inherent right of self-defense. In addition, the use of force beyond self-defense may be applied to ensure that UNIFIL’s area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities; to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent UNIFIL from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council; to protect UN personnel, facilities, installations and equipment; to ensure the security and freedom of movement of UN personnel and humanitarian workers; and to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence in its areas of deployment, within its capabilities. (bold emphasis added)

Beyond "the inherent right of self-defense" -- it is nice to know that some rights are inherent even in the eyes of the United Nations -- UNIFIL may -- not shall -- apply force to "ensure that UNIFIL's area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities." Well, if it is by Hezbollah, Israel and the world will know that the United Nations had the option to use force to prevent it. If Hezbollah attacks from UNIFIL's area of operations and UNIFIL does not open fire, we trust the world's media will demand to know why UNIFIL chose not engage.

The second bolded phrase raises an even greater prospect of UNIFIL military action, at least on paper. UNIFIL may apply force beyond self defense "to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent UNIFIL from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council." That mandate, collapsing the demands of several UNSC resolutions, includes the following requirements (bold emphasis added):
According to Security Council resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978, UNIFIL was established to:
Confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon;

Restore international peace and security;

Assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.

According to Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) of 11 August 2006, UNIFIL, in addition to carrying out its mandate under resolutions 425 and 426, shall:
Monitor the cessation of hostilities;

Accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the South, including along the Blue Line, as Israel withdraws its armed forces from Lebanon;

Coordinate its activities referred to in the preceding paragraph (above) with the Government of Lebanon and the Government of Israel;

Extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons;

Assist the Lebanese armed forces in taking steps towards the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an [area] [sic] free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL deployed in this area;

Assist the Government of Lebanon, at its request, in securing its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel. (original text of the underying Resolution 1701)

Interestingly, the mandate to "assist the Lebanese armed forces" is not qualified by the requirement of a request, but the mandate to "assist the Government of Lebanon ... in securing its borders" is. Lawyers schooled in the American system would argue that the omission of the requirement for a request from the mandate to disarm is intentional (since the UNSC obviously thought about the requirement for a request when it drafted the border security mandate). The UNIFIL is therefore to "assist the Lebanese armed forces" in the disarming mandate without having received a request -- it has the right to do it in without request, and perhaps even over the objections of the Lebanese armed forces. This strongly suggests that the UNIFIL will use force other than in self-defense to disarm third parties south of the Litani, or it would if not for a different eviscerating qualification: that the Lebanese armed forces need only "take steps towards" the establishment of a disarmed area, not actually achieve disarmament or even use their best efforts. "Taking steps towards" is one of the oldest dodges in the book, and its inclusion in Resolution 1701 creates the space for Lebanon to abdicate and Hezbollah to rearm.

I suppose it shouldn't surprise us that the United Nations grades for effort.

Not surprisingly, there is a clear requirement of Resolution 1701 that UNIFIL has no mandate to enforce, whether at request or otherwise:
15. Decides further that all States shall take the necessary measures to prevent, by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft:
(a) The sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, whether or not originating in their territories; and

(b) The provision to any entity or individual in Lebanon of any technical training or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of the items listed in subparagraph (a) above;

except that these prohibitions shall not apply to arms, related material, training or assistance authorized by the Government of Lebanon or by UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11.

Anybody know any countries violating paragraph 15?


By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sun Oct 08, 01:27:00 AM:

may be applied vs shall

With these people, seemingly small differences like that really matter.

So basically, the UN has punted on doing anything actually resembling keeping the peace.

You know they "lawyered up" good when that was written ;->  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Oct 08, 01:06:00 PM:

On Yom Kippur, Oct. 2, 24 hours after the last Israeli soldier left South Lebanon and the day before UNIFIL published its rules of engagement, Hizballah placed roadblocks on all the approaches to the central sector of the South and the entrances to the towns and villages reoccupied by its forces and their rocket units.

These enclaves were declared “closed military zones.”

DEBKAfile’s exclusive military and Western intelligence sources report that neither the Lebanese army which moved south nor the international peacekeepers of UNIFIL venture to set foot in these enclaves. Nor did they raise a finger to block the first broad-daylight consignment of advanced Iranian weapons to be delivered in Lebanon via Syria since the August 14 ceasefire.

This coordinated Hizballah-Iranian-Syrian ploy has brought into question the point of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which was to prevent the resumption of hostilities and Hizballah’s rearmament while helping the Beirut government and army assert its sovereignty in the South. It has also made a mockery of the UN Force and its missions.

These developments effectively assign UN Security Council resolution 1701 to the same dustbin as resolution 1559 which ordered Hizballah disarmed.

It is especially noted that the Israeli government has made no military or diplomatic response to these violations, or even informed the public that Hizballah has redeployed in the precise positions from which it blitzed Haifa, Nahariya, Carmiel, Acre and W. Galilee for more than a month.

Tuesday, Oct. 3, after Hizballah completed its redeployment, the southern commander who orchestrated the rocket bombardment of Israel, Sheikh Nabil Qauq, made his first appearance since the war. He announced that his forces had regrouped, fully armed and in command of rocket supplies, in exactly the same positions facing the Israeli border as they had occupied when they went to war on July 12.

This statement is fully confirmed by DEBKAfile’s military and W. intelligence sources which locate the enclaves Hizballah has cordoned off as closed military zones:

1. Majdal Zoun south of Tyre, from which Nahariya, Acre, Carmiel and Western Galilee were bombed. The Nasser rocket brigade has returned to its posts there with a fresh supply of rockets, as well as the launchers and crews which escaped Israeli counter-attack.

2. Jouaiya, the strategic village occupied by the IDF during the war, has been roped into the Majdal Zoun “military area,” providing Hizballah with full military control of the Tyre district and the ability to bombard UNIFIL headquarters and bases.

3. Siddiquine south of Kana.

4. Deir Amess.

5. The road approaches to the large village of Tebnin in the central sector of the South are blocked.

Our military experts explain that control of Sidiquine, Deir Amess and Tebnin afford Hizballah’s military deployment command of the strategic Jabel Amel mountain region, and its focal points of Haris, Kafra and Aita e-Zott villages. From there, Hizballah fired rockets at Haifa. They were also the centers of the advanced electronic sites from which Hizballah tracked Israeli troop movements across the border and eavesdropped on their signals.

DEBKAfile’s sources also provide detailed information on the Iranian-Syrian arms supplies sent openly into Lebanon on Oct. 2.

In early September, DEBKAfile began reporting on the 25 Hizballah arms dumps maintained for easy access on the Syrian side of the Lebanese border. Damascus was thus technically complicit with the 1701 arms embargo. The Syrian Al Qusayr air base south of Homs and opposite the Lebanese town of Hermel was given over for the use of the forward Iranian Revolutionary Guards command. Since the ceasefire, Iranian air transports have been landing arms for Hizballah at this facility almost daily.

Saturday, Sept 30, Syrian military supplies and maintenance units at this air base prepared a convoy of six trucks for a trial run to test the response. Two were fully loaded with miscellaneous rockets, including Katyusha, anti-air and anti-tank missiles, four with mortars, heavy machine guns and ammunition.

This convoy crossed the border at a central road junction connecting the Syrian village of Qusayr with Mt. Lebanon, and headed southwest to Hermel. Another two arms convoys stood by on the Syrian side of the border, waiting to see if the first one was allowed through. Since both the IDF and UNIFIL sat on their hands, the next two will soon follow.

What the international forces did next on Tuesday night Oct. 3 was to publish its rules of engagement These are the main clauses:

The force's commanders have sufficient authority to act forcefully when confronted with hostile activity of any kind.

UNIFIL personnel may exercise the inherent right of self-defense, as well as "the use of force beyond self-defense to ensure that UNIFIL's area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities."

The peacekeepers also may use force "to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent UNIFIL from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council, to protect U.N. personnel, facilities, installations and equipment and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of U.N. personnel and humanitarian workers."

Also the use of force may be applied "to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence in its areas of deployment, within its capabilities."

DEBKAfile notes that all these locutions are open to broad interpretation.

For instance, “hostile activity” could apply to an attack from outer space since there is no mention of “Hizballah,” “Syria or “Iran.” The “arms embargo” ordered by Resolution 1701 is another unmentionable. “The civilians” to be protected are likewise undefined. UNIFIL’s commander has full discretion to decide whether or not it is aplicable to a Hizballlah rocket attack on Nahariya.

Since UN commanders have state explicitly they will only act with the permission of the Lebanese government and army (in which Hizballah holds the power of veto), there is no way that the international force can carry out its duties as mandated by the UN Security Council.

The Olmert government fully colludes in reducing this body to the same ineffectiveness as it displayed in the 28 years leading up to the Lebanon War. By their silence and passivity, Israeli leaders hope to hide the true outcome of that bungled campaign from Israeli and world opinion. Foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who proudly held up the UN force’s deployment as the war’s only success and the formula for Israel’s successful exit strategy, has been strangely struck dumb.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Oct 08, 10:08:00 PM:

nice site  

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