The UN Security Council is scheduled to convene before the end of this month to debate the renewal of the UNIFIL forces mandate in South Lebanon. This European-led mission that comprises 13,600 troops was deployed in southern Lebanon in the aftermath of last year's war between Hezbollah and Israel in a bid to assist the Lebanese authorities in the implementing of UN resolution 1701. The Council is expected to renew the force's mandate unanimously for an additional year as of September 01/ 07.
The UN General Secretary in his report to the Council recommended the renewal of the UNIFIL'S mission for an additional year without any changes in its numbers, assignments or jurisdiction. He called on the 22 countries participating in this force to attend a closed session designated to discuss its role and means needed to strengthen its effectiveness and capabilities in order help in implementing the UN resolution 1701, function better, preserves its integrity, and ensure the safety of its members.
France, in coordination with Britain and the United States, has submitted to the UN Security Council a draft resolution demanding complete implementation of all the UN resolution 1701 clauses, notably the control and ban of weapons and men smuggling from Syria into Lebanon, the demarcation of the border with Syria, including the Shebaa Farms area, the continuing efforts to restore Lebanon's legitimate authorities over all the Lebanese soil, and to put an end to all violations of the Line Blue between Lebanon and Israel, etc.
The Lebanese government sent a letter to the UN Security Council calling for renewal of the UNIFIL'S mission, but did not address the urgency of controlling the Syrian-Lebanese border, nor did it suggest expanding the jurisdiction of the international forces to cover the entire Syrian-Lebanese border. Lebanon's PM, Mr. Saniora, justified his questionable stance by a wish not to agitate Syria or shake Hezbollah's feathers.
Strange, unacceptable and appeasing are the least descriptions that could be said of Mr. Saniora's stance in not calling on the UN Council to modify the UNIFI'L'S mandate so as to cover the entire Syrian-Lebanese border. One wonders why Mr. Saniora had to appease Syria, Iran and their military proxy in Lebanon Hezbollah, despite all the atrocities they are purposefully and viciously committing against Lebanon and its people.
It is worth reminding the Lebanese government of Prime Minister Saniora that it is fully and exclusively responsible for the safety and security of all the Lebanese citizens and for enforcing Lebanese laws and all international resolutions pertaining to Lebanon over all Lebanese territory. As such, the government is obligated, domestically and internationally, to prevent the spread of weapons belonging to Hezbollah or any other parties or individuals. This national obligation requires immediate and complete military control for the Syrian-Lebanese borders. Meanwhile the Security Council will not make any amendments to the task of the UNIFIL unless the Lebanese government asks officially for such amendments.
The Lebanese people both in Lebanon and Diaspora expect Mr. Saniora's government to be capable of facing its governing patriotic and national responsibilities with courage, commitment, and devotion without any kind of fear, hesitation, appeasement or compromises in the defense of the country's sovereignty, freedoms and independence. Mr. Saniora is urged to call on the UN Council before it convenes and request officially all the necessary amendments needed to deploy the UNIFIL troops on the Syrian-Lebanese borders under UN Chapter seven.
Meanwhile, France has submitted to the UN Council a draft resolution calling for the renewal of the UNIFIL mission in helping the Lebanese authorities in implementing the UN Resolution 1701 and has mentioned the importance of controlling the Lebanese-Syrian border to ensure an end for smuggling terrorists and weapons from Syria to Lebanon.
It is worth mentioning that Mr. Saniora did not agree with the UN Council in issuing the resolution 1701 under UN Chapter seven. This resolution was issued by the UN Council in the aftermath of the Israeli-Hezbollah devastating 33 day conflict. Mr. Saniora justified his stance by the need to maintain a good relationship with Hezbollah and its two sponsors, Syria and Iran. What happened is that after few month Hezbollah withdrew its support to the resolution and declared that it did not agree on its seven clauses from day one, and even tagged Saniora and his government as traitors and collaborators
We believe strongly that Mr. Saniora is required to send the needed request immediately to the UN Council.
We would remind Mr. Saniora and his government that unless the Lebanese-Syrian borders are fully secured and controlled by international forces under Chapter VII, the Syrian army and its intelligence network, as well as its Lebanese and Palestinian armed agents in all of Lebanon will continue to brutally assassinate and intimidate Lebanon's leaders, politicians and intellectuals, while at the same time hindering by force all efforts aiming to rebuild the country and strengthen its legitimate armed forces and institutional establishments.
Lebanon needs at this time a brave PM and government that will stand for truth and act without fear no matter what are the challenge or consequences. The question is, can Mr. Saniora and his government members fulfill this role...hopefully they will.
Logic and past experience show, without any shred of doubt, that dealing with terrorist groups like Hezbollah, and rogue regimes like the Syrian and Iranian ones with anything but forceful means, is simply a waste of time and lives. It would provide them as far as Lebanon is concerned with further opportunities to kill and terrorize the Lebanese, attack the international community, and spread terrorism and anarchy, in ideology and practice, to all nations of the world, especially the Free World.
It remains that the free world will not help those who do not help themselves, and shoulder bravely their own responsibility.
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)
LCCC Web Site http://www.10452lccc.com
CLHRF Website http://www.clhrf.com
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