By Nikki Haley
It’s not every day that there’s good news to report from the United Nations. Last week, we got some good news, as the UN Security Council voted to significantly strengthen its efforts to stop the Hezbollah terrorists in southern Lebanon.
The clouds of war have been gathering right under the nose of a UN peacekeeping force. At the direction of its Iranian patron, Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal of weapons and battle hardened fighters in southern Lebanon. The situation is dangerous, but an agreement reached in the Security Council last week might prove to be a turning point.
Hezbollah has become so brazen that they conducted a media tour of its illegal fighters and weapons – reportedly inviting over 100 journalists to see its fighters show off weapons in a part of Lebanon where Hezbollah is not supposed to have any.
In flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Hezbollah fighters posed with their guns and other weapons for the visiting journalists. One photographer said it looked like “Madame Tussaud’s with Hezbollah fighters.” But the UN force, known as UNIFIL, saw none of the weapons that the world’s media managed to photograph.
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UNIFIL is called an “interim” force, but it has been in Lebanon for 40 years. A key part of its mandate is to help the Lebanese government ensure there are no weapons outside of the government’s control in the area near Israel. It is a difficult task, but for too long, the peacekeeping force has been utterly failing at achieving this fundamental part of its mandate. Some of its leaders do not even acknowledge that there’s a problem.
While UNIFIL has averted its eyes, Hezbollah has been preparing for war. By its own admission, Hezbollah is committed to the destruction of Israel. In recent times, it has doubled down on this commitment, massively increasing its supply of rockets, missiles, and fighters.
UNIFIL has been given great authority to prevent Hezbollah’s illegal and hostile activity. The problem is, it hasn’t been using it. It has developed a kind of “hear no evil, see no evil” mentality. For example, UNIFIL sometimes runs into roadblocks when it’s patrolling southern Lebanon. Men in plain clothes suddenly appear, blocking the UN trucks, stealing their equipment and pelting them with rocks until they turn around and leave. Everyone knows who these guys are. It’s Hezbollah. Hezbollah doesn’t want UNIFIL to see what’s beyond these roadblocks. And UNIFIL usually turns around and leaves without reporting on who stopped them and why. UNIFIL doesn’t know what Hezbollah is hiding, and the world doesn’t hear why the patrols are being turned back.
That status quo with UNIFIL was unacceptable, so the United States refused to accept it. Last week, when the peacekeeping mission’s mandate came up for renewal, we pushed for changes …read more