UN's Lebanon Resolution: The Key
This success puts the Dems in a quandry. After shouting for so long about Bolton's harsh ways and general incompetence, how now will they handle his upcoming confirmation hearings? Will they do the unthinkable and admit that they were wrong last time? Or will they do the usual, ignore reality and continue to attack him?
This afternoon's WSJ report (subscribers only) on the resolution tells you everything you need to know in a few quick paragraphs:
A decision on whether the mandate of the current Unifil force in Lebanon should be changed to let it use greater force has been deferred to a second resolution.
The last point has emerged as a key bone of contention in discussions at the U.N.: Lebanon wants the force to continue as a relatively toothless observer mission, while Israel wants it to be robust enough to disarm Hezbollah. That may prove to be one of the biggest hurdles facing the French-U.S. plan on the ground.
The ferocity of the fighting over the past month shows that any attempt to forcibly defang Hezbollah's militia could trigger a fierce response. Resistance to any and all forms of outside oppression, including foreign occupation of Muslim lands, lies at the core of the Shiite Muslim group's identity.
If the organization comes to view Unifil as an attempt by Western nations to occupy Lebanon by proxy, some analysts in Beirut fear it could strike the U.N. force itself, echoing the attacks that killed 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 French paratroopers in Lebanon in 1983. Such strikes, some say, are almost inevitable if Unifil is given broader powers.
"If they go in as peace enforcers rather than peacekeepers then they're looking for trouble," said Micheal Mac Diarmada, a former sergeant in the Irish army who served in Unifil in the 1980s and 1990s. "It'll turn into another version of Iraq."
And of course the other side of that coin is that if they go in as peacekeepers rather than peace enforcers, no peace will be kept ... witness what's going on now after years of Unifil "peacekeeping."