Weird stuff happens on Friday the 13th, you know. Here, someone actually remembered U.N. Resolution 1559, after which Hizballah was the only group from the Lebanese civil war that failed to disarm. For that matter, it was the U.N. Secretary-General who remembered.
It will take more than asking once, however, to dismantle the army of Hizballah’s pseudo-state within a state, which is better armed than the regular Lebanese army. “Disarm Hezbollah, U.N. chief tells Lebanon,” by Alastair Lyon for Reuters, Friday the 13th (of January):
BEIRUT (Reuters) – United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon demanded Friday the disarmament of the anti-Israel Lebanese Hezbollah movement, which had said his visit to Lebanon was not welcome.
“I am deeply concerned about the military capacity of Hezbollah and … the lack of progress in disarmament,” he told a news conference after meeting Lebanese leaders.
“That is why we discussed this matter very seriously and I strongly encouraged President (Michel) Suleiman to initiate a convening of this national dialogue to address these issues…
“All these arms outside of the authorized state authority, it’s not acceptable,” Ban declared.
The secretary-general’s trip made waves even before he arrived, with one Hezbollah leader saying he was not welcome, a stance criticized by Lebanese politicians opposed to the armed Shi’ite Islamist movement and its Syrian and Iranian patrons.
Hezbollah accepted an expansion of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the south after its devastating 2006 war with Israel, but rejects a U.N. Security Council resolution that demands that it lay down its military arsenal, as all other Lebanese armed groups did after the 1975-90 civil war.
UNIFIL troops came under three attacks last year in which Italian and French soldiers were wounded. A rocket was launched into Israel in November and another rocket launching was attempted last month. No group claimed responsibility.
“There are no explicit fears that there is a new climate of hostility to the United Nations,” a diplomatic source said. “But there is concern, which the secretary-general will emphasize, over the attacks (on UNIFIL) in May, July and December.”
UNIFIL, now about 12,000 strong, is the third biggest U.N. peacekeeping operation and one of the oldest, beginning after an Israeli invasion against Palestinian guerrillas in 1978.
The Lebanese army has taken on a bigger role in the south since 2006, but given the tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, there is no sign of an exit strategy for the U.N. force there….