It's been one year since the acceptance of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the second Lebanon war and I discussed it at length with the UN Ambassador John Bolton.
A year later and how quickly the world turned. For the worse. As for the UN, that suit is no Bolton.
Here is a must read interim report. The soldiers are still held hostage. Hezbollah has rearmed.
Resolution 1701 has been only partially implemented, and the most essential provisions have been left unattended :
1) South Lebanon was not demilitarized and Hezbollah and the other terrorist organizations remained and were not disarmed;
2) Iran and Syria continue replenishing Hezbollah's arsenal and rehabilitating its military force;
3) The arms embargo has not been effectively enforced and weapons are steadily smuggled into Lebanon from Syria ;
4) No significant progress has been made in the issue of the abducted IDF soldiers.
2. The Resolution's achievements can be eroded and may not preserve quiet or provide for long-term stability in Lebanon in general and south Lebanon in particular .
- Hizbullah Buys Frontier Land to Attack Israel - Charles Levinson
Hizbullah is buying up large tracts of land owned by Christians and other non-Shias in southern Lebanon as the militant group rebuilds its defenses in preparation for a new war with Israel. The forested wadis, or valleys, north of the Litani River make ideal terrain for Hizbullah's brand of guerrilla warfare and, just 10 miles from the border, are within rocket range of Israeli cities. "Christians and Druze are selling land and moving out, while the Shia are moving in. There is an extraordinary demographic shift taking place," said Edmund Rizk, a former Christian MP for the area. Wealthy Shia businessman Ali Tajeddine, who made his fortune trading diamonds in Sierra Leone, is said to be using Iranian funds to buy land from destitute villagers at up to four times the going rate.
Critics fear a grand scheme to create a strip of Shia-controlled land connecting southern Lebanon to Hizbullah's other power center in the Bekaa Valley. "It is part of Hizbullah's plan to create a state within a state," said Walid Jumblatt, a Druze leader. He also pointed to the four-lane road being built to connect the Hizbullah stronghold of Nabatiye in the south to the western Bekaa. Banners openly proclaim the source of the road's funding: "510 km of new roads paid for by the Iranian Organization for Sharing in the Building of Lebanon." (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
- British Lawmakers Say Country Should Talk to Hamas, Hizbullah, Muslim Brotherhood - Raphael G. Satter
Britain should begin talking directly with three of the Middle East's most prominent radical Islamic groups - Hamas, Hizbullah and the Muslim Brotherhood - a committee of lawmakers said in a report released Monday. British diplomats should speak with moderate elements from such groups and continue engaging Iran and Syria because their influence can no longer be discounted, Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee said. "The Muslim Brotherhood is strong in Egypt, and Hamas and Hizbullah cannot be ignored," the report said. The lawmakers urged former Prime Minister Tony Blair, the new envoy for the Quartet, to negotiate directly with the militant Islamic organization Hamas. (AP/Washington Post)