Saturday, August 12, 2006

Will Lebanese Army sent to the south include Hezbollah fighters in disquise?

Alan Peters, AntiMullah:
I must admit that I did not know the Lebanese "army" could field 15,000 people and was under the impression that their military was less than 10,000 "fighting" personnel.

Thus when they offered 15,000 individuals to the UN as part of the monitoring force, my mind wondered whether this would include several thousand Hezbollah (or even Syrian or Iranian fighters) being given Lebanese military uniforms and thus have free movement back and forth and "at will" access into the "off limits" or restricted areas of South Lebanon.

Similary, if the Lebanese military arrives with a thousand extra uniforms, they can dress any Hezbollah trapped in the restricted zone and get them out witout anyone noticing. READ MORE

Am I maliciously maligning the Lebanese? Not at all. Remember the Lebanese military were ready to fight alongside Hezbollah so their sympathies are not with seeing justice done and the UN resolution correctly implemented. In reality, they have a totally opposite mind set.

In both scenarios, the disguised Hezbollah, Syrians or Iranians would be free to carry and transport weapons, ammunition, supplies etc., as they travel in both directions under cover of Lebanese uniforms and Lebanese identity documents.

The UN forces foreign nationals, French, other European or whatever, who might be tasked with preventing Hezbollah activity, would not be able to distinguish between "genuine" Lebanese soldiers and disguised Hezbollah. And if there were any Arab countries in the UN forces, who might - with emphasis on "might" - be able to spot a difference, would they actually arrest a Hezbollah member? To benefit or protect Israeli interests?

To take this one step further, ostensibly Lebanese troops given duties, which include interdiction of Hezbollah activity, could in fact be "disguised" Hezbollah - resulting in the fox watching the hen house. Who - other than the Lebanese military themselves - and they will not tell - would know or could know the difference?

Arms and amunition that was consequently moved to re-arm and re-supply the Hezbollah in the area would pass as Lebanese army requirements and who would be expert enough to tell the difference?

What will happen if the Israeli forces spot this happening and a firefight ensues between the Israelis and some men in Lebanese military uniforms? How will Israel prove that the dead are Hezbollah? Almost certainly the disuised men will have been issued forged ID by sympathetic, senior Lebanese military officials. Or will have these created after the fact.

The only way I can think of to prevent this certain problem is to deny the Lebanese forces from deploying and becoming the stalking horse used by Hezbolah or other anti-Israel fighters and run into bogus sovereignty complaints by Lebanon rather than clearly creating a huge loophole in the intent of the UN resolution.

If the Lebanese are genuine in their concern and desire for Israel to leave South Lebanon, then they should not object to such an obvious and logical problem that they would create.

As in everything I write, I try to also provide a workable solution not always simply describe the challenge - unless my analytical and experienced mind cannot come up with anything. Admittedly I do not let political correctness or emotion override pragmatic, useful solutions and bow to hust feelings - in this case of the Lebanese government - which cannot ensure the loyalty of their 15,000 men to the UN Resolution or intentions rather than loyalty to the Hezbollah against whom it has been designed.