On Wednesday the UN Security Council voted to renew the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission in Lebanon for another year. But the decision was not straightforward.
UNIFIL peacekeepers in Southern Lebanon (Photo: Ali Hashisho/Reuters)
Both Israel and the USA have stated that UNIFIL is not managing to prevent an increase in the weapons and ammunition available to the terrorist group Hezbollah. They say there is a blatant build-up of Iranian weaponry with Hezbollah groups in southern Lebanon, including many rockets hidden in various locations.
UNIFIL’s commander, Major General Michael Beary, is reported as saying that they have no proof of an increase in Hezbollah weaponry. But the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has accused Major General Beary of:
“an embarrassing lack of understanding on what’s going on around him.”
In support of that accusation she noted that:
“Hezbollah openly brags about their weapons, they parade them before TV cameras.”
Hezbollah parades some of its weapons (Photo: Reuters/Channel 2)
Meanwhile the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, says he intends to look at ways for the UNIFIL peacekeeping force to ‘enhance its efforts.’ But surprisingly, he has stressed that it is primarily the Lebanese military’s responsibility to ensure the south is free of unauthorised weapons.
So the situation bears some resemblance to that with the UN peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula in 1967.