Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in the war-torn Lebanese capital of Beirut in an effort to end the conflict between Lebanon, Israel, and the terrorist group Hizb’Allah. Rice’s trip to Beirut is a rather audacious move designed to show how serious the US is about finding an end to the conflict in which the Lebanese are essentially caught in the middle. Unfortunately, the only way there can be a solution to this conflict is if Hizb’Allah is disarmed and unable to hold the Lebanese state hostage – and that solution can only be reached through military means.
Israel has realized that the United Nations is an enemy of the State of Israel and has accordingly rejected calls for yet another feckless UN “security force” along the lines of UNIFIL which spend the past 28 years ignoring tens of thousands of Katyusha rockets being buried ten stories deep right under their noses. Instead, it appears that the best mutually-agreeable solution is a NATO-based peacekeeping force such as the one in Kosovo or Afghanistan. The UN simply cannot be trusted to do what they failed to do over the past three decades.
What cannot be made negotiable is that Hizb’Allah must be completely disarmed. Any foreign government that attempts to rearm Hizb’Allah’s military forces should be put under immediate sanction. Lebanon’s government must be made able to provide full control over their sovereign territory as soon as is possible. Unlike the UN’s “interim” force, this NATO peacekeeping operation must have a clear metric for success – the ability of a free Lebanese force to replace them.
As rockets continue to rain down on Haifa and other cities and villiages in northern Israel, it should be a reminder that those rockets were installed and hidden under the direct watch of a UN “peacekeeping” force – a force that was incompetent at best and may have cooperated with Hizb’Allah. The UN should be called to account for their actions in Lebanon, but sadly accountability and the UN are two concepts which never seem to occupy the same table.
Secretary Rice is doing the best she can to end the conflict, but ultimately her role can only truly begin once Hizb’Allah no longer poses a military threat to Israel. Then and only then can there be a end to this conflict.