Dr. Richard Benkin Bio
Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces stormed the Lebanese government centers
Murdered Lebanese can Thank UNBy Dr. Richard Benkin Sunday, May 11, 2008
The sound of war was heard in the Middle East again this week—and it was not by any means the first time that Israel was not one of the parties involved. Unfortunately, this Arab vs. Arab war will not silence those who out of either prejudice or ignorance claim that Israel is the cause of all Middle East conflicts; but, then again, facts were never their strong suit.
Watch for the convoluted explanations to hit the internet. Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces stormed the Lebanese government centers in West Beirut then trained their sites on Sidon in the south, Lebanon’s second largest city. This is clearly a strategic move by the terrorist group, as the seizure of Sidon gives it control of a continuous coastal strip from its southern Beirut district all the way to Tyre. According to Debka, a reliable news and information network with military and intelligence sources, Hezbollah next is planning an offensive against Sunni Muslims around the northern slopes of Mt. Hermon, which sits at the junction of the Lebanese-Syrian-Israeli border area. According to the same sources, Syria already has moved advance units of its 10th armored division into Lebanon and has another one on the way along with the rest of the 10th. Syria has long been a client state of Iran, especially in supporting the Hezbollah proxies.
Ever since the succession of disastrous offensive wars against Israel, the Arab states have used various terrorist groups to attempt to do what they were unable to accomplish: harass and ultimately defeat the Jewish State of Israel. Thus far, terror groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Fatah have been partially successful with the former goal, impotent with regard to the latter one. The lack of an offensive war by sovereign nations against Israel since 1973 has allowed many with their heads in the sand to believe that those forbearing states overnight developed peaceful intentions. It also enabled the myth to grow that the Arab states had no problem with Israel so long as it quits its ancient territories that were seized from it in 1948 and which it regained in 1967. But the reality is that those states have never given up their goal to eradicate the State of Israel. Tired of perpetual humiliation at the hands of the smaller Jewish State, they merely changed tactics.
The good news for them is that their subterfuge was the excuse that signers of the 1973 European-Arab Dialogue needed to adopt an anti-Israeli position without recognizing themselves as anti-Semites—something most Europeans cared about back then. It allowed them to say they opposed Israeli actions but not the concept of the Jewish State of Israel. Or so they thought. While passing on bromides and palliatives to the gullible Europeans, their Arab counterparts were supporting and building up terror groups such as those mentioned above, as well as several others that eventually disbanded. And the Arabs were willing to continue along that path indefinitely—until the consequences of their duplicity started becoming apparent.
What was clear to Arab leaders, who as a group were never squeamish about Arab deaths (far more inflicted by them than by Israel), was not the terrorist and immoral nature of these groups. It certainly was not the deaths they caused in Israel during their hey day of terrorist bombings. It was the growth of an aggressive Iran in the region; an openly anti-Sunni Iran that became the major sponsor of both Shiite and Sunni terrorist groups. The first open sign of it came in 2006, when the Saudi Foreign Minister—joined by the representatives of most other Arab nations—blamed Hezbollah for that summer’s war with Israel and the civilian Lebanese deaths that ensued. At a meeting of the Arab League, he labeled the terror group’s actions “unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible.” A Saudi press release said that Hezbollah “alone bears the full responsibility of these irresponsible acts and should alone shoulder the burden of ending the crisis they have created.” The Saudis also warned that Hezbollah’s actions in the end would benefit “extremist external forces,” a reference to Iran. Saudi Arabia is the leader of the Sunni Muslim world, with pretensions that it is the keeper of the faith for all Muslims. The influence of anti-Sunni Iran throughout the Muslim, and particularly the Arab, world was and is extremely troubling to the Kingdom.
Unfortunately, the growing intensity of this rift between leaders of the Sunni and Shiite worlds has not really hit their acolytes in Western Europe or the United Nations—which brings us back to the title of this article. Why indeed is the UN culpable for the deaths occurring right now in Lebanon? One of the conditions for a cease-fire in the 2006 summer war between Israel and Hezbollah was that the latter would disarm and that the Lebanese Army would re-take control of the southern part of that country. A defeated and nearly disarmed Hezbollah did in fact accept this provision. For one of the basic principles of national sovereignty is that the nation itself maintains military control. Any other entity that asserts control is an “occupying” force; and Hezbollah had been forcing an occupation on the people of Southern Lebanon. Israel intended to be the party monitoring compliance with that provision of the cease-fire.
But international talking heads objected to Israel to assuring Lebanese sovereignty, so instead UN forces were to prevent Hezbollah’s rearming and occupation of Southern Lebanon. Bad move! Almost immediately after the guns were silenced, Hezbollah began violating the agreement. Iran and Syria channeled arms to the terrorist group while the UN looked the other way and even countenanced Hezbollah’s violation of UN Resolution 1701. The more they tacitly allowed it, the bolder Hezbollah’s masters grew. And reacting to the current Hezbollah offensive war, the Lebanese government admitted in a statement subsequent to an 11-hour cabinet meeting that Iran has been flying weapons to Hezbollah continuously. Syria, too, has acted as the cipher for arming the terrorists.
Why did the UN so brazenly ignore its explicit responsibilities? That’s easy. Until this week, they saw the matter as an Arab-Israeli one, and if the only potential victim was Israel, the UN was willing to look the other way. That should not come as any surprise. When did any of these bodies condemn the wanton murder of Israelis in the same way they condemn even terrorist Arab deaths? When did the General Assembly last issue a balanced resolution or one that recognized the terrorist nature of Hamas and its ilk or the deliberate targeting of Jewish civilians? The UN’s tolerance for criminal activity as long as the victims are not to their liking is the reason why Lebanon is under terrorist attack today!
If UN forces had done the job they were sent to do and prevented Hezbollah from rearming after its stock was destroyed in its disastrous war with Israel, Lebanese civilians would not be dying or holed up afraid in their homes today. If the UN did not believe that international law, right and wrong, was a matter of political expediency, Lebanon would still be a sovereign nation. As it is, that status is hanging by a very thin thread—thanks to the world body that exists to protect it.