Peacekeeping forces are due to stay in southern Lebanon until 31 August 2017, but violations of a UN-mandated ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah could lead to a conflict that would push the Middle East even further towards breaking point.
A new UN Security Council resolution was unanimously adopted on 30 August 2016 to keep peacekeeping forces in Lebanon and monitor the truce between Israel and Hezbollah. The latter was formed in the wake of the 1982 Israeli invasion with the aim of resisting Israel’s occupation of Lebanese territory (which officially ended in the year 2000).
This resolution has come amid concerns that there’s been “limited progress” towards a permanent ceasefire solution and towards ending violations of the mandate. The preamble of the new resolution 2305 warned that:
violations of the cessation of hostilities could lead to a new conflict that none of the parties or the region can afford
UN forces in Lebanon
The UN has issued mandates in Lebanon since 1978, due to ongoing national and international hostilities and Israel’s 18-year occupation of Lebanon.
The most recent resolution, however, refers to a situation that has been bubbling under the surface since 2006, when Israel and Hezbollah engaged in a 34-day war which officially ended inconclusively.
Accounts recall that around 1,300 Lebanese people (mostly civilians) and 165 Israelis (mostly soldiers) were killed in the conflict. Flare-ups have occurred ever since the ceasefire was brokered under UN resolution 1701.
Gearing up for war?
Many have been fearing that an Israel-Hezbollah war is inevitable.
The chief of the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) military intelligence directorate only recently said:
For Israel, Hezbollah must be incapacitated or destroyed; war becomes inexorable by implication.
Indications that Israel is ‘readier‘ for war with Hezbollah have been emerging in recent months. The Washington Institute, meanwhile, which is supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has previously laid out how Israel would defeat Hezbollah in another war.
Others have accused Hezbollah of preparing for war, claiming it is constructing tunnels and amassing barrel bombs and various other ammunition in order to fight its adversary.
An explosive context
Some more pragmatic commentators may justifiably insist that Hezbollah is pre-occupied with its role in Syria at the moment, as it continues to support the Assad regime in the west of the country.
As the UN stated, the region can hardly afford yet another conflict. There are currently conflict-related humanitarian crises in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Gaza, and South Sudan. Tensions and military action in the West Bank, south-east Turkey, and Egypt are also heating up and threatening to boil to the surface.
So while a third of the region lies in turmoil, with international powers further complicating matters, the warnings of the UN Security Council do not bode well for a more peaceful future in the Middle East.
– Read more of The Canary‘s Global’s articles here.
– Support The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.
Featured image via Flikr/Irish Defence Forces
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?