Friday, September 01, 2006

Israel Protected by Kofi-Secured Syrian Pledge to Rein in Hizballah 

Hurray! We Israelis can now rest easy on the issue of Syrian arms smuggling to Hizballah.

Kofi Annan, taking time off from securing French pledges of troop support and Iranian pledges of whatever, has reeled in a big one: Syria has promised Kofi it will work with Lebanon to deal with the Hizballah arms-smuggling issue:

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday that Syria would step up border patrols and work with the Lebanese army to stop the flow of weapons to Hezbollah.
It's nice to hear that Syrian arms suppliers will now be working through the Lebanese army -- the new guys who are supposed to be joining the previous blue-helmeted weapons-smuggling-ignoration-forces to help them do a better job. When it comes to stopping the illegal flow of weapons to Hizballah it will be interesting to see whether the change will consist of the unilateral redefinition of the terms of any new shipments so they are suddenly legal, or the diversion of the weapons shipments so they no longer flow directly to Hizballah. Of course, the two strategies could work well together:

Annan said Assad informed him that Syria would "take all necessary measures" to implement paragraph 15 of U.N. resolution 1701, which calls on countries to prevent the sale or supply of weapons to entities in Lebanon without the consent of the Lebanese government or U.N. peacekeepers.
Fabulous. Syria is required not to supply arms to entities in Lebanon without the consent of the Lebanese government or UN peacekeepers. Since I'm sure the going price for the consent of UN peacekeepers to allow weapons smuggling to Hizballah is much too rich for Syria's tastes -- it probably would require half the Jack Daniels supply of that entire Islamic Republic, while I'm sure Syrian and Hizballah-produced drugs are also out of the question since they are reserved for use as an export-only cash crop -- Syria would need a relationship with the Lebanese government and its forces on the border if it wanted to restock Hizballah's bunkers. Fortunately, it seems Kofi is helping broker that relationship.

I hate to say I told you so -- because people who say that are generally admitting no one listens to them -- but sometimes when memories of recent vacation days are still fresh and I haven't had time to find anything new to be officially outraged about yet, I sometimes succumb to the temptation of an ITYS post rehashing my previous outrages.

Despite the gratuitous and almost toxic levels of cynicism in my original post, my prediction still seems pretty likely to me: that arms will eventually continue to flow as the terms of the cease-fire simply force the Lebanese government to join Hizballah's team as middle-man/shipping-agent:

As it is, all we need is Hizballah's emergency definition of its own forces as the state's protectors and this passage is immediately worthless (or worthlesser, since it's already written on see-through recycled UN paper). As the lines are quickly blurred between Hizballah and the government it has hijacked, don't look for the UN to interfere in "internal Lebanese issues" when Hizballah claims to carry arms on behalf of and with the consent of the state.
Of course, this latest Kofi-coordinated step between Syria and Lebanon is not yet the last word on the subject -- the last word will be when the missiles are once again poised in their launchers.

While I'm in an ITYS mood, it is refreshing to return from vacation and find that my doubts about whether Israeli missiles actually hit a Reuters vehicle as alleged last week weren't so crazy after all. Others are seem to be sharing the same Pallywood-style doubts. Of course so long as IDF spokespeople go around apologizing for things that aren't even certain to have happened, it's going to be a hard road changing anyone's mind.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: