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HezbollahUN warns Lebanon against arming Hezbollah

Published 15 February 2017

The United Nations warned Lebanese President Michel Aoun against arming Hezbollah, a day after Aoun said that the Iran-backed terrorist organization was essential to Lebanon’s security. UN Council Resolution 1701, which was adopted unanimously to end the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, called for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon and the re-establishment of the Lebanese government’s authority over the southern part of the country, and prohibited the transfer of arms to any entity other than the government in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s continued armed presence in southern Lebanon violates these three elements of the resolution.

The United Nations warned Lebanese President Michel Aoun against arming Hezbollah, a day after Aoun said that the Iran-backed terrorist organization was essential to Lebanon’s security.

Sigrid Kaag, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, tweeted Monday, “Recalling SCR 1701 vital 4 Lebanon’s stability-security. Resolution calls 4 disarmament all armed groups. No arms outside control of state.” UN Council Resolution 1701, which was adopted unanimously to end the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, called for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon and the re-establishment of the Lebanese government’s authority over the southern part of the country, and prohibited the transfer of arms to any entity other than the government in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s continued armed presence in southern Lebanon violates these three elements of the resolution.

Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, said on Sunday that Hezbollah’s weapons “do not contradict the state… and are an essential part of defending Lebanon. As long as the Lebanese army lacks sufficient power to face Israel, we feel the need for (Hezbollah’s) arsenal because it complements the army’s role.” He said in January that Iran’s support for the group “could continue indefinitely.”

Lebanon’s prime minister, Saad Hariri, a Sunni, countered Aoun’s statements on Tuesday by calling Hezbollah’s arsenal illegitimate.

In The Times of Israel on Monday, journalist Avi Issacharoff explained that the Israeli military is increasingly concerned about deepening cooperation between Hezbollah and the Lebanese army. The situation is especially delicate because the Lebanese army receives much of its weaponry from the United States.

“In southern Lebanon, it’s Hezbollah that calls the shots,” Issacharoff wrote. “There is no village in the south (with the possible exception of several Sunni villages) that has not been transformed into a fortified bastion of Hezbollah, which possesses an entire array of command and control, communications systems, and a variety of arms including rockets (of course) and anti-tank weapons.” An Israeli defense official explained in 2015 that the buildup of Hezbollah’s terror infrastructure in southern Lebanese villages meant that “civilians are living in a military compound” and that their lives were at risk.

Hezbollah reportedly has an arsenal of 130,000 rockets, more than the combined total of all twenty-seven non-U.S. NATO member states.

This article is published courtesy of The Tower