The UN Security Council on Wednesday extended the UNIFIL mission in south Lebanon for another year under tougher conditions in a move that was hailed by United States Ambassador Nikki Haley as a critical decision to “ensure that this peacekeeping mission has the power and the will to do its job.”
Haley said in a statement that “The United States will not sit by and watch Hezbollah strengthen itself for the next war. We will not be passive as Iran makes a mockery of this Council’s word.” She added that “Hezbollah has used the relative quiet since 2006 to re-arm itself in violation of Security Council Resolutions 1701 and 1559.”
The new mandate equips the UNIFIL force with the authority to “take all necessary actions” to prevent hostile activities, including stepping up its patrols and inspections to disrupt Hezbollah’s illicit operations. For the first time since 2006, UN peacekeepers can also support the Lebanese government in securing the border area and stop the flow of illegal weapons into the country. The new mandate further requires UNIFIL to submit regular reports to the Security Council.
Haley warned that “Conditions in south Lebanon are very dangerous today. The clouds of war are gathering” and called UNIFIL commander General Beary’s lack of understanding of the situation “baffling.”
The ambassador said that “at the direction of its patron Iran, the terrorist organization Hezbollah is stockpiling an offensive arsenal in southern Lebanon. They have thousands of missiles and thousands of trained fighters.” She added that “it is apparent to everyone who cares to see it.”
Israel also welcomed the renewal of the mandate with Ambassador Danny Danon saying in a statement that “the resolution requires UNIFIL to open its eyes, and forces it to act against Hezbollah’s terror buildup in the area.” He hailed the resolution as “a victory for Israel.”
[Photo: Times of Israel / YouTube ]