Kofi Annan has informed Israel through a spokesperson that it violated the terms of UNSCR 1701 with its raid into Baalbek yesterday. Perhaps there’s a violation according to Paragraph 7, but if this was indeed an operation to prevent the smuggling of arms to Hizbullah, it is allowed according to Paragraph 1 whereas Lebanon and Hizbullah are in violations of Paragraph 8 and 14 while whoever supplied the arms is in violation of Paragraph 15.
Of course, Mr. Annan has not bothered to criticize Hizbullah or Lebanon, not to mention Syria or Iran. Nope, it’s Israel’s raid that is the operative problem, not the smuggling of arms to Hizbullah. Can we expect better from Mr. “Deliberate Attack?” I don’t think so.
At least Mr. Annan is criticizing the Europeans for not committing more troops to the UNIFIL force that is supposed to share duties of maintaining Lebanese adherence to UNSCR 1701. Of course, it is the French who are the biggest scammers in this matter since they pushed hard for the terms of the cease fire with a large and strong UNIFIL force as a key component and now have decided to only send a token force of soldiers to Lebanon.
Other nations are also reluctant to send their soldiers into Lebanon and Annan has been reduced to suggesting that once again UNIFIL won’t have to do any fighting and their soldiers will be safe. This must be music to Nasrallah’s ears.
While these games play out, Lebanon is sending troops into the south and has apparently come to agree with Hizbullah that disarming them won’t be on the table as long as Hizbullah’s weapons are hidden. This is a clear violation of 1701 but it is better than nothing and might at least set the stage for future disarming of Hizbullah. Don’t hold your breath, however, since many Lebanese politicians are calling the outcome of this war a victory for Lebanon, not for Hizbullah.
The raid yesterday into Baalbek cost Israel a senior officer and possible second in command in the IDF’s vaunted Sayeret Matkal. This commando unit specializes in reconaissance missions, is directly linked to the Chief of Staff and General Staff of the IDF and is widely considered to be Israel’s finest fighting unit (or among the top two or three if you’re speaking to competing commandos). Apparently many of their missions involve being dropped deep into enemy territory to gather intelligence or to handle tasks that few others are capable of tackling.
The officer who was killed, Emanuel Morano, was 35 and left behind a wife and 3 children. From all reports about him, he was an Orthodox Jew, a very quiet and humble man and a superb fighter who had spent his career in the service of this secret unit and Israel. His sacrifice over the years is humbling and it is sad that we learn about people such as Emanuel only after their death in battle. On the day he left for the mission, neighbors saw his children crying at the doorstep for him not to go. This was highly unusual, apparently, and therefore noted by community members. Deepest condolences to his family and community.
The mission upon which Morano and his team were sent is apparently not an unusual one for this unit. As such, it is hard for those of us who have no inside information about this raid to find fault with it. We don’t know its purpose other than what the IDF has put out, and we don’t know whether it has met with success, although the IDF claims it had. The timing of the operation leads one to wonder, but then again if it did involve an arms transfer of some significance, this may have been important enough although one can’t imagine missions like this being run daily as Syria and Iran try to re-arm Hizbullah.
In short, the terrorists in Hizbullah know what this mission was about and whether it succeeded, a small number of soldiers and commanders in the IDF know what this mission was about and whether it succeeded, but the rest of us don’t get to find out. All we can do is hope Morano’s death was worthy of his life and dedication.
The day following this operation, the IDF Chief of Staff sat in a Cabinet Meeting and informed the public that the war against Hizbullah was a victory on points, if not a knockout. He promised to conduct plenty of inquiries into the war and claimed that the IDF had nothing to hide.
I don’t know whether Halutz is right or lying or delusional. I would like to believe Halutz, but there are so many stories coming out about mistakes in running the ground war, that it appears Halutz is going to have to offer much more than big pronouncements about victory.
Is he right? Is he lying? Is he delusional?
The morality and integrity of the IDF are critical to its success as the army of the Jewish state and its citizens. On the day that Israelis cannot trust their army and its leaders, Israel will become a much weaker country that cannot sustain or win a war.
Ultimately, the IDF is a military that belongs to the people. Perhaps not everybody serves, but many do and many send their sons to fight when they come of age. If parents of soldiers cannot trust that the IDF is telling them the truth; if fighters do not believe that they are led with integrity by competent commanders; if commanders believe their superiors are incompetent or too focused on their own careers; if the political echelon cannot trust projections of the military when making decisions about wars and budgets, then the IDF will become a hollow shell. This cannot be allowed to happen and for this reason Halutz had better be right or had better be telling the truth. If he is not, he had better reconsider because Israel’s survival depends on it. There are only so many Emanuel Moranos around and even one lost is one too many.