There have been several thousand UN observers stationed in Lebanon for 28 years. Their role was not peacekeeping — but they have been at least an institutional “toe in the door” in Lebanon and the neighborhood around Israel.
Today, at least two UN observers were killed in a strike by Israel. Kofi Annan called the Israeli strike “apparently deliberate” — and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon called Annan’s comments “outrageous.”
Tensions are high in every corner of this conflict, and the deaths of innocent people in this conflict assure future waves of blowback.
And besides, what nations want to contribute to an “International Stabilization Force” now? It will be hard enough to convince UN member nations to contribute troops to such a force — but also tough to get them to continue to disarm and incapacitate Hezbollah militants. Add Israeli air strikes to the mix, and the incentives to get such a force together are nearly impossible to imagine.
— Steve Clemons