Hours Before Beirut Explosion: UN Called to Disarm Hezbollah

In a report prepared earlier this week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the Lebanese government to disarm the terrorist group Hezbollah. The report will be presented to the United Nations Security Council next Tuesday.

“The maintenance of unauthorized weapons outside State control by Hezbollah and other non-State armed groups represents a persistent violation of resolution 1701 (2006) and is of serious concern,” wrote Guterres in a report that was posted on the UN website earlier this week, prior to the Beirut explosion. “I call upon the Government of Lebanon to take all actions necessary to ensure the full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), which require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon so that there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than those of the Lebanese State,” Guterres said.

“The freedom of movement of UNIFIL in its entire area of operations, including along the full length of the Blue Line, remains critical. The ability of UNIFIL to conduct patrols and activities independently has to be upheld in accordance with the mission’s mandate,” Guterres maintained.

This is one of three reports that Guterres submits annually to the UNSC on UNIFIL. This one comes in advance of the anticipated annual vote, on August 28, to renew the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

On Tuesday, a catastrophic explosion at the Port of Beirut killed at least 135 people, wounded more than 5,000 and left an estimated 300,000 Lebanese homeless.  Dr. Mordechai Kedar questioned the explanation given by Hezbollah less than one hour after the explosion in which the terrorist organization claimed that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer stored in a warehouse for six years were responsible for the explosion. Dr. Kedar suggested that a more likely explanation was that Hezbollah was using the port to store rockets, explosives, and rocket fuel. A prominent Lebanese journalist also came out this week with the same accusation. In a tragic case of foreshadowing, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a press conference in which he identified the precise warehouse as a Hezbollah storage facility.  Netanyahu cautioned Lebanese civilians of being used as “human shields.”Hezbollah, literally “Party of Allah” or “Party of God” is a Shia Islamist terrorist group that has more than one-third of the seats in the Lebanese parliament, giving them veto power. Hezbollah is dedicated to the submission of the Christian Phalangists and is anti-Israel. Its paramilitary wing is considered more powerful than the Lebanese Army and fought a war against Israel in 2006. Hezbollah is estimated to have up to 150,000 rockets with their primary intended target being Israel.

It can only be hoped that a full investigation into the catastrophe will be carried out and if it reveals that Hezbollah is responsible for the blast, the UN will lead an international call to disarm the terrorist organization.

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