Watching the Threats Grow?

Following CIA testimony to Congress regarding the North Korean/Syrian project in the desert, Mohammed ElBaradei, Director of the IAEA, is furious!

Following CIA testimony to Congress regarding the North Korean/Syrian project in the desert, Mohammed ElBaradei, Director of the IAEA, is furious! Not with North Korea and Syria for what they were doing, but with Israel and the United States for not telling him about it. “The director general deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the agency’s responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts… [and] “The director general views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the non-proliferation regime.”

Even if ElBaradei could indeed “verify veracity and establish facts,” which would be a generous thought given the IAEA’s track record, it would hardly suffice. While Iran is making very public progress toward nuclear capability, complete with provocative rhetoric and the deliberate flouting of the IAEA, the international community has been demonstrating collective disregard of the threat and/or impotence to deal with it. We conclude, as we assume Israel did, that actual non-proliferation, NOT “the due process of verification” is “the heart of the non-proliferation regime.”

“Process,” as in the “peace process” is code for talking around existing threats to Israel’s safety and indeed, given the possibilities of a nuclear threat, Israel’s continued existence. If Israel steps outside the “process” to engage in actual security measures – checkpoints, targeted killings, sweeps or the destruction of a nuclear-related facility – it is condemned for not offering the political niceties due the countries or organizations that would destroy it. The United States is condemned for generally supporting Israel’s right to self-defense.

A similarly threatening situation is growing again in Lebanon. It turns out that UNIFIL has been concealing information about Hezbollah activities south of the Litani River, according to Ha’aretz, “to avoid conflict with the group… In the last six months there have been at least four cases in which UNIFIL soldiers identified armed Hezbollah operatives, but did nothing and did not submit full reports on the incidents to the UN Security Council.” Indeed, according to the paper, there was a clash between armed Hezbollah operatives and a UNIFIL force which did not return fire, as its mandate requires, but rather left the area – and then filed a report with the Security Council skipping the part about the shooting and the running away.

At the same time, according to The Observer (UK), “Hezbollah… is now sending hundreds, if not thousands, of young men into intensive training camps in Lebanon, Syria and Iran to ready itself for war with Israel… The initial training and selection of recruits is done in Lebanon, with Iran preferred for training on specialities – use of certain weapons, RPGs and anti-tank missiles.”

Since the bad guys are unwilling to turn themselves in, the international agencies are easily misled, and the presumed good guys are too timid to make waves, what is the option for the intended target, other than to watch the threats grow?

This is not only a question for Israel.