In the past few minutes, the UN Security Council has placed an astonishing set of demands on the Beirut government.
First it wants the government of Fouad Siniora to disarm Hizbollah – something he said he will not do.
Second it wants the Syria-Lebanon border to be closed. The UN wants to halt the flow of arms and people across the frontier. (Until now, there had been no mention of a problem of arms coming from Syria – in fact, the Syrian authorities caught a number of Lebanese near the border smuggling weapons into Syria – Lebanon is a much more heavily armed country).
Third, it wants Lebanon to set a date for new presidential elections.
It comes just weeks after US Secretary of State Welch visited Beirut and demanded that Hizbollah be kicked out of government.