Saturday, August 12, 2006

[Lebanon] The UNSC 1701 Resolution: Why No Lebanese Should accept it.

Originally Published Friday, August 11, 2006
So here is the text of the draft UNSC resolution. "Expressing its utmost concern at the continuing escalation of hostilities in Lebanon and in Israel since Hizbollah's attack on Israel on 12 July 2006, which has already caused hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons." This paragraph clearly lays the blame on Hizbullah for the Israeli war of aggression. And notice that Hizbullah's capture of the Israeli soldiers is sneakily blamed for "the hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides." Both sides is always brought up when Israeli record of murder and terrorism is being covered by an international agency under US pressures, in order to absolve Israel. And notice that the identify of the victims, and the destruction of Lebanon by Israel is not identified by name: so as to imply that there was damage and destruction in Israel comparable to the damage and destruction in Lebanon. The next paragraph says: "Emphasizing the need for an end of violence, but at the same time emphasizing the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers". Again, the root cause is traced to those two soldiers, and "the root cause", in US understanding, is a camouflage to promote Israel's point of view. Notice that the release of the two soldiers is "unconditional". Why? As a free service to Israel for its great behavior and noble conduct? But then the following paragraph says: "Mindful of the sensitivity of the issue of prisoners and encouraging the efforts aimed at urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel". Here, it is old-fashioned, classic racism. That Arab prisoners are just not as cute and not as valuable as Israeli prisoners. For Israeli prisoners, it calls for immediate release, but for Lebanese prisoners, it urges "settling the issue." Settling the issue?" Is that like US settling the Palestinian cause over the years? Or is that like that reference in UNSC 242 to the "refugee" problem? Settling the issue? The next paragraph says: "Welcoming the efforts of the Lebanese Prime Minister and the commitment of the government of Lebanon, in its seven-point plan, to extend its authority over its territory, through its own legitimate armed forces, such that there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the government of Lebanon, welcoming also its commitment to a UN force that is supplemented and enhanced in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operation, and bearing in mind its request in this plan for an immediate withdrawal of the Israeli forces from Southern Lebanon." Well, well, well. What was missing was the Sanyurah boo hoo hoo points here. Here, the UNSC (with Israel and US) are trying their best, and quite blatantly, to prop up a failed government. A government that has been kept in power only by the efforts of the US/Israel (patrons of Hariri Inc), and the dumb calculations of Hizbullah--and Hizbullah is consistent in dumb political calculations in their domestic alliances and decisions. And this consistent record of dumb decisions by Hizbullah leads to me believe that it may agree to this resolution. But what does this resolution mean when it categorically states that "there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon"? And how do you verify that? I know villagers in South Lebanon who celebrate weddings with RPGs and AK-47s. Will John Bolton go and search those villages? And the Swiss people are armed, with more than the Swiss army knives, and Israeli settlers are armed, so please, spare me that Weberian argument about the monopoly of violence that is being imposed on Lebanon. I mean, the US is supplying the private militia of Dahlan in Palestine, and the criminal militias of Somalia, and the warlords' militias in Afghanistan, and several militias in Iraq, and the Hariri Inc militia in Lebanon, under the guise of the Internal Security Forces. So no more Weber. So that can be tossed out of the window because it will not be verified nor implemented unless you wish to send Ahmad Fatfat to Hizbullah strongholda to ask the party members to surrender their weapons to him. Fat chance. But this sentence is worrisome: "a UN force that is supplemented and enhanced in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operation." What does that mean? That vague phraseology is quite troubling because it is as vague as the Balfour declaration when it talks about preserving the "civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." And what is the mandate and scope of operation? If you want to expand and enhance the scope and mandate, you are in all but name creating a new force. But the dumb and not-so-dumb Lebanese ministers will not see that. They will try to sell this as UNIFIL. No, it is not. Or it does not have to be. But then I get confused when it says this: "Determined to act for this withdrawal to happen at the earliest." Wait. Wait. Hold on. Before I wake up the children and release the pigs from the barn, you need to explain this one to me, NOW. First you talk about "an immediate withdrawal of the Israeli forces from Southern Lebanon" and then you talk about at the earliest . Are you kidding me? Which is which, o wise and mild-mannered John Bolton? Is it immediate or is it "at the earliest"? And if you leave Israel to interpret a UN resolution, there is a long trail of unimplemented trail of resolutions soaked with blood. What if Israel decides that the year 2040 is the earliest? Resolution 425 and 426 (calling on Israel to withdraw from South Lebanon) were passed in 1978, and it was in 2000 when Kofi Annan thanked Israel for being so kind for withdrawing from South Lebanon, although Israel continues to occupy Shib`a Farms, Kfar Shuba Hills, and the seven villages, not to mention Palestine and Golan Heights. And then: "Taking due note of the proposals made in the seven-point plan regarding the Shebaa farms area. What! Is this an inside joke? Did I miss something here. A UNSC resolution is referring to Israeli occupation of Lebanese lands, and it merely, merely, refers to it as "taking note"? It does not even identify the identity of the occupier for fear of hurting the feelings of the Israeli people? Taking note? I take note of the utter stupidity of this sentence, and I consider it a reason--one of many--why this resolution should be rejected on grounds of principle. And then: "Welcoming the unanimous decision by the government of Lebanon on 7 August 2006 to deploy a Lebanese armed force of 15,000 troops in South Lebanon as the Israeli army withdraws behind the Blue Line and to request the assistance of additional forces from UNIFIL as needed, to facilitate the entry of the Lebanese armed forces into the region and to restate its intention to strengthen the Lebanese armed forces with material as needed to enable it to perform its duties." Well, here notice that the Israeli Army is clearly not planning on withdrawing immediately and completely, and can easily find grounds for staying on Lebanese territory. Also, when the US, here the UN but what is the difference really, talks about "strengthening" the Lebanese Army they only mean strengthening it vis-a-vis the Lebanese people, especially those--fundamentalists, leftists, Arab nationalists, and others--who wish to resist Israeli occupation of their country, and not vis-a-vis Israel. Srenghthening does not entail an air defense system which is the most needed weapon of defense for the country, unless you plan to rely on the elite fighting force of the Lebanese Army which surrendered their weapons today to the Israeli occupation force in Marji`yun, and apologized to the Israeli occupiers for not vacating their barracks earlier to make room for an exhausted and frightened occupation army. This one is Orwellian: "Determining that the situation in Lebanon constitutes a threat to international peace and security." Did the august body not notice that the Israeli war of aggression on Lebanon has been posing a threat to international peace and security until TODAY? It has been over a month. But thanks for noticing. Quite callous, I say. Notice this paragraph: Calls for a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hizbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations." They mean to draw a distinction between Hizbullah attacks, which are called "attacks", and yet Israeli attacks are "offensive military operations". Does that mean that the Israeli massacres in Siddiqin, Qa`, Tyre, Marwahin, Srifa, Shiyyah, Qana, and others were merely "military operations"? We need to know to know what to tell the survivors. And when it prohibits Israeli "offensive operations" it clearly permits what Israel will consider "defensive" operations, and all Israeli wars of aggression and occupation have been termed as "defensive" by Israel, as Tariq Mitri pointed out in his speech before the council. And then: "Emphasizes the importance of the extension of the control of the government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1559 (2004) and resolution 1680 (2006), and of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, for it to exercise its full sovereignty, so that there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the government of Lebanon." But Hizbulalh's armed presence has hitherto enjoyed the consent of the Lebanese government and the official statement of the Lebanese government pays tribute to "resistance" and to the legitimacy of all means to liberate occupied Lebanese lands? What about that, o Kofi? The presence of UNSC 1559 is crucial here: it is the crux of the matter, and it shows once again that the first foundation of the international conspiracy against Lebanon was layed by Rafiq Hariri when his interests met with the interests of Israel/US, in pushing for UNSC 1559. Hariri thought that with UNSC he would please US/Israel and would rule as king in Lebanon. Well, that was not meant to be, I am afraid. It is all about UNSC 1559. Then: "Reiterates its strong support for full respect for the Blue Line. How do you show your respect for a line? Do you bring it flowers? Do you leave cookies and milk on the line every day? Please enlighten me because I never respected "lines" before. And are you implying here that Israel has a great record of respecting lines, anywhere? And then: "Affirms that all parties are responsible for ensuring that no action is taken contrary to paragraph 1 that might adversely affect the search for a long-term solution, humanitarian access to civilian populations, including safe passage for humanitarian convoys, or the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons, and calls on all parties to comply with this responsibility and to cooperate with the Security Council." Notice that it says "all parties" when it should have said Israel, because it is Israel that has been attacking humanitarian convoys in Lebanon. But this resolution fails to even once hold Israel responsible for any of its crimes in Lebanon. This is yet another reason why it should be rejected, categorically. Here: "security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11, deployed in this area." This is May 17 Agreement all over again. The Lebanese Army in South Lebanon is being turned into a South Lebanon Army. The only duty of the Lebanese Army becomes to protect Israel and its occupation. This "full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state" is a clear violation of Lebanese sovereignty. Not that it exists of course, but the Lebanonese advocates shout about it. This is an internal Lebanese matter, and the UN has no business in even referring to the Ta'if Accords which dealt with Lebanese internal reforms. Imagine if the UNSC were to issue an opinion on the US constitution. And don't you like the qualification in the sentence "no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government." Is this like the consent that the "Iraqi government" gives to the US occupation in Iraq? Explain that, please. Here, there is one demand from Lebanon: "provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel's possession." But there is no timetable. When? A year? A decade? When? Why not specify a deadline? This is another tricky one that smells of the May 17 Agreement: "Invites the Secretary General to support efforts to secure as soon as possible agreements in principle from the Government of Lebanon and the Government of Israel to the principles and elements for a long-term solution as set forth in paragraph 8, and expresses its intention to be actively involved." What is being hinted here? But certainly the end here is quite obscene: "Stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973." This is basically the American peace process that has brought you all the peace and prosperity that the people of the region are now enjoying. Go back to sleep.
PS Oh, I forgot to say that this resolution, when it comes to the arrangements in South Lebanon, is meaningless. When it talks about preventing Hizbullah from returning to South Lebanon, how do you do that? The resolution talks about the return of all refugees. So Hizbullah fighters are part of the Southern Lebanese refugees. They will return. But will they return with their weapons? Well, it will not be difficult to smuggle them back in. And more bunkers will be built, and more recruitment will take place. If anything, I think that, like the Palestinian Resistance after the Karamah Battle, Hizbullah will receive more recruits than it can accommodate. Stay tuned. The Arab-Israeli conflict continues.




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  • As'ad AbuKhalil, born March 16, 1960. From Tyre, Lebanon, grew up in Beirut. Received his BA and MA from American University of Beirut in pol sc. Came to US in 1983 and received his PhD in comparative government from Georgetown University. Taught at Tufts University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Colorado College, and Randolph-Macon Woman's College. Served as a Scholar-in-Residence at Middle East Institute in Washington DC. He served as free-lance Middle East consultant for NBC News and ABC News, an experience that only served to increase his disdain for maintream US media. He is now professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at UC, Berkeley. His favorite food is fried eggplants.

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