[News] The Draft UN Resolution on Lebanon

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Aug 7 11:58:51 EDT 2006


August 7, 2006

"If Israel did not win the war and it gets all this, what would have 
happened if it had won the war?"

The Draft UN Resolution on Lebanon



It is impossible to speak of a Hizbullah victory' when nearly a 
thousand Lebanese civilians have been killed, thousands more injured, 
a million people internally displaced; and Lebanon's infrastructure, 
environment and economy laid to waste as the world watches.

The general consensus however is that Hizbullah's and Lebanon's 
steadfastness after four weeks of merciless Israeli attacks means 
that Israel has failed to achieve its objectives through military 
means: crushing/disarming Hizbullah, reinstating its deterrent, and 
protecting the security of northern Israel. Indeed, Hizbullah's 
resistance has gained unprecedented support throughout the Arab 
world, and Nasrallah has emerged as a Nasser-like figure who has 
restored pride to Arabs everywhere in contrast to the uniformly 
servile and unpopular Arab regimes.

The draft UN resolution proposed by the US and France on Saturday 
thus seems strangely out of place, as though Israel had won this war 
decisively and is in a position to dictate the terms. The draft does 
not reflect either the reality of a balance of terror that clearly 
exists between Hizbullah and Israel today, or the political unity 
that this war has created in Lebanon and across the Arab world. As 
such, it has come as a shock to many people in the region. In the 
words of the influential Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri (who is 
mediating between Hizbullah and the Lebanese government), "if Israel 
did not win the war and it gets all this, what would have happened if 
it had won the war?"

Here are some preliminary observations on this draft resolution:

1. It clearly adopts the Israeli narrative that this war was begun by 
Hizbullah"referred to dismissively as an "armed group" "on 12 July 
when it "abducted" (as opposed to "captured") two Israeli soldiers, 
and makes clear that to prevent the "resumption of hostilities" 
Hizbullah must be banned in all areas between the Blue Line and 
Litani River. Elsewhere, the text refers to the Sheba'a farms as 
"disputed or uncertain" as opposed to "occupied."

2. It calls for a "cessation of hostilities" until an international 
force is deployed, as opposed to the "immediate cease fire" that the 
Lebanese government has repeatedly demanded. This gives Israel the 
face-saving mechanism it needs to justify the heavy costs of this war 
to its own public, given its pledge not to stop the war until an 
international force is in place in southern Lebanon.

3. It further calls on Hizbullah to cease all "attacks" while Israel 
must only cease "offensive military operations." Given that Israel 
has all along stated that this war is in self-defense, this phrasing 
clearly gives Israel the green light to continue to hit Hizbullah 
targets whenever it interprets the need for self defense.' And since 
'Hizbullah targets' apparently includes the full spectrum of civilian 
installations throughout the country as well as all civilians in 
Lebanon, Israel could interpret this to mean a green light for the 
continuation of its onslaught.

4. It refers to the "unconditional release" of Israeli soldiers, but 
only to "encouraging the efforts aimed at resolving the issue of the 
Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel." It says nothing about the 
exchange of prisoners, a key Lebanese demand.

5. It does not heed Lebanon's demand for an immediate lifting of the 
Israeli siege of Lebanon. Rather it makes clear that airports and 
ports will be reopened only for "verifiably and purely civilian 
purposes." In other words, everyone and everything going in and out 
of the country will be monitored, thus turning Lebanon into a new Gaza.

6. There is no mention of an international investigation into 
Israel's savage attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure as 
Lebanon's Prime Minster has repeatedly demanded. There is moreover no 
reference to war crimes, international humanitarian laws or the 
Geneva Conventions.

7. The heart of this draft resolution calls for a permanent ceasefire 
based on the disarming of "all armed groups in Lebanon" under UN 
resolution 1559, and the deployment in Lebanon (as opposed to Israel, 
or both countries) of an "international force" under Chapter VII of 
the UN Charter to help implement a "long term solution." The Lebanese 
government has insisted that the disarming of Hizbullah must be part 
of Lebanon's national dialogue in the context of the Taif Accords, 
and that the Lebanese army should be the main player in securing 
southern Lebanon, with an expanded UNIFIL there to assist it as needed.

In short, this draft resolution is a major blow to Lebanon, its 
sovereignty, and its new found political unity and consensus as 
represented by the government's much-publicized seven point plan, 
first unveiled in the Rome Conference of 25 July and later adopted 
unanimously by the Council of Ministers (that includes Hizbullah) and 
supported by the Arab League and Organization of Islamic Conferences. 
The draft totally ignores major Lebanese demands, most notably 
Israel's withdrawal from any territory it has seized during this war, 
the placing of Sheba'a farms area under UN control until border 
delineation is completed, the exchange of prisoners, and the 
rejection of a Charter VII authorized "international force." Worse, 
it waves all culpability of Israel in terms of its deliberate 
targeting of civilians and consigns the long-established 
international laws of war to the trashbin.

As expected, the Lebanese government has already rejected the draft 
outright because it is clearly not a serious attempt to resolve the 
crisis. Ominously, the draft's bias seems clearly designed to ensure 
Lebanon rejects it, thus giving Israel yet more time to continue its 
carnage in Lebanon. It also seems designed to divide Lebanon once 
again politically"and potentially along sectarian lines--to isolate 
Hizbullah. This is extremely dangerous, and may lead to more violent 
civil conflict or even full-scale war. Much depends on the leadership 
skills of Prime Minister Siniora who needs to emerge as a genuine 
national leader if such civil conflict is to be avoided in the coming months.

Overall, then, we can see that this draft UN resolution represents a 
second wave of US-European-Israeli attacks on Lebanon. While the 
military assault against Hizbullah has apparently failed, we now 
enter a diplomatic war that will be even bloodier.

It is clear that, once again, the differences between America and 
Europe are not over substance but style. In blunt terms, America does 
not particularly care how much damage is done to Lebanon as long as 
its objectives are reached, while Europe"and France in 
particular"want only for Hizbullah to be crushed without the unseemly 
images produced in villages and cities throughout Lebanon, from Qana 
in the South to Qaa in the North. Europe, in other words, is entirely 
complicit with America and Israel in this war. As for the Arab 
regimes, their support for the Israeli objectives has now been 
neutralized by Hizbullah's popularity across the Arab world. The 
international political will to reach a just, lasting and realistic 
solution to this conflict"and the larger Palestinian question"clearly 
does not exist. The violence and destruction of Lebanon will thus 
continue, and Islamists will reap the long-term political rewards.

The international community as embodied by the United Nations 
Security Council is, for all intents and purposes, itself waging war 
on a small, vulnerable Member State; and as such it no longer carries 
legitimate authority in the Arab world. In this sense Israel, America 
and Europe can congratulate themselves not only on the total 
destruction of a country, but on the de-legitimization of the 
international legal order as we know it.

Karim Makdisi is Assistant Professor of International Relations in 
the Dept of Political Studies and Public Administration at the 
American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon. Email: 
<mailto:km18 at aub.edu.lb>km18 at aub.edu.lb

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