Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lebanese govt.: We will not disarm Hezbollah

The Lebanese government has announced it will not disarm Hezbollah. Israeli editorialists are claiming this refusal violates the terms of the ceasefire as demanded by UNSC Resolution 1701, voted unanimously last Friday.

But does it? Consider some of the text of the resolution:
OP3. [TheUNSC] Emphasizes the importance of the extension of the control of the government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory ... 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;
In other words, the UNSC never did call for Hezbollah to be disarmed absolutely. The resolution grants the Lebanese government the authority to permit Hezbollah to retain its arms. And that, Lebanon's government announced, is exactly what it is going to do.

However, it will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with committee work (and the UNSC is one big committee) that the resolution apparently contradicts itself later, calling for :
... 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,
The Taif Accords came to be in October 1989, when "the Lebanese National Assembly met in Taif, Saudi Arabia to ratify a 'National Reconciliation Accord' under Syrian and Saudi tutelage."
The Taif accords transferred power away from the Lebanese presidency, traditionally given to Maronites, and invested it in a cabinet divided equally between Muslims and Christians. The Taif accords also declared the intention of extending Lebanese government sovereignty over southern Lebanon. Though Israel eventually withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, armed Hizbollah militia remained in control of the area, apparently maintaining a tacit arrangement whereby Hizbollah could harass Israel within limits, but not so seriously that it would provoke a massive retaliation.
My analysis:

The arrangement between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government will no longer be "tacit." Since 2000 Hezbollah has won seats in the Lebanese parliament and two Hezbollahis are cabinet ministers of the Lebanese government. In weeks and months to come Hezbollah's influence inside Lebanon, high before the war, will come to dominate. By the end of this year, conservatively, there will be no meaningful distinction between Hezbollah troops and Lebanese troops. The Lebanese national army and the Hezbollah military wing will be, for all practical purposes, the same - and Hezbollah will be in control.

Ehud Olmert and Neville Chamberlian - soul brothers

"Peace in our time?" No, not under the provisions of UNSC 1701. The ineptitude of the Olmert government in prosecuting its war against Hezbollah, most of all its refusal to force a decision quickly against Hezbollah's armed force, has endangered Israel more than ever. Israel may boast that it destroyed thousands of Hezbollah rockets before firing, but that means nothing - Iran and Syria will resupply them in short order.

Israel faces very difficult times to come, and very violent ones. This war is very far from over. As former prime minister Benjamin Natanyahu told the Knesset Monday,
"Unfortunately, there will be another round [in this war] because the government's just demands weren’t met" by the cease-fire agreement that went into effect Monday morning.

"The [kidnapped] soldiers weren’t returned home, the Hizbullah was not disarmed … Right now, we are [merely] in an interim period between wars," Netanyahu warned. "And there is no one who will prevent our enemies from rearmed and preparing for the next round."
In the same session, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik of Olmert's own Kadima party "called for the establishment of an emergency national unity government" to "prepare us for the next war."

We may hope and wish otherwise, but hope is not a method and wishes are not plans.


At Tue Aug 22, 11:08:00 AM, Anonymous Yaron said...

I am an Israeli reserve soldier, and just came back from a "30 day tour" serving in the Israeli MLRS (which is how I came across your site...)
I stumbled upon your blog and though I normally dont comment and just mind my own business - this time I think I've got to.

What you say is true, mostly. The Israeli Army should have taken down the Hezbollah in the 1st week, or maximum 10 days, with a full blown air strike and artillery usage against the katyusha launchers. It was Ehud Olmert and his cabinets responsibility to our nation and people to take care of that threat at any cost, and he failed to do so, and therefore MUST resign, along with Defense Minister Amir Peretz & Chief of Staff Dan Halutz.

However, the sub-plot surfacing currently from other sources (see http://www.debka.co.il) suggests that the US and specifically Condoleezza Rice had more than a hand in the decision to "take it slowly" and not use the full might of the forces. Generally speaking, Condi preferred the crying of Israeli mothers over the Lebanese ones.
That explains why mosques that were used as firing grounds weren't fired upon. Why houses and schools were spared after positively undeniably shown to harbor katyusha launchers, and so forth.
From my own experience which I saw with my own eyes and heard in my own ears - approximately 90% of our targets were cancelled for such reasons. Needless to say - the 10% that we did fire upon were paralized after few rounds of ammunition.

The issue bothers me in 3 ways:
1. It hurts to see our nation's leader crumble and give in by sacrificing our towns and soldiers.
2. It hurts that we are a US satellite country with no real spine of our own even when we truly needed to defy and blow their asses into oblivion, pardon my french...
3. It hurts that the world still hasnt learned how to deal with the factors trying to undermine the basic norms we live under. "International law", "Geneva convention", "Human rights" are all TOOLS USED BY HEZBOLLAH in order to gain support and immunity, and used in a very cinical fashion, to say the least. People of the world MUST understand that it is our MORAL DUTY to fire back, regardless of the human shields used to guard the enemy.

One quick example of the moral conflict: If someone is shooting at you while holding a baby in their arms, what do you do?
A. Not shoot back. It's an innocent baby.
B. Shoot back, but as far away from the baby as possible, basically just to frighten the shooter.
C. Shoot back and defend yourself, risking the baby's life.

We've been doing A & B for about 50 years. They KNOW we do A & B. THEY USE IT AGAINST US! Now they hold 2 babies in each arm, one on each leg and one on their head while shooting more advanced weapons. They've hit us in the leg, shoulder and stomach, and they've killed some of our friends and family members. When do we get to choose option C?

The answer is simple - it should have been C all along. The citizens of southern Lebanon are being used as hostages, but they invited their captives in. They harbor them, and they are in general their brothers and sisters. That's a far way from "innocent babies". Hezbollah has been saying since the day it was founded that it aims to destroy the state of Israel "the Zionist Entity" in their words. We should have used everything in our power to deal with this organization, and still - we didnt.

This conflict is far from over. As long as Iran and the Islamic fascists are in control - the conflict will continue. Israel-Hezbollah is just the tip of the iceberg. I wont be surprised if these are the rumblings of WWIII. I hope that in the next round the gloves will come off and we will be able to win decisively, and that the people of the Arab nations will turn to a more moderate way of thinking, though I seriously doubt it.

This "war" has been a wakeup call for many Israelis. We've seen the enemy eye-to-eye and realized the risks we are up against. We've made mistakes and we'll learn from them. We were held back by Mr Olmert & Ms Rice but still managed to hand out a decent blow. We lost 156 lives but gained the myth and the story behind each soul. We're here to stay and there's no force in the world that can drive us from our homeland. That point is as clear as daylight even to the most extreme Islamists by now, and that's the only point that's important to us.

At Wed Aug 23, 01:38:00 PM, Blogger Donald Sensing said...

Thank you for the comment, Yaron. It's always good to hear from a fellow artilleryman. Anyway, I am working up a post about whether the Bush administration actually pulled Olmert back, or lost patience with Olmert because he would not press forward. He sure had plenty of time to do so. Stay tuned.


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