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