Q&A on the Lebanese government's response to the UN Draft resolution
prepared by the LCCC  editorial staff
August 8/06

Siniora's Cabinet, which includes two ministers from Hezbollah, made its decision to deploy 15,000 Lebanese army troops to the south in exchange for amending the draft UN resolution to include the requirement of a withdrawal of Israeli forces currently stationed on Lebanese soil. The Lebanese government’s new demands do not mention the disarming of Hezbollah, nor do they address the status of Hezbollah. For example, will Hezbollah be infiltrated into the Lebanese army troops to de deployed in the south? Will Hezbollah be allowed to resume its terrorist activities in the south and continue usurping the authority and the sovereignty of the Lebanese state?  

Do not let the Siniora government derail a strong UN resolution. The offer to send Lebanese troops has always been made in the past, and either a symbolic presence was made or it was made in such a way as not to prevent Hezbollah from operating. The Siniora government does not intend to disarm Hezbollah and is not making any pledge to do so. The Siniora government has always argued in the past that the Lebanese army cannot disarm Hezbollah (argument: this could lead to civil war) or that it does not want to disarm Hezbollah (argument: It is not our job to protect Israel’s border against Hezbollah’s “resistance”). What then makes Siniora now so sure, or what guarantees can he give, that Hezbollah will either not go back to the border or that it will disarm?? If history is any guide, this is yet again a ploy by an enslaved Lebanese government to give Hezbollah the claim that it has pushed back the Israeli “invaders” (which Hezbollah itself brought in the first place by their reckless actions),  and therefore the claim of a Hezbollah victory which it will use for decades to come to cement its control of Lebanon.

The deployment of Lebanese national troops to the south is part of the U.S.- and French-backed peace plan under discussion at the United Nations. Hezbollah has effectively controlled southern Lebanon since Israel withdrew in 2000. But Siniora's government has objected to other elements of the plan, arguing that it does not call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanese territory or resolve other outstanding Israeli-Lebanese disputes.

Israeli troops should not be withdrawn from the south until and unless there are firm mechanisms in place to ensure the disarming, the neutralizing, the crippling, and the military defeat of Hezbollah, which would remain free to operate as a purely political entity. Anything short of this would make the reckless actions of Hezbollah in the Lebanese south a model to be followed by similar organizations anywhere.

Monday's proposal does not call for Hezbollah to disarm, but the Cabinet said it would allow only Lebanese government troops and U.N. peacekeepers to operate south of the Litani River, Finance Minister Jihad Azour said.

Again what guarantees is the Siniora government giving the Lebanese people and the international community that Hezbollah would not immediately return and re-ignite the war? Siniora is asking to return to the status quo ante. No demands whatsoever are being placed on Hezbollah, the party that is responsible for the war.

An Arab League delegation was heading to the United Nations to request changes in the draft peace plan before the Security Council votes on the proposal.

The Arab League is a cesspool of hypocrite, impotent, corrupt, inept dictatorships who are terrified at the thought that, after the Syrian rule in Lebanon and its residues such as the Siniora government, their turn will come to have to account before international public opinion. They will do everything they can to scuttle a legal, unambiguous and determined plan to finally pacify Lebanon. The Arab countries have fought wars and lost them to Israel. The war in Lebanon today is nothing but the continuation of that war through the Lebanese proxy. The Arabs think they can liberate Palestine by burning Lebanon. They have done so since the late 1960s and they will continue today. Anyone ever wondered why isn’t there a Syrian Hezbollah to fight Israel and get the Golan Heights back? Not one bullet has been fired between Syria and Israel across their disputed border since 1974, while Syria has cheered all the wars along the Lebanese-Israeli border. Anyone ever wondered why half the Arab world has diplomatic relations with Israel, openly and secretly? Yet, Lebanon is the only Arab country that is asked to pay the ultimate price of being the only war front against Israel.

The current plan would have the Security Council call for an end to the fighting, followed by a second resolution later that would establish an international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. That force would replace the existing U.N. observer mission.

Lebanon prefers a single, more comprehensive resolution that would deal with a cease-fire and all of the political issues rather than a two-phase approach that the Lebanese Embassy's charge d'affaires in Washington, Carla Jazzar, said would give Hezbollah a pretext to continue fighting.

Carla Jazzar’s call for a comprehensive one-phase resolution des not provide any guarantees that the Lebanese army or UNFIL – both of which have failed for close to 30 years to rein the PLO then and Hezbollah now from destabilizing the south of Lebanon – will this time be able to do anything. This is a demand to return to the status quo ante. Period. Which means, that as the Lebanese army deploys cosmetically in the south, Hezbollah would be returning freely to its positions under the benign look of an impotent and biased UNIFIL, re-arming itself and preparing for the next war. This is not what the Lebanese people want, and the Siniora government is committing an irresponsible act that is nothing short of a crime against its own people. 

The Lebanese proposal calls for Israel to hand over the disputed territory of Shebaa Farms to the United Nations, "pending delineation of the border in this area between Lebanon and Syria."

Siniora should be making explicit demands of his re-discovered friend, the Syrian regime, to submit the required documents to the UN that officially cede sovereignty to Lebanon. Then, and only then can Lebanon demand the UN to come in and delineate the border, and once Shebaa is found to be Lebanese under international law, can the UN officially demand Israel to cede it physically back to Lebanon. The onus is on the Lebanese and the Syrians to agree first on Shebaa before the UN intervenes.

And it would bolster UNIFIL rather than creating a new peacekeeping force with more robust rules of engagement.

UNIFIL is an abject failure of peacekeeping. Billions of dollars have been spent on it since 1978, close to 250 UNIFIL soldiers have been killed in south Lebanon since 1978, and UNIFIL has not contributed anything to peace in the south. Today’s events in south Lebanon are proof perfect to the failure of UNIFIL.  We don’t need to bolster a decaying concept. We need a new force and a new mandate under Chapter 7 of the UN charter.

President Bush said Monday all involved parties "aren't going to agree with all parts of the resolution." But he said the resolution must block Hezbollah's ability to act as a military force in Lebanon.

We cannot but fully agree. Any resolution should stipulate from the outset that Hezbollah will be disarmed and/or is never again allowed to have its own State in the south.