Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"What 1701 means for Lebanon's Security"

First, with respect to Israel, the resolution "calls for a full cessation of hostilities based upon...the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations."

That leaves out a lot. In the full text of 1701 paragraph 3 states an unequivocal precondition:

"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."

There you have it. If Israel resumes "offensive military operations" it is not a violation of 1701 as long as its "abducted" soldiers are not returned. The current peace Lebanon enjoys, then, isn't due to any sort of international pressure upon Israel but is simply an expression of unmatched Israeli goodwill. Hezbollah has expressed its desires clearly but obviously considers itself too weak to dare resume hostilities itself.

If the Lebanese government feels threatened by a Chapter VII resolution due to Hizbollah noncompliance, UNSC 1559 calls for the disarming of Lebanese militias - meaning Hizbollah, as far as the international community is concerned - and nothing stops the Siniora government from simply asking U.N. forces to assist it in doing so. This assisted disarming of a recalcitrant Hezbollah would be advertised as a step at complying with 1701 and a way to forstall future Israeli "offensive military operations", and thus is the best course possible to increase Lebanon's security.

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