August 1, 2006

Ignatieff Back With a Bang…Tells Israel it Needs to Stop Shooting

Vindication is sooo sooo sweet.

All I can say is WOW. Michael Ignatieff’s Op/Ed in today’s Globe and La Presse was all the proof I need to determine this man can defeat Stephen Harper. Although we are several weeks into the conflict, Michael Ignatieff is the first to propose a concrete solution. The bombing in Cana showed the devastation that this conflict can lead to. The statement is loaded with nuggets of powerful statements and because I am so happy my leadership candidate is on the same side as I am, I will break them down for you.

“The terrible tragedy in Qana, which claimed 57 lives, is thus a victory for Hezbollah. But that is not all. Hezbollah then hopes to draw Israel into a wider conflict which would result in its ultimate destruction. In this terrible struggle, Israel cannot win, Hezbollah cannot lose and Lebanon perishes.”

Making the distinction between Lebanon and Hezbollah is very important. Israel claims to have been bombing Hezbollah so far. However, any neutral observer will tell you now that Hezbollah is stronger than ever, the Lebanese government is powerless, and that the bombings have destroyed the country of Lebanon, but not Hezbollah.

“If Israel persists, there is a danger that it will lose control of the situation. Hezbollah cannot be wiped out militarily. They have support among Lebanese Shiites, because they provide social welfare and have the blessing of the mullahs. They also have political power, having won parliamentary seats in free elections. Further military action by Israel may only strengthen Hezbollah’s political power in Lebanon.”

Oh It gets better…

“Israel must not play Hezbollah’s game. It must defend itself, but to persist in its military campaign would only give Hezbollah what it wants: continuing carnage in Lebanon and weakening world support for Israel. Canada should be saying to Israel that there are no further military options in Lebanon that do not risk destroying Lebanon and ultimately endangering its own security.”

Canada should tell Israel to stop bombing…hmm…well Steve, grit heart, shoshana, and Michelle, we now have a divergence of opinion. Luckily, Ignatieff is on the right side of this one.

You can crap on Michael for seeing ailing relatives, although I find it slightly unclassy. However, give the man credit, he is the first to propose a solution and it is a fantastic one to boot.

“It’s time for Canada to do its part in stopping this march to the abyss. It should call for an immediate cease-fire, authorized by the Security Council. It should line up with the Europeans and moderate Arab states issuing the same call. Under such a cease-fire deal, Israeli forces would withdraw, aerial bombardment would cease and Hezbollah would stop rocket attacks and incursions into Israeli territory.
Once a cease-fire has taken hold, Canada should propose the deployment of an international naval, air and land force to prevent the movement of missiles and other military technology into Lebanon. These weapons come by land through Syria and by sea through the Mediterranean. Such a force should be deployed at all Lebanese ports and land borders. An additional naval force should patrol Lebanese waters. The force should be authorized by the UN Security Council to seize any weapons destined for Hezbollah or any non-state actor in the region.
Such a force would not engage in direct confrontation with Hezbollah or with the Israelis but patrol a buffer zone between them. Canada’s commitments in Afghanistan preclude sending ground troops on this mission, but Canada could participate in the naval interdiction effort in the Mediterranean. Canada’s navy has already played this role in the Gulf and would be well equipped to do so again”

Using multilateralism is the only way to disarm Hezbollah. It worked extremely well when British and Irish police sought to disarm the IRA. Israel has made it so that Hezbollah has more authority than the Lebanese government. With an international force in place, Israel can rest assured that Hezbollah is being targeted and the Lebanese government can re-build its authority over the region.

“The goal here is limited but vital: to create demilitarized zones between combatants and to bar the entry of the advanced weaponry that risks widening the local conflict into a regional conflagration. Once a cease-fire is in place, and the interdiction force deployed, Canada could form a ‘friends of Lebanon’ club, a group of states to work with the Lebanese government to reconstruct the country’s shattered infrastructure. Germany played this role after the Afghanistan war of 2001, and Canada could play the same role in Lebanon.”

Creating a “Friends of Lebanon” would prop up the Lebanese government again and proves once and for all that supporting Lebanon is NOT supporting Hezbollah. Israel itself should be supporting Lebanon. It is only the Lebanese government that can root out Hezbollah but it needs everybody’s help as the task is even more difficult now.

Michael ends the Op/Ed with a passage that left me breathless. It proved to me why the man is not only capable of beating Harper, but capable of taking Canada to the next level.

“We are a country of peace-makers, especially because we are also a country of immigrants, many of whom have come to Canada to escape the horrors of conflict. As a nation of immigrants from the zones of war, we have a special vocation for peace, and it is by exercising this vocation that we maintain our unity as a people. We have a voice that other countries listen to. Let us use it.”

33 Commentaires:

Blogger grit heart a dit...

Iggy backs Israel!

He calls for the dismantling of Hizbollah and return of soldiers. These are Israels only 2 conditions.

8/01/2006 11:38 a.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

By that logic, I have also been backing Israel all this time...

8/01/2006 11:42 a.m.  
Blogger Jason Townsend a dit...

Intriguing change of pace, Grit Heart. lol.

8/01/2006 11:47 a.m.  
Blogger Thomas a dit...

Why should Hezbollah be disarmed? Hezbollah is loved by most Arab people and it provides free medical services to countless people. It has an armed wing to defend itself from Zionist aggression.

If Hezbollah is disarmed, Israel should be too.

8/01/2006 1:16 p.m.  
Blogger Peter Loewen a dit...

Thomas: Are you serious? One is a state with sovereignty. The other is a rogue militia. Who cares if they provide medical service? They can continue to do it without holding on to 10000 rockets.

Just to test this logic, if my friends and I buy some highpowered weaponry and a free lemonade stand that my neighbours love, do we have the right to remain armed?

8/01/2006 1:20 p.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Vindication?? Your candidate is obviously a follower and not a leader on this one. Three weeks late is, well, three weeks late. Stating the obvious isn't exactly rocket science either. Yeah I agree with Grit Heart. Iggy has called for the disarming of Hezbollah, which is Israel's position, not yours Antonio.

PS. Did you read my comment that Israeli defence force states that the closest bombardment to Qanna was 1 KM away. I'd be very interested to have international bomb experts go in there and decide whose armaments went of and whether the building was bombed from bottom up, or top down. I seem to recall seeing a picture of the buiding with its top floor intact and its bottom floors collapsed. Will you change your opinion iof it turns out Hezbollah killed those women and children with their arms stores, either accidentally, or deliberately, to gain internationaly sympathy?

8/01/2006 1:59 p.m.  
Blogger Manitoba Liberal a dit...

Isreal is a state with a right to a military, Hezbollah is a fanatical terrorist organization funded by outside powers and all it's members are better off dead.

Just becasue it provides medical service to people in areas it has under control does not make it worthy of defense.

8/01/2006 2:25 p.m.  
Blogger ottlib a dit...

All in all a rather predictable statement and I should note the comments about it on the blogs are rather predictable as well.

Now that we have Dr. Ignatieff's statement on the current Middle East crisis maybe the Liberals can get on with choosing a leader.

8/01/2006 2:30 p.m.  
Blogger WesternGrit a dit...

Kudos Fuddle Duddle. Great comments. Mr. Ignatieff's statements are clear, well-thought out (not attempts at sound-bites), and carefully consider the regional geo-politics. Just what I would expect from this man. Hizbollah certainly can remain - as a political party (a'la Sinn Fein) - but, it must be dismantled as a guerrilla army (I prefer the term guerrilla to "terrorist" - which is over-used by hawks now-a-days).

In reading Ignatieff's books, I was certain he would come out with such a complex and pragmatic approach, and he certainly didn't disappoint. Can't wait for him to take on Shrub.

8/01/2006 3:04 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Thomas

I hope your views are not shared by others on the Kennedy campaign.

western grit

I agree that hezbollah as a political organization can survive. The social services they provide in Southern Lebanon can remain if they choose to disarm. It might be the solution the Lebanese people will want from Hezbollah. We will have to wait and see.

However, they must be disarmed. I have said this all along. We must not let a political organization take over a country. Lebanon is a free state and the international community must step up and help them regain authority from Hezbollah in their sovereign territory. I think the Friends of Lebanon is a great idea. Hopefully, Israel can participate in a show of solidarity.

8/01/2006 3:50 p.m.  
Blogger Phil Larouche a dit...

Another Zionist Zealot conspiracy theory from s.b. Her comments are pretty similar to what we have seen in the past few days on the bloggingtories.ca which I found to be completely crazy.

There was a 48-hour truce that the IDF had agreed upon but they violated it. They are less reliable than the militias like Hezbollah.

Phil

8/01/2006 3:53 p.m.  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Thomas "There was a 48-hour truce that the IDF had agreed upon but they violated it. They are less reliable than the militias like Hezbollah."

You have made that up.
Israel agreed to stop bombing in the area of Qaana for 48 hours to allow an investigation to be conducted. It never agreed to a truce.

A truce will come with the return of 2 soldiers and a plan to disarm Hizbollah.

8/01/2006 4:59 p.m.  
Blogger Kyle Carruthers a dit...

Wow! Shocking! Ignatieff has a well thought out position on his area of expertise--foreign affairs. Too bad he was too busy frolicing around the globe to learn about domestic Canadian politics.

8/01/2006 5:10 p.m.  
Blogger Davenport Liberal a dit...

He said the exact same thing as RAE.

For a guy who is suppose to be good with forgien policy he really looks to others for leadership.

Sorry Iggy, your about 10 days late.

8/01/2006 5:38 p.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Phil what problem do you have with international experts investigating this situation? Are you afraid I might be right and you won't be able to spew crap anymore.

8/01/2006 6:03 p.m.  
Blogger Fady a dit...

Thjs says everything....

Congress and the Israeli Attack on Lebanon: A Critical Reading

by Stephen Zunes; Foreign Policy in Focus;

August 1, 2006

On July 20, the U.S. House of Representatives, by an overwhelming 410-8 margin, voted to unconditionally endorse Israel's ongoing attacks on Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The Senate passed a similar resolution defending the Israeli attack earlier in the week by a voice vote, but included a clause that "urges all sides to protect innocent civilian life and infrastructure." By contrast, the House version omits this section and even praises Israel for "minimizing civilian loss," despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The resolution also praises President George W. Bush for "fully supporting Israel," even though Bush has blocked diplomatic efforts for a cease-fire and has isolated the United States in the international community by supporting the Israeli attacks.

The resolution reveals a bipartisan consensus on the legitimacy of U.S. allies to run roughshod over international legal norms. The resolution even goes so far as to radically reinterpret the United Nations Charter by claiming that Israel's attacks on Lebanon's civilian infrastructure is an act of legitimate self-defense under Article 51 despite a broad consensus of international legal scholars to the contrary.

In short, both Democrats and Republicans are now on record that, in the name of "fighting terrorism," U.S. allies -- and, by extension, the United States as well -- can essentially ignore international law and inflict unlimited damage on the civilian infrastructure of a small and largely defenseless country, even a pro-Western democracy like Lebanon.

Below are the key provisions of the resolution followed by a critical annotation:

Whereas in a completely unprovoked attack that occurred in undisputed Israeli territory on July 12, 2006, operatives of the terrorist group Hezbollah operating out of southern Lebanon killed three Israeli soldiers and took two others hostage;

Though clearly an illegal and provocative act, Hezbollah's action was not "completely unprovoked." Israel has held three Lebanese citizens for several years who were seized by Israeli forces from within Lebanon and Hezbollah had apparently hoped to work out some kind of swap, as both sides have successfully negotiated previously on several occasions. The seizure of the Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese border was also apparently done in retaliation for the ongoing Israeli assaults on civilian population centers in the Gaza Strip.

Whereas Israel fully complied with United Nations Security Council Resolution 425 (1978) by completely withdrawing its forces from Lebanon, as certified by the United Nations Security Council and affirmed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on June 16, 2000, when he said, 'Israel has withdrawn from [Lebanon] in full compliance with Security Council Resolution 425;'

Israel's current re-conquest of Lebanese territory along its northern border places Israel once again in violation of UN Security Council resolution 425 and nine subsequent resolutions demanding the withdrawal of their forces from Lebanon. Furthermore, Israel never fully complied with UNSC 425: While UN Secretary General Annan indeed recognized in his June 2000 statement that Israel had fully removed its ground forces from Lebanese territory, he has also criticized the repeated Israeli violations of Lebanese air space well prior to the recent outbreak of fighting as "provocative" and "at variance" with Israel's fulfillment of the resolution's demands for a withdrawal of ground troops from Lebanon.

Whereas despite the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, the Government of Lebanon has failed to disband and disarm Hezbollah, allowing Hezbollah instead to amass 13,000 rockets ... and has integrated Hezbollah into the Lebanese Government;

First of all, UN Security Council resolution 1559 does not call for Hezbollah or any other Lebanese political party to be disbanded, only for their armed militias to be disbanded.

Second, the only extent to which Hezbollah has been "integrated ... into the Lebanese government" is in naming Hezbollah member Mohammed Fneish to the power and hydraulic resources ministry, one of 24 cabinet posts. Representatives of all Lebanese parties that receive more than a handful of seats in parliamentary elections traditionally get at least one seat in the cabinet.



Third, in a UN Security Council meeting this past January that considered a report on the implementation of resolution 1559, the United States and the other members approved a statement that "notes with concern the report's suggestion that there have been movements of arms ... into Lebanese territory and, in this context, commends the Government of Lebanon for undertaking measures against such movements." In other words, the Lebanese government has not "allowed" Hezbollah to amass new weaponry; the problem is that their small and weak security forces -- now weakened further by Israeli attacks -- have simply been unable to prevent it.



This clause in the Congressional resolution therefore appears to be designed to try to justify Israel's decision to attack not just the Hezbollah militia, but Lebanon as a whole.



Whereas Hezbollah's strength derives significantly from the direct financial, military, and political support it receives from Syria and Iran ...



Both Syrian and Iranian support for Hezbollah has declined significantly over the past dozen years, particularly since the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from southern Lebanon.



In reality, Hezbollah's strength derives primarily from popular support within the Shiite Muslim minority in Lebanon which has suffered from heightened poverty and displacement as a result of the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000, the U.S.-backed Israeli bombardment of the Shiite-populated areas of the country from the 1970s through the 1990s, and the U.S.-backed neoliberal economic policies of the Lebanese government that have decimated the traditional economy. As a result of the violence and misguided economic policies, hundreds of thousands of Shiites were forced to leave their rural villages in the south to the vast shantytowns on the southern outskirts of Beirut where many found support through a broad network of Hezbollah-sponsored social services. As a result of gratitude for such assistance and anger at Israel and the United States for their situation, many became backers of Hezbollah's populist, albeit extremist, political organization. In the wake of the forced departure of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the destruction of the secular leftist Lebanese National Movement by successive interventions from Syria, Israel, and the United States during the 1980s, the radical Islamist Hezbollah rose to fill the vacuum. In other words, "Hezbollah's strength" was very much an outgrowth of U.S. and Israeli policy. Indeed, the group did not even exist until a full four years after Israel began its occupation of southern Lebanon.



Whereas Iranian Revolutionary Guards continue to operate in southern Lebanon, providing support to Hezbollah and reportedly controlling its operational activities;



The vast majority of Iranian Revolution Guards returned to Iran years ago. While they played a critical role in the initial setup of Hezbollah's armed militia in the early to mid-1980s following Israel's invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon, their presence today is quite small and they are certainly not "controlling Hezbollah's operational activities." The number of active Hezbollah combatants declined significantly since the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 (until the call-up of reserves following the initial Israeli attacks) and the movement had long since shifted its primary focus to electoral politics and providing social services for the Shiite community. Furthermore, despite claims by the Bush administration and its supporters that Hezbollah is simply acting as a proxy for Iran, it seems highly unlikely that a populist political party would instruct its militia to provoke a devastating war simply to please a foreign backer.



Whereas the House of Representatives has repeatedly called for full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559;



The House of Representatives never called for the full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 425 and nine subsequent resolutions calling for Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon during Israel's 22-year occupation of the southern part of that country. Nor has the House ever called for the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 446, 451, 465, and 472 calling on Israel to withdraw its illegal settlements from the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights or dozens of other UN Security Council resolutions currently being violated by Israel, Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, or other U.S. allies. As in the Bush administration, there appears to be a strong bipartisan sense in Congress that UN Security Council resolutions should only apply to governments and movements the United States does not like.



Whereas President George W. Bush stated on July 12, 2006, 'Hezbollah's terrorist operations threaten Lebanon's security and are an affront to the sovereignty of the Lebanese Government. Hezbollah's actions are not in the interest of the Lebanese people, whose welfare should not be held hostage to the interests of the Syrian and Iranian regimes,' and has repeatedly affirmed that Syria and Iran must be held to account for their shared responsibility in the recent attacks;



As the pro-Western government of Lebanese Prime Minster Fuad Siniora has insisted and as recent events have confirmed, the major threat to Lebanon's security and the most serious affront to its sovereignty is clearly the U.S.-backed Israeli government, not Hezbollah. And Hezbollah's political and military activities, like that of other Lebanese political parties, are based primarily upon what the movement's leadership -- however wrongly and cynically -- believe is in the best interest of advancing their political agenda and not that of the Syrian and Iranian governments (whose interests in Lebanon are often at variance with each other as well.) It is also disappointing that such an overwhelming majority of Democrats would be willing to cite President Bush as an authority on the situation in Lebanon following a series of demonstrably false claims he has made about that country and the current conflict.



Resolved, That the House of Representatives ... condemns Hamas and Hezbollah for engaging in unprovoked and reprehensible armed attacks against Israel on undisputed Israeli territory, for taking hostages, for killing Israeli soldiers, and for continuing to indiscriminately target Israeli civilian populations with their rockets and missiles;



Though such condemnation is appropriate, it is noteworthy that this resolution does not also condemn Israeli attacks against sovereign Lebanese territory and its targeting of civilian population centers, essentially backing the racist notion that Israeli territory and Israeli civilians are more important than that of Lebanese territory and civilians. It is also important to note that not a single Israeli civilian had been killed from Hezbollah attacks since well before Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon six years ago until Israel started killing Lebanese civilians when it launched its attacks on July 12.



... further condemns Hamas and Hezbollah for cynically exploiting civilian populations as shields, locating their equipment and bases of operation, including their rockets and other armaments, amidst civilian populations, including in homes and mosques;



This clause appears to be designed to blame the Lebanese, not the Israeli armed forces, for the deaths of innocent civilians. As Human Rights Watch has noted, "Deploying military forces within populated areas is a violation of international humanitarian law, but that does not release Israel from its obligations to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and civilian property during military operations." While it is not unusual for outgunned guerrilla movements with popular local support to have equipment in close proximity to civilian population, none of the offices of members of Congress who supported the bill which I have contacted has been able to cite any independently documented cases in the current conflict where Hezbollah has engaged in "exploiting civilian populations as shields." (Two offices cited Israeli government claims to this effect, but the Israeli government has previously made similar claims that were later proved false.)



... recognizes Israel's longstanding commitment to minimizing civilian loss and welcomes Israel's continued efforts to prevent civilian casualties;



This runs directly counter to reports by international journalists, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations that indicate that Israel has not been committed to "minimizing civilian loss" or preventing civilian casualties. As of this writing, well over 300 Lebanese civilians have been killed, the vast majority being nowhere near Hezbollah military installations. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, a former Canadian Supreme Court Justice, declared that Israel's "indiscriminate shelling of cities constitutes a foreseeable and unacceptable targeting of civilians. Similarly, the bombardment of sites with innocent civilians is unjustifiable." (She also correctly criticized Hezbollah's attacks into civilian areas in Israel.)



None of the Congressional offices I contacted was able to provide me with any data countering these reports. In supporting this resolution, 410 House members have gone on record challenging the credibility of these reputable human rights organizations and UN agencies, which have courageously defended the rights of victims or war and repression for decades. Supporters of this resolution have apparently demonstrated their willingness to misrepresent the truth in order to strengthen President Bush's efforts to undermine international humanitarian law.



... demands the Governments of Iran and Syria to direct Hamas and Hezbollah to immediately and unconditionally release Israeli soldiers which they hold captive;



Regardless of whether Iran and Syria are willing to work for the release of Israeli soldiers, neither government has the power to "direct" Hamas and Hezbollah to do anything. The decision by Congress to overstate the leverage that Iran and Syria have over these movements -- like similar exaggerations of Soviet and Cuban leverage over leftist revolutionaries in Central America during the 1980s -- appears to be based less on reality and more on helping to promote the right-wing global agenda of a Republican administration.



... affirms that all governments that have provided continued support to Hamas or Hezbollah share responsibility for the hostage-taking and attacks against Israel and, as such, should be held accountable for their actions [and] condemns the Governments of Iran and Syria for their continued support for Hezbollah and Hamas in their armed attacks against Israelis and their other terrorist activities;



This appears to provide the legal justification for future military action against Syria and Iran.



Ironically, however, the biggest supporters of Hamas have not been Syria or Iran but Saudi Arabia and other U.S.-backed monarchies in the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, the ruling parties of the U.S.-backed Iraqi government and their militias have long maintained close ties to Hezbollah. By only mentioning Syria and Iran, however, Congress is clearly not concerned about "all governments" that support these groups but only governments that the United States does not consider allies.



Furthermore, given that Israeli attacks have taken far more civilian lives than the Hezbollah and Hamas attacks, why should not the Bush administration also be condemned for its support of Israel's armed attacks against Lebanese and Palestinians?



... supports Israel's right to take appropriate action to defend itself, including to conduct operations both in Israel and in the territory of nations which pose a threat to it, which is in accordance with international law, including Article 51 of the United Nations Charter;



Article 33 requires all parties to " first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice," which Israel has refused to do. Article 51 does allow countries the right to resist an armed attack but not to use a minor border incident as an excuse to launch a full-scale war against an entire country, particularly when the armed group that violated the border was a private militia and not the army of the country in question.



Article 51 also states that self-defense against such attacks is justified only " until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security," which may explain why the Bush administration -- with the near-unanimous support of Congress -- has blocked the UN Security Council from imposing a cease fire or taking any other action. Such a radical reinterpretation of Article 51 allows the Bush administration and future U.S. administrations to justify massive military strikes against foreign countries in reaction to relatively minor incidents provoked by irregular forces within that country.



The International Red Cross, long recognized as the guardian of the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war, has declared that Israel has been violating the principle of proportionality in the conventions as well as the prohibition against collective punishment. Similarly, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour -- who served as chief prosecutor in the international war crimes tribunals on Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia -- has gone on record declaring that the armed forces of both Hezbollah and the Israeli government have been engaging in war crimes. None of the Congressional offices I contacted was willing to provide documentation that challenged these assessments.



... commends the President of the United States for fully supporting Israel as it responds to these armed attacks by terrorist organizations and their state sponsors;



President Bush is virtually alone among the United States' Western allies and the international community as a whole in his unconditional support for Israel's assault on Lebanon. Since President Bush's most significant role since the outbreak of the fighting has been to block diplomatic efforts by the United Nations, the European community, and others to arrange a cease-fire, this resolution is essentially an endorsement of indefinite war. It is disappointing that all but seven of the House's 201 Democrats would once again give their unconditional support for President Bush regarding a Middle East policy based primarily on the use of force. In backing President Bush in this resolution, Congress has gone on record challenging the broad international consensus that, however reprehensible the actions of Hezbollah and Hamas may be, Israel's actions are excessive and in violation of international legal norms.



... urges the President of the United States to bring the full force of political, diplomatic, and economic sanctions available to the Government of the United States against the Governments of Syria and Iran;



Given that the Bush administration and Congress already have implemented strict political, diplomatic, and economic sanctions against Syria and Iran, it is unclear what more could be done. Indeed, with such strict sanctions already in place, it is difficult for President Bush to exercise any additional leverage short of military action.



... demands the Government of Lebanon to do everything in its power to find and free the kidnapped Israeli soldiers being held in the territory of Lebanon;



Israel has been bombing Lebanese army and other government facilities and has destroyed virtually every bridge connecting the central part of the country (where most of the central government's police and military apparatus is based) to Hezbollah strongholds in the south (where the Israeli soldiers are presumably being held). It is hard to understand, therefore, how the Lebanese government could do much at this point to find and free the Israeli soldiers. It is also noteworthy that the resolution says nothing about Lebanese citizens kidnapped by Israeli forces who are currently being held in Israel.



... calls on the United Nations Security Council to condemn these unprovoked acts and to take action to ensure full and immediate implementation of United Nations Security Council 1559 (2004), which requires Hezbollah to be dismantled and the departure of all Syrian personnel and Iranian Revolutionary Guards from Lebanon;



First of all, it is the United States that has prevented the UN Security Council from passing a resolution condemning the capture of the Israeli soldiers and the rocket attacks on Israel because of the threat to veto any resolution which is also critical of the Israeli attacks.



Second, UNSC resolution 1559 requires the "dismantling and disarming of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias," which would certainly include Hezbollah's militia, but not Hezbollah's far more extensive political apparatus and social service networks. With the Lebanese government unable to force the dismantling and disarming of Hezbollah as long as its armed forces and its transportation infrastructure are under U.S.-backed Israeli attacks, it is hard to understand how the Security Council could "take action to ensure full and immediate implementation" of the resolution other than to authorize the use of force by other countries under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. But such use of force cannot legally be implemented in an internal security issue without the consent of the recognized government.



Third, the report to the UN Security Council on the implementation of UNSC 1559 in January of this year noted that Syria had complied with provisions for the withdrawal of its forces from Lebanon and did not note the ongoing presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guard. (There are reports of a small number of Iranian advisers still in the country, though it is unclear whether foreign military advisers constitute "foreign forces" under the resolution, particularly since a number of Western nations, including the United States, have sent military advisers to Lebanon since the Syrian withdrawal last year.)



In any case, after its forces entered Lebanon last week, Israel clearly violated UNSC resolution 1559. The resolution calls for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon. Congress, however apparently believes Israel is somehow exempt from this resolution.





Stephen Zunes is a professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco and Middle East editor for Foreign Policy in Focus. He is the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003). This article was posted on Foreign Policy in Focus, July 22, 2006.

8/01/2006 9:07 p.m.  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

Fady

I think I speak for everyone... your comment is a tad long.

I also think it's clear that ALL parties in this have violated various laws. You keep on bashing Israel, without bashing Hezbollah. I don't agree with the extent of what Israel is doing, because I believe it will breed more terrorists and is ultimately playing into Hezbollah's, Syria's and Iran's hands. However, many Lebanese's involement, both direct and indirect, in the Hezbollah organization should not be overlooked.

In the end, all parties are to blame for this mess. Everyone is guilty, and on one is a saint. No one.

8/01/2006 10:32 p.m.  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Fady:

The US Congress is right!

8/01/2006 10:33 p.m.  
Blogger Tarek a dit...

If the US Congress is right, then everyone who might not agree is an antisemite! I applaud your logic. Aristotle must be turning over in his grave.

8/02/2006 12:05 a.m.  
Blogger Fady a dit...

I put this comment for some people to read. Considering all these people dying right now, a bit of scrolling won't kill you.

I do not agree with hezbollah, I never agreed with them. They act like they want without consulting with the elected government.

But now 87% of the Lebanese population (that was even before Qana) supports them because the Israeli response was far too out of proportion.

And yes I will bash Israel, because as the ratio stands right now 1 Israeli is worth 40 Lebanese.

I think the numbers speak for themselves.

8/02/2006 12:22 a.m.  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Fady:

The US Congress (overwhemingly) disagrees with you.

Thankfully!

8/02/2006 9:19 a.m.  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

apparently antonio, your candidate hasn't lost any sleep over the Qana issue.

what do say????

8/02/2006 4:00 p.m.  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Boy, Iggy isn't sleeping and Antonio isn't speaking!

Antonio must be searching for a new candidate.

8/02/2006 10:06 p.m.  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

grit heart

care to elaborate on your comments? thx

8/02/2006 11:10 p.m.  
Blogger Phil Larouche a dit...

s.b.

Will you retract your misleading comment saying that the Qana incident might have been caused by Hezbollah ? The IDF has issued an apology for the victims and confirmed it was their mistake that killed over 60 innocent civilians, more than half of them being kids.

8/03/2006 1:04 a.m.  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Cat mutant:

Here is what Iggy is saying today (Globe Thursday, August 3rd)

He said in the interview that a ceasefire could take effect only if Hezbollah agrees to talk, which will happen only after a sustained military action on behalf of Israel. "I'm a realist," said Mr. Ignatieff, considered the front-runner in the race to become the next Liberal leader.

"I understand that a terrorist militia -- and that's what Hezbollah is -- is not going to accept a ceasefire unless it believes it's in its advantage to do so and it will only believe it's in its advantage to do so if it's under severe military duress."

I am wondering why Antonio has become silent?

8/03/2006 7:39 a.m.  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/03/2006 7:48 a.m.  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Larouche:

Here is the IDF statement on Qana.

Background of events

Qana has long been a hot-bed for Hizbullah activities against Israel. Since the beginning of the present conflict, the village has served as a shelter for escaping terrorists and a center of rocket attacks against Israel. Over 130 rockets have been launched from the vicinity of the village towards northern Israel. More than 50 rockets were launched from within the village itself.

Launchers are routinely situated in close proximity to residential buildings while carrying out their attacks against Israel. A regional HQ of Hizbullah was also located in the village, from which many terrorist activities were planned and carried out. Furthermore, weapons depots and logistics sites were located in the village itself, used as supply sources for Hizbullah.

In order to spare unnecessary injury of innocent civilians in the village, the IDF has taken a number of precautions aimed at protecting these civilians, including the aerial dispersal of fliers calling for their temporary relocation outside of the area. Thus, the civilian population in the village was warned and was requested to temporarily vacate the village.

The IDF does not target civilians. The IDF is carrying out a determined campaign to thwart Hizbullah terrorist attacks against Israel, in any and all forms, as well as destroy Hizbullah infrastructure that would otherwise allow it to continue these terrorist attacks the day after a cease-fire is reached.

The events

The presence of civilians was not known to the IDF in light of the repeated warnings given to the village residents. The IDF would not have attacked this target, despite its value as a terrorist asset, had it known that the residents remained in the building. This, of course, is in direct contradiction to Hizbullah policy which purposely places its ammunition depots in residential buildings and hides its launchers in these same structures, using the civilian residents as unwilling human shields.

The death of civilians in Qana is a tragedy regardless of the specific circumstances of their death. The State of Israel and the IDF have expressed their deep and genuine sorrow over the loss of life of innocent civilians amidst the ongoing confrontation with the Hizbullah.

The IDF is still conducting an inquiry into the events in order to understand what exactly happened. Within this context, for instance, is the issue of the 7 hour gap between the bombing of the building and the time when the evacuation of the injured began.

While nothing can reasonably justify the death of civilians, it is nevertheless imperative to be reminded of the larger context in which this tragic event took place - the context of war. The IDF did not choose to begin this conflict. Hizbullah launched an unprovoked cross-border attack into Israeli territory, killing three IDF soldiers and taking two others hostage, followed by a constant barrage of rocket fire (close to 2,000) aimed intentionally against Israeli civilian population centers, in contradiction to every basic principle of civilized behavior.

As a result of this tragic event, the IDF has temporarily enacted self-imposed restrictions with regard to the targeting of structures in Lebanon. These operational limitations should not, however, be misinterpreted as a cease-fire. The IDF is still determined to achieve the military goals that are essential for bringing about the security to the residents of Israel’s northern border."

8/03/2006 7:49 a.m.  
Blogger Phil Larouche a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/03/2006 9:50 a.m.  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

Phil,

You are forgetting an important fact... Hezbollah started this whole conflict. Hence, don't put the entire blame on Israel, because Hezbollah started this mess.

As for Lebanon... they had a long way to go before developping into a stable country. There are still scars of the civil war and Syrian defacto occupation. Lebanon couldn't have developped any further with Hezbollah controlling a third of the country.

8/03/2006 10:40 a.m.  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

And now you've deleted your posts...

8/03/2006 12:46 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Grit
there has been a death in the family and I have been away from the computer.

While insensitive, Michael's comment was in fact quite realistic for someone with his experience. Read any of his accounts of the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and I wonder how he sleeps at night at all.

8/03/2006 1:54 p.m.  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Sorry about the death in your family.

My sympathies.

8/03/2006 4:36 p.m.  

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