Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Virginia Tilly, "Inside 1701," CounterPunch, August 19/20, 2006.

...the over-all weight of the resolution indicates that Israel holds the crucial card: whether and when to withdraw its forces from Lebanese territory.


Simply "disarming" Hizbullah, however, is out of the question: no Lebanese authority has the power to do that. Reflecting this reality, the government of Lebanon has already redefined Hizbullah as a "resistance" group, not a "militia", and therefore exempt from the provisions of Security Council Resolution 1559 (which requires all "militias" to disarm). This maneuver allows Lebanon's unity government to comply with Resolution 1559 by "consenting" to Hizbullah's continuing to bear weapons - or at least, so the government argues.


...the Resolution establishes no external authority to compel Israel's withdrawal or any sanctions if it does not.


Historically, the Lebanese government has lacked both the capacity and the interest necessary to disarm Hizbullah, a force much more powerful than the state's own armed forces and that enjoys significant legitimacy in Lebanon as the sole effective deterrent to Israeli aggression. (Flagging in the post-Hariri era, its legitimacy has now been enormously pumped up by Israel's ruinous invasion of the country.) Lebanon is hardly unique in this weakness. Many weak states lack the capacity to control armed groups operating from their territories (several African states come to mind). They may even tacitly support the presence of such groups, if those groups operate as extra-legal (and plausibly deniable) instruments of the government's foreign policy. [Similar to the use of private military contractors by the US. -jlt]
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