Thursday, February 08, 2007

Breaking News: Border Clash + Weapons Truck - Updated!

"Lebanese troops deployed along the border with Israel opened fire late Wednesday as Israeli troops searched for Hezbollah bombs, drawing retaliatory fire, officials from both sides said... Israeli troops responded with tanks and light weapons... The exchange occurred near the Lebanese village of Maroun el-Rass." Associated Press

"There are no reports of IDF casualties, but the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, an international peace-keeping force bolstered following the second Lebanon war last summer, reported that five soldiers in the Lebanese Army were wounded during the exchange of fire.

Lebanese Army officials disputed UNIFIL claims that any soldiers were wounded, and said their forces suffered no casualties". Haaretz

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Some Quick Updates:

Picture shows an Italian soldier (R) from the United Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and a Lebanese officer check the border in Maroun Al Ras village, near the border between Lebanon and Israel, February 8, 2007. (Courtesy of Yahoo!News)

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Related Updates:

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Weapons Truck Updates:

42 comments:

  1. Monsieur9:17 AM

    I feel somewhat patriotic...

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  2. Well, thats a strange situation... Lebanese and Israeli army have a clash, and everybody is happy

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  3. It seems to be a roundabout way of saying that whatever happened on the border, the Israelis didn't provoke it, and that Lebanon is at fault for its troops violating the cease-fire and the border.

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  4. Solomon2,
    I think you're jumping the gun a little here. UN investigators are at the border right now investigating whether the Isreali bulldozer which crossed the 'technical fence' (as a UNIFIL rep. in Lebanon has termed the barrier fence in that area) was on Lebanese territory or Israeli.

    Once the investigation is complete then, we can start throwing accusations over who violated what. In the meantime, illegal Isreali overflights continue.

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  5. Army clashes with the Israeli's for the first time in decades on the frontier and now Hizbullah asking for the truck... :)

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  6. Anonymous10:43 PM

    how is this related!?

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  7. Abu Jaafar11:17 PM

    vaguely related... Hizbllah, the south, war, etc... (its worthy of an update in the context of whats been happening at the border) want me to remove it?

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  8. Janzir11:23 PM

    They want to make the army look good, for when they bring total disaster with their weapons so when it take over and everyone happy!!

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  9. I see I jumped the gun in one sense: while Lebanese troops broke the cease-fire, they did not "violate the border".

    Not only is the issue of Israeli overflights a red herring, but they were authorized in UNSC 1701 - I think we've had that argument before and you simply gave up. If folks like you keep rolling back the clock like this, how can they ever hope to move forward?

    I read that Hezbollah is begging Lebanese authorities to ignore international law and please let them have more of the weapons they're not supposed to have. And if the Lebanese government complies, will those billions of dollars pledged for reconstruction and investment ever materialize? Maybe the West will cough up, but don't you think the Saudis will snap their wallets shut?

    No need to answer Hezbollah right away, is there? Let them ask again. And again. And again.

    Is it not satisfying to see Hezbollah come begging to the Lebanese government, cup in hand? If Siniora doesn't give permission and Hezbollah acts to take the weapons forcibly, UNIFIL may be pre-authorised to respond.

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  10. Solomon2,
    I don't remember having any conversation with you about the overflights, but your arguments wrt to them is totally wrong. Far from being a red herring, the flights serve as an excuse for Hizballah to launch attacks against Israel, and to continue their armed existence. They do both our countries more harm than good.

    Anyway if you don't want to hear it from me check out these quotes found in this article:

    Ha'aretz reports that in a meeting Thursday with top Israeli officials, US diplomats asked that the Israeli Air Force stop its flights into Lebanese airspace

    Over the past few weeks, Israeli Air Force incursions into Lebanon have also been criticized by the United Nations, the European Union and the Lebanese government.

    The Jerusalem Post says…French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said the overflights were "contrary to the spirit" of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which calls for both Israel and Lebanon to respect the UN-delineated border.
    "We consider that these overflights constitute a violation of Lebanese sovereignty," Mattei said at a regular press briefing. "We call on Israel to put an end to these overflights and we call on all partners to refrain from any act that could maintain or increase tension."
    Abdi Noyan Ozkaya, writing the Turkish opinion journal, Turkish Weekly, argues that there are several reasons why overflights actually work against Israel's interests. Mr. Ozakaya argues that by stopping its overflights and by withdrawing from the village of Gajar, it will force the international community to put increasing pressure on Hizbullah.

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  11. (sigh) Look at Paragraph 15. That portion doesn't fall under Chapter 6. As long as Hezbollah is trying to smuggle weapons Israel has not just the right, but the obligation, under UNSC 1701, to try to prevent it. Doing so using aircraft is explicitly permitted and reconnaissance overflights are an essential element of doing so. I suppose that's why Israel announced it was increasing its overflights when more Hezbollah smuggling activity was discovered.

    (Of course, Lebanon has been in formal violation of UNSC 1701 since the moment it was signed, because 1701 called for the immediate return of the "abducted" Israeli soldiers.)

    In all likelihood, Israel would never have signed a Chapter 6 cease-fire without a reconnaissance clause. If Lebanon's negotiators thought they could ban Israeli overflights, they would have stuck it in Pargraph 8.

    Lebanon's politicians were fully aware of this, of course - no one says that they are stupid people. Ever since 1701 has been signed, Lebanese politicians have been trying to hide just how much sovereignty Lebanon yielded. As a Lebanese yourself, you have your own assessment of just how honest your politicians are when they deal with other Lebanese. Don't you think they knew what Lebanese citizens would be willing to believe and disbelieve? Why should they treat you any different when they negotiate with the Israel and the U.N.?

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  12. Save your sigh Solomon, here is the actual resolution and, suprise suprise, nowhere does it say that Isreal can violate Lebanese airspace.

    In any case, Israel is still in violation of a number of UNSC Resolutions (Click me, then Edit>Find:Israel, start counting), whats one more? But you're right, the soldiers should be returned, or should have been returned, immediately.

    As to the dishonesty of politicians...I'm proud to say that we certainly don't have a monopoly on that!

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  13. 1701 doesn't talk about "violating Lebanese airspace" because under Paragraph 15 Israeli overflights aren't necessarily violations. Wake up and smell the coffee. Oh that's right, you can't because Lebanese leaders understood what you'd be willing to believe...

    As for Israel's past violations of UNSC resolutions, real & imagined: when you sign a cease-fire document like this you agree to ignore such things as justifications for aggression, unless they are specifically mentioned in the document. In short, it lets Israel "off the hook" as far as Lebanon is concerned. At the same time, Israel can't use Hezbollah's past attacks as justification to continued military activity - if Lebanon upholds its end of the bargain.

    So we're now back to discussing current events. Why did the L.A. do it? Was it just "theatre", as Michael Totten says? Will the Lebanese government give the truck back to Hezbollah, thus creating a direct violation of 1701? Isn't the best course of action for the Lebanese government to do and say nothing and let Hezbollah keep mewling?

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  14. Alright Solomon2, here is the paragraph you're referring to:
    Decides further that all States shall take the necessary measures to
    prevent, by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or
    aircraft: The sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms...


    Now for some reason you interepret that as meaning that States can use their "flag vessels or aircraft to prevent ect..."

    But in reality, you should understand it to say that nations should prevent the sale or supply of weapons to any Lebanese entity (except the government/army) by their nationals, or from their territory, or through (air/sea) vessels operating under their flag. So the UK prevents British Airways from supplying Hizballah with weapons and so on and so forth.

    As for the current situation, the Minister of Defense has refused to give Hizballah the weapons (the same who was injured in an assassination attempt about 1 year and a half ago).

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  15. Take out the intervening proepositional and conjunctive clauses and you get "States shall take the necessary measures to prevent | using their flag vessels or aircraft -" If Lebanese diplomats thought they could successfully stick in a clear clause restricting overflights they would have.

    Why did the Minister of Defense refuse Hezbollah outright, rather than say nothing?

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  16. Well this whole situation (weapons truck) is a very fishy one. I haven't had much free time to read up and post on it, but there are three aspects of this thing I don't like:

    1. If it was an internal shipment, as is being claimed, then why was Customs involved? If it was simply a matter of illicit materials being moved around then it would have been the ISF/Army alone which would have intervened. If, on the other hand, Customs was tracking a suspicious truck that crossed the border, then it wasn't an internal shipment at all.

    2. Why Hazmieh? There a zillion ways to get to the South (where, according to Hizballah the weapons were destined) from the Bekaa (which border Syria) without going through one of the most heavily secured areas in the country (Ministry of Defense and Presidential Palace are just a stone's throw away). If, on the other hand, the truck was going to Beirut (as the govenrment and security services claim), then that is the quickest way. So the question now becomes, why was Hizballah sending weapons to Beirut? Worrying...but hopefully I'll have time to write a word or two about it this weekend.

    3. The circumstances and the timing. Nobody can deny the timing is highly suspicious! Earlier last week, Syria says it "intercepted" a weapons truck heading to Lebanon (to Tripoli I think), then the Guardian comes out with a story saying a number of pro-gov't parties are training and arming, then the explosives on the Israeli side of the border, the clash between the armies, and finally this. Something is up. As to the circumstances, is it normal for a truck carrying weapons to travel around without some sort of escort? With only the truck driver to ensure it gets to where its going? I don't think so. So maybe Janzir is right (above comments), maybe its something else...but one thing's for sure...something smells fishy!

    Elias el Murr took the "surprise" to Nasrallah with his immediate rejection of Hizballah's demands for the weapons. He did the right thing, if something was up, this was obviously meant to put the government in a situation where Nasrallah could level his hypocritical accusations of "American/Zionist collaboration" at teh government once again in order to precipitate some sort of 'situation'. So its a good thing I find...and if the gov't had intel about an upcoming HA move, then an order to the army to engage Israel, and the using of this engagement as a way to de-monopolize HA's claims of resistance seems to have been a good tactic.

    Well I guess that will be in the post :P

    (As for 1701, I stop paying attention when one has to resort to "taking this out and putting this in..." arguments. But yes, Isreal continues its overflights and Hizballah has maintained 'custody' of the captured soldiers. I think, according to the text, neither of those things is allowed to happen. You disagree. Lets just agree to disagree.)

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  17. I understand the truck broke down, actually.

    Further adding to the "fishy" aspect of the story... Then again, with a minister of defence who is with "March 14", whos father-in-law is the current president, and whose own father is in "March 8", while his uncle is with "March 14"... there is plenty of fish in this turbid sea.

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  18. For some reason the links both Solomon2 and I provided to UNSCR 1701 aren't working. Here are some other ones that might:

    Scroll down for 1701.

    Go to Security Council, click Resolutions, 2006, etc...

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  19. Yes, I think that these actions may have been planned: i.e. it is conceivable that the weapon shipments were 'planned'to be discovered putting the government in a precarious position in which HA can say that the government are violating their own minsiterial statement; giving them one more thing to hold against them and convince their supporters. However, concerning the Hazmieh route, it could have be destined to Da7iye and then going to the south, or simply just to Da7iye... they are afterall secret and it is conceivable that they would not take your 'typical' route to the south. Furthermore, these shipments I think would not have escorts, and also the drivers may be unawares as to what it is they are really ferrying.

    Secondly, the Lebanese Army confrontation, sounds fishy... within the whole context of what is going on that is. Have not the Israeli's transgressed the Blue Line in the last few months and weeks? Anyways, I think this is a good position for the Army to take directly confronting Israeli transgressions. (Btw, Lias el Murr told Hizbullah to let the weapons be a gift to the Army).

    Thirdly, the government and UNIFIL may also be trying to show that UNIFIL can stand up to Israeli aggressions. One can envision a scenario where a UNIFIL rebuff of an Israeli incursion could be staged(?) whereby UNIFIL appears to be a defender of Lebanon, rather than being a defender of Israel.

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  20. abujaafar,

    or it could simply be that hezb instigated the border action, through its infiltration in the army. But the whole thing backfired.

    We're in limbo now, in Lebanon.

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  21. cousin fred11:51 AM

    The Israelis violated the Blue line and our army responded...and its Hizballah's fault?!

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  22. cousin fred,

    Did I use the word "fault"? People are becoming increasingly "partisan" in Lebanon...

    I am just not sure about what exactly happened in the south. How can trust the same media that goes crazy over helium balloons?

    The whole thing does not make sense. The timing of all those events is suspicious.

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  23. cousin Fred11:46 PM

    It's not about partisanship, but rather about fairness ...

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  24. Sorry Cousin,

    But fairness is a two way street; by assuming that I was assigning blame, you were not being "fair" to the point I was making (and to me, I dare to mention), and you introduced emotional discourse into a what was still a logical discussion.

    I only pointed out that, based on the fact that Hezb has very likely "infiltrated the army", and that their little Jamboree in Beirut is petering out, it is possible that they "instigated the border action" to divert attention or futher destabilize their opponents... My suspicions are based on the fact that Nasrallah and Al-Manar have been making threatening sounds against UNIFIL.

    It would have been fair to address the point I made, rather than shoot the messenger, in a "partisan" fashion. All the while keeping in mind that the facts, as we hear them, are provided to us by a largely biased media, as highlited by the saga with the "helium balloons" thingys.

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  25. cousin fred1:16 AM

    No one is shooting the messenger.

    You say: I only pointed out that, based on the fact that Hezb has very likely "infiltrated the army", and that their little Jamboree in Beirut is petering out, it is possible that they "instigated the border action" to divert attention or futher destabilize their opponents...

    This fact you speak off...Please cite your source.

    Units in the army can't do as they wish, even though they might be sympathetic to Hizballah. They definitely are not going to start shooting across the border without being provoked.

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  26. Cousin Fred,

    I will give you the last word on this; I am not sure that I can ever convince you. Others would have understood my point, without needing to ask for me to "Please cite [my] source", because they would have seen with their own eyes during many events how "infiltrated" our army is, from many sides, not least Hezb.

    It is true that, in theory, "Units in the army can't do as they wish", but in practice, many elected to "let the Hajj" decide on whether they want to open roadblocks or not...

    I am convinced that our army is very professional, but there are elements that have escaped control. So I am not sure that "they definitely are not going to start shooting across the border without being provoked" ...

    My main points remain valid; there is a lot happening in the background of all this that we do not know or understand. And the fact is that Hezb's role in Lebanon remains far from benign.

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  27. blacksmith jade, the thought strikes me that you and I may have re-created the thinking by which Israeli and Lebanese negotiators crafted 1701 in the first place: a document which the Israelis could claim one interpretation, but the Lebanese another. It makes me wonder if Lebanese and Israelis sufferred three extra days of cluster-bombing and rockets just so these tricky details could be finalized, therefore enabling Lebanon to claim an extra fig-leaf of dignity while assuring Israelis the minimum security they deemed necessary...

    If you knew then what you know now, bj, what would you have done differently if you had negotiated 1701? Would you have acquiesced to a Chapter 7 resolution, which would please the Israelis but infame Hezbollah against its fellow Lebanese? Would you have insisted on a "no-fly" clause, knowing as you do now that the Israelis would never have accepted it, therefore fighting would continue? Or would you write 1701 precisely as it is now, hoping that, if necessary, a Chapter 7 resolution forcing Hezbollah's disarmament could be quickly passed and implemented once U.N. troops were fully in place, as they are today?

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  28. Anonymous3:02 AM

    poor blacksmith caught up with yet again some silly aounists...this is getting pathetic

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  29. Oh, and to be more precise about the interpretation of 1701:

    1) the construction "prevent...using" cannot be interpreted as a compound verb because all items in a series must serve the same function. The first two, "by their nationals" and "from their territories" are clearly adverb phrases (subtype:prepositional phrases). Therefore the correct interpretation of the phrase "using their flag vessels or aircraft" should also be as an adverb phrase, answering the question how to prevent. (subtype: present participle phrase).

    2) Another possibility suggested was that "using their flag vessels or aircraft" is to be interpreted to as an adjective phrase modifying the words "nationals" or "territories". For that to be the case, the second "or" would have to be omitted.

    3) The last alternative I can think of is to interpret "using their flag vessels or aircraft" as part of a object phrase. However, one would have to attach a preposition like "for" or "to" after the word "aircraft". In which case the paragraph may be grammatically correct, but I don't think anybody could figure out what "prevent, by their nationals or from their territories" means!

    In sum, there doesn't seem to be any way to interpret Paragraph 15 of 1701 to mean what blacksmith jade says it means.

    Conclusion: The diplomats resorted to a complicated grammatical construction to obscure the fact that Israeli overflights are permitted as long as unauthorized arms shipments into Lebanon continue. Both Israel and Lebanon are currently acting in the spirit of this agreement: the Lebanese by not shooting at Israeli planes, and the Israelis by not trumpeting the reasoning and arguments presented here, to spare Lebanese politicians further embarassment.

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  30. Solomon2,

    one key thing about 1701; it places the onus on Lebanon to disarm Hezb, or risk losing the border demarcation that we owe to 1949...

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  31. few comments

    First the blue line is not a border
    the blue line is not the green line of 1949
    the demarcation will be demarcked only through a peace process/

    secondly
    i was reading the Jerusalem Post few days ago, and of course the lebanese soldiers were blamed in the JP article according to the UNIFIL

    however i have been reading an article from the UN news system
    this article doesnt exist in english
    " « De telles violations de la résolution 1701 (2006) mettent en danger le calme fragile qui prévaut au Sud-Liban », a rapporté la porte-parole du Secrétaire général, Michèle Montas, lors de son point de presse quotidien, au siège de l'ONU, à New York.

    « L'échange de tirs a été ouvert en premier par l'armée libanaise, après qu'un bulldozer de l'armée israélienne est passé derrière la barrière technique, apparemment pour enlever les mines de la zone située entre la barrière technique et la Ligne bleue », a affirmé la Force intérimaire des Nations Unies au Liban (FINUL)."
    it means that Blacksmith Jade is right and technically that the lebanese soldiers opened the fire after the israeli bulldozer crossed the blue line and therefore there was israeli violation of that line.
    So as salomon seems to be israeli, we have to forgive him to have a biast point of view due to their local propaganda

    now about the 1701, it is very funny to hear this polemy about the hezbollah's weapens when there are many signals that are showing that our dear current majority is rearming.
    lately the article on the Guardian, few monthes ago the stratford article, the LA times etc... and theses articles have to be related to marwan hamade déclaration last week, he was claiming that some parties of the 14 of march are trying to enter in confrontation with the opposition so we need to work on how to prevent milicia's to appear to be able to disarm the hezbollah in a medium to long term by building a strong army

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  32. Solomon2, I think you were better off simply accepting the wording as one which was meant to be open to several (or maybe just two) interpretations.

    I think we can both agree that there are far simpler ways of saying that overflights are allowed (or not allowed). I don't think there isn't anyway for it to mean what I said it meant, but we seem to be going in circles so I'll just leave you to reread my previous comments as counterarguments (e.g., my comment in which I presented quotes from the US, EU, UN, etc... condemning the overflights as a violation of UNSCR 1701).

    As to what I would have done had I been negotiating 1701 (knowing what I know today), I would have to say nothing. The real opportunity for a resolution of the Hizballah problem was directly after the kidnapping of the soldiers, when, for the first time ever, the Lebanese government condemned Hizballah's actions. The Israelis, in conjunction with the international community could have used this stance, this legitimacy in Isreal's complaints and the illegitimacy of Hizballah's actions by all standards (even Lebanese, because they mounted the action at a time of intense dialogue on their actions and weapons) would have enabled everyone to achieve massive gains against the group. Instead, as always, Isreal abused its legitimacy and turned it to illegitimacy through its ill-planned war which attacked not only Hizballah targets, but also massive infrastructure projects across of the country, thereby handicapping any efforts the Lebanese government could have engaged to free the soldiers or weaken Hizballah politically.

    You can't beat Hizballah militarily. The solution to their existence has to be political, thats why it doesn't matter if 1701 had been passed under Chapter 7. If anything that may have made our lives even worse (not something that concerns you I'm sure, but something that definitely concerns all of us).

    So if I could have done anything, back when, I would have changed the Isreali response to a strategic one, one which could build on the political and popular discontent with Hizballah at the time, instead of creating a situation in which the whole nation was under attack, and Hizballah once again appeared to be its defender against the "evil Zionist entity".

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  33. bj, if you read the article you quoted carefully you'll see that the U.S. objections only referred to Israeli overflights undertaken after the Lebanese government reported Hezbollah arms smuggling, and moreover there was nothing official about it. But while their are accusations are that Israel has violated the spirit of the document - unlikely given my analysis above - in the article you linked to neither the U.S., nor the U.N., nor even the French are claiming that Israel is violating 1701 itself.

    French objections are, quite simply, to be ignored.

    Thank you for answering my questions.

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  34. Solomon2, I don`t see the point to your persistent arguing. The document is at best (for your argument) unclear when it comes to overflights. As to the accepted interpretation, here's a quote from an article from the JPost this Nov.:

    "We have made strong protests to the Israelis regarding these violations. We have asked them to cease these actions, which are in violation of 1701," the United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters...

    So there you go, violation of 1701 itself and not the spirit. The Israelis themselves don't even defend the overflights as being permitted in 1701, they say since Hizballah is smuggling arms in violation of 1701, we'll do overflights in violation of 1701. And even those justifications are arbitrary, according to the same article:

    Pellegrini dismissed Israeli argument that the flights were necessary.
    "They want to see our activities on the ground and at sea. They don't trust us," he said, according to Le Figaro.


    Whatever the case maybe, the man (no longer head of the UNIFIL force due to a previously agreed-upon rotation) certainly got the following point correct (and the one I was trying to make at the beginning of this long long long chain of comments):

    But the head of the French-led U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon said on Friday that the overflights were dangerous...The overflights "could give the Hizbullah an occasion to react," Pellegrini was quoted as saying.

    So as ministers within the Isreali cabinet continue to warn their citizens of an ensuing battle this year, one has to continuously quesiton the purpose of these overflights.

    And look, we haven't even talked about the use of satellite technology, access to which Israel is not lacking, in monitoring the Syrian-Lebanese border. So really, theres no need or justification for overflights for intelligence gathering, as is claimed by the Israeli government.

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  35. Abu Jaafar9:02 PM

    BJ, you are assuming that the Israeli government's policy concerning Lebanon is only limited to weakening Hizbullah. And thus you argue, that had you had your way, the Israelis could have capitalized on the July 12 attacks' negative response given by many Lebanese rather than launching a war on Lebanon. I would say that Israel is not interested in merely a 'Hizbullah Free' Lebanon, but would benefit from an unstable Lebanon and thus its in its interests to mess around indirectly or directly with us.

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  36. bj, now you're quoting articles with teeth. Yes, I checked out the U.N. records and the spokesmen did call the Israeli overflights violations of 1701. So did the Italian commander on the ground.

    However, they did not explain exactly how what part of 1701 was violated by doing so. That's probably because they can't do so without some legal eagle immediately finding this contradiction: Paragraph 15 is very powerful, and does not require the permission of UNIFIL or the Government of Lebanon for States to execute its provisions.

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  37. Solomon2, this argument is just plain silly now. Look I humored you through some nit-picking of the wording of the resolution, and a couple of other things...it was fun...but not anymore.

    At the end of the day, your interpretation would mean that any country, from the Phillipines, to Angola, to Fiji, to Iceland, to whoever else, could whenever they liked fly into Lebanese airspace on the presupposition that Hizballah was rearming. Does that sound rational to you? It doesn't say Isreal or the UN forces assigned to enforce 1701, but everyone. No, it doesn't sound rational to anyone. Just let it go. Theres room enough in there for a nice little discussion like the one we had, but finally the plausible conclusion is the one that I've put forward. Anything else is ridiculous.

    I invite you to put your final words on the subject if you like but I'm done. I think my point is clear.

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  38. Please don't call it "my interpretation". That makes it sound as if I merely offerred an opinion, rather than providing an analysis that stands on its own rather than depending on the person who made it.

    You are partially correct: the interpretation means any country's aircraft could fly into Lebanese airspace on they have reason or evidence to support suspicion (not presupposition) that non-Lebanese government individuals or groups are rearming. It sounds perfectly rational, of course, because this follows logically in the footsteps of UNSC 1559 - which 1701 specifically recalls. Of course, this was one of the demands Israel made during the summer war. Did you really think Hezbollah's weakening bombardments forced Israel to agree to stop overflights?

    As for any assertion that Israeli overflights are some sort of "provocation" for Hizbollah to launch armed attacks: under the U.N. Charter, if a U.N.-authorized regional security arrangement (like UNIFIL) exists, then border violations between member states that are not armed incidents must be referred the UNSC for peaceful resolution (in Lebanon's case, I think Article 52 section 2 is the part that applies). So as long as the Israelis are declaring - which they are - and demonstrating peaceful intent, they get away with the overflights until the SC says otherwise - and as anyone can see, it has not. Moreover, if Hezbollah were to attack Israel at this time, under the rules-of-engagement that could trigger an enforcement action by the U.N., which would lead to a suspension of Lebanon's member privileges in the U.N. (Article 5).

    So Israel doesn't have to invoke P15 of UNSC 1701 as justification for its actions - not yet. However, as far as I can tell, in UNSC 1701 only the provisions in Paragraphs 15 and 6 (which is explicitly linked to 15) are of such a sweeping nature that any State can do whatever "necessary" to enforce their provisions.

    That's because only Paragraphs 15 contains the ominous word "further", meaning beyond the previously stated limits. Those limits are found in the preceding Paragraph 14, which makes clear that it is the Government of Lebanon that is responsible (as Jeha pointed out) for securing Lebanon's borders. By using the phrase Decides further rather than the single word Decides the Security Council is saying that the contents of Paragraph 15 do not depend upon the Government of Lebanon at all.

    Exactly why you characterize "my" interpretation as "silly" and "ridiculous" is revealing: it suggests that you expect the word of a man is law, rather than the text of the law itself.

    That's not how it works in the U.S., and probably not in Israel either, I'd guess. In a U.S. court, one would pay attention to the lawyers' interpretation of the law, not the interpretation of the policeman.

    But that's what the whole battle is about in Lebanon, isn't it? Nasrallah and Aoun say twenty different things you're supposed to believe one week, and maybe the opposite the next; they only admit laws that constrain their opponents, not themselves, and naturally treat reason and logic the same way. Whereas March 14 & company, even if they are as corrupt as some allege, are fighting for the rule OF law, rather than rule BY law; the Dark Age, or the Modern Age.

    Do you see now the difference a preposition can make?

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  39. Peter Pan9:20 AM

    Solomon2...I am awed by your enthusiasm on this topic.

    U.N resolutions...hmm, honestly, come on!!!! The Israelis have not respected one meaningful resolution in the past 50years.

    Now you, the great Solomon2,(why 2 by the way, was Solomon1 taken?) are trying to explain how both sides are to abide by 1701. Especially since we all know that 1701 means nothing anymore right now.

    As for the war and ending the war. The Israelis had their chance to get to Hizballah and they couldn't because they simply failed. They had a month and didn't achieve anything but to destroy everything in Lebanon that had NOTHING to do with Hizballah.

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  40. Follow-up from UN News Centre:

    UNIFIL continues to monitor the situation in its area of operation and will release more details of this and other reported incidents as they become available, the mission said in a statement.

    The incidents followed an exchange of fire between Israeli and Lebanese forces earlier this month when Lebanon violated Security Council resolution 1701
    [emphasis added] that ended last summer’s war between Israel and Hizbollah by opening fire on a bulldozer on the Israeli side of the Blue Lien separating the two countries. Israel then breached the resolution by crossing the Blue Line.

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  41. Thanks for the update Solomon2.

    I take it, it was a reply to this comment way up at the top:

    UN investigators are at the border right now investigating whether the Isreali bulldozer which crossed the 'technical fence'... Once the investigation is complete then, we can start throwing accusations over who violated what. In the meantime, illegal Isreali overflights continue.

    We know how the debate on the 'other' part of that statement went ;)

    By the way, I'd like to invite you to an exchange of blog links. Interested?

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