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The PRIMER Blog

The Absurdity of All This Discussion

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
August 17, 2006

"The resolution is clear that Hizbullah needs to be removed from the border area, embargoed and dismantled," the official said. "If the resolution is not implemented, we will have to take action to prevent the rearming of Hizbullah. I don't think backtracking will serve any useful purpose. There has to be pressure on Hizbullah to disarm or there will have to be another round."(1)

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is expected to raise the issue when she meets in New York on Wednesday with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The issue of disarmament is not on the agenda, senior Hizbullah official Hassan Fadlallah said on Wednesday, jeopardizing the fragile cease-fire in the region. The UN cease-fire resolution clearly states that the area south of the Litani river must be demilitarized.

According to Fadlallah, who spoke with al-Jazeera, Hizbullah will not evacuate its operatives from southern Lebanon since they are the ones who populate the region. "Any such withdrawal means the evacuation of southern Lebanon," he said.

Annan angered Israeli officials when he told Channel 2 on Tuesday that "dismantling Hizbullah is not the direct mandate of the UN," which could only help Lebanon disarm the organization.

The UN has not received any formal offers of troops for UNIFIL, although France, Italy, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia have indicated they would make significant contributions. A dozen other countries have also expressed a willingness to help.(1)

Lots of talk-Israel spends an amazing amount of effort explaining, correcting, teaching everyone about its position relative to UN 1701. The strategy seems to be to make sure we are perfectly clear what the resolution says and we should also be clear who has what responsibilities to make this resolution work. Each Israeli speaker puts forth a great deal of effort to ensure that we understand not only the intent of the resolution but that we understand each paragraph. In addition, we're expending so much energy on the topic of Olmert and gang's resignation(s). The angst of it all.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese government has cut a deal with Hizzbollah-they do not have to disarm and in the south as long as they do not publicly display their arms it is OK to have them. What a sound strategy-mandate that their arms be hidden, out of view-so, hide them in the bunkers, in civilians homes, under baby cribs and in mosques. Yes, by the way, this does meet the resolution's criteria-Israel does not have a leg to stand on-we are being goaded into starting the war again. I direct your attention to OP3 of the resolution:...so that there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of Lebanon.(2) Furthermore in OP 8 additional permissions are granted. The language clearly states that if permission is granted by Lebanon, Hizzbollah can have arms and this is precisely what has occurred.

While the officials spent the last 36 hours talking, explaining and teaching, convoys of arms and supplies have left Syria, actually tracked by Israel and allowed to arrive at their destinations. Hizzbolah fighters/terrorists as far as I am concerned, have hidden among the returning civilians and are taking up positions among the civilians. Again, please understand the resolution allows this to happen, given a particular interpretation. So, Hizzbollah re-arms, gains more rockets and missiles of death, imports fresh new soldiers and Israel keeps on explaining.

Let me take you back to the beginning of this piece-note that Hizzbollah does not mince words: they will not disarm, period! No explanation, no need to teach us what was just said-we understand completely.

If the preceding is not an absurdity I do not know what is. In Israel-the TV news and talk shows are spending their time explaining, teaching and assisting us simple civilians rationalize the events of the past month. We are discussing the incorrect concepts and continuing to lose the PR war that is as critical, in some ways, as is the military war. Hizzbollah, yesterday, made public that they were making their men and money available to the civilian populations in Lebanon to help them re-build their homes and lives-homes and lives destroyed by the occupier, evil Israelis. The international news and Arab news have made an enormous play on this story. For me this is only another tactic. Of course they want to re-build civilian populations-they need to hide among them, store arms and missiles among them. How can any thoughtful person believe that they truly, in a western manner of conscious, that they care about these civilians when they use them as shields and know they will be killed? This demonstrates human love and care? You really find legitimate the excuse Hizzbollah uses when they murder their own citizens and other Arabs when their missiles land incorrectly among these populations? The excuse is that they are shahids-interview the relatives of these murdered individuals, you will discover the dead did not ask to become a martyr.

What should we be concentrating on? We do not have the luxury of playing the blame game and engaging in committee work. Our enemy is reloading, repositioning and developing a new battle plan-we must be doing the same. Never mind fault, identify the mistakes made, take immediate action to correct them. Develop another set of strategies to take out the enemy in order to regain the air of deterrence, one of our best offensive weapons, that has been decimated this past month.

Now for as important strategy as developing a battle plan: take on the conventional wisdom of the Geneva Convention and application of it to what is truly an asymmetrical war. I suggest the following: international countries across the political and ideological spectrum are trumpeting the Geneva Convention accords in a manner that supports their political and PR positions.

The Geneva Conventions consist of treaties formulated in Geneva, Switzerland that set the standards of international law for humanitarian concerns. The conventions, their agreements and two added protocols are as follows: First Geneva Convention (1864): Treatment of battlefield casualties and creation of International Red Cross Second Geneva Convention (1906): Extended the principles from the first convention to apply also to war at sea.

Third Geneva Convention (1929): Treatment of Prisoner of war.

Fourth Geneva Convention (1949): Treatment relating to the protection of civilians during times of war "in the hands" of an enemy and under any occupation by a foreign power.

Protocol I ( 1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts Protocol II (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts.(3)

All of the preceding conventions occurred after the horror of war had once again dealt its misery upon human beings. One can notice over time that people attempted to make war less painful and less grotesque by attempting to get the world community to adopt more humane behavior and actions specific to the title of each convention.

Sovereign countries voted to participate or not follow these rules. It is time for an appendix. Today we have a sovereign country, Israel, agreeing to follow and apply the rules of war. However, we are not fighting another sovereign country-we are fighting a terrorist militia. They are not beholden to any war agreements-they do not have to and certainly have demonstrated that they could care less about them. This asymmetrical application of war rules has caused and will continue to cause Israel and the West defeat. Furthermore, a new definition, during time of war, of who is a civilian and/or combatant, what are their responsibilities and what the new rules of engagement are to be-all of this must be re-defined immediately. Israel develops war plans based upon rules of war, Hizzbollh and Iran do not follow any such rules and develop plans accordingly. Time to shift the equation. In the absence of taking on this difficult but mandatory task, our war plans, strategies and ability to defeat this new enemy may mean the destruction of our way of life. Trust me, Hizzbollah, Iran and all of the other fascist Islamists are counting on our inability to understand this simple principle. The clock is ticking!

End Notes

1. Hizbullah: Disarmament not on agenda, August. 16,2006
2.UNSC Resolution 1701, August 2006
3.Morris, GS Don, Understanding The Fourth Geneva Convention



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