|UN, MAGIC WAND, AND MIDEAST WAR
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Marianna Belenkaya)
The UN Security Council is working on a resolution to end the Israeli-Hizbollah
confrontation, but its efforts have come up against a wall of technical
details and requirements put up by Israel and Lebanon.
In any event, can a compromise solution, even if the Council finds one,
stabilize the situation in the Middle East and preclude a repetition of
the massacre on the Lebanese-Israeli border?
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that Israel’s enemy is not
Hizbollah but Iran, which is using the radical movement as its agent.
Similar statements have also been made regarding Syria.
Israeli officials said the current military operation should change the
situation in the Middle East, and Washington shares this opinion. In its
view, the Israeli operation should weaken Hizbollah’s influence in
Lebanon and deliver a heavy blow to Tehran’s standing in the region.
The legality of and reasoning behind such statements may be questionable,
but the current crisis has apparently exceeded the boundaries of the
Israeli-Hizbollah confrontation and calls for taking into account the
situation in the whole of the Middle East. In fact, the problem cannot be
resolved without the contribution of Syria and Iran.
So far, none of the UN draft resolutions have addressed the regional
element of the conflict. The Security Council has been too busy trying to
deal with Israeli and Lebanese complaints.
The situation looks hopeless, since the U.S.-French resolution does not
suit either side in the conflict, especially Lebanon.
“A draft that is not suitable to Lebanon cannot be adopted, because it
would only prolong the conflict and the violence,” said Vitaly Churkin,
Russia’s ambassador to the UN.
Indeed, it makes no sense to adopt a clearly worthless resolution.
The Russian diplomat had called on Lebanon to read the resolution
carefully, since it contains many provisions that satisfy Lebanon’s
demands, including a call for a ceasefire. Russia adjusted its stance when
it saw that Beirut would not accept the resolution.
“The resolution provides for initiating a political process that will
result in the withdrawal of Israeli troops, but one must carefully analyze
it to see this,” Churkin said in response to Lebanese arguments.
“Besides, the resolution does not offer a 100% guarantee that this will
However, revising the resolution may provoke the complaints of the Israeli
government. And who can guarantee that this or any other resolution of the
UN Security Council will be implemented in full? According to Churkin,
diplomats wish they had a magic wand to please both sides.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz writes that Israelis are disappointed the
draft resolution does not provide for the establishment and deployment of
a multinational force in the conflict zone. The current draft says merely
that a second resolution will be proposed at some later date to authorize
deployment of such a force. This, said a senior government source, seems
to indicate that “there won’t be an international force, because there
will never be an agreement on it.”
“If they’re spitting blood over a declarative resolution [like the
current one], just imagine what will happen when they get to a practical
resolution,” he said. [quoted from Haaretz]
Indeed, there are no reasons to believe that the multinational force to be
deployed in a buffer zone between Lebanon and Israel will be formed soon,
and Israel refuses to pull out from Lebanon before it is.
In this complicated situation, the diplomats’ “magic wand” could be
Beirut’s decision to deploy a 15,000-strong governmental force in the
zone if the sides cease hostilities and Israel pulls out from southern
Lebanon. Russia believes this could help resolve the conflict.
The Israeli prime minister said it was an interesting move that should be
considered. Everything, however, hinges on its implementation.
Can Israel trust the Lebanese military to replace Hizbollah? What could
their objective be? Is the Shiite movement really prepared to withdraw its
militants from southern Lebanon? And will the multinational force help the
>From 1949 to 1969, Beirut honored a truce agreement with Israel. But
this was before a civil war seriously weakened the Lebanese government,
and before Hizbollah and other current international realities.
Will the UN resolution be effective, or will it follow in the wake of all
other finely worded resolutions on the Middle East, the majority of which
remained on paper while the situation became explosive again?
The UN Security Council has no patience for philosophizing about the
future of the Middle East. Diplomats are working hard to stop the