Thursday, December 24, 2009

UN Resolution 1559 & The Axis Of Evil Thugs

UN Resolution 1559 & The Axis Of Evil Thugs
By Elias Bejjani

December 24/09

Apparently the Stalinist Syrian Baathist rulers are not yet able to swallow and digest the bitter fact that their savage and oppressive occupational army was forced to withdraw from neighboring Lebanon in 2005 with disgrace and humiliation.

Going back to 2004, the UN Security Council issued on September 02/04 its first benchmark pro- Lebanon UN resolution 1559, in a bid to put an end to Syria's occupation of its neighboring country, Lebanon, and stop its oppression of the Lebanese people.

The resolution strongly called for the withdrawal of all foreign armies (Syrians and Israelis) from Lebanon and reiterated the council's steadfast support for reclaiming the country's independence, sovereignty, freedoms, and democracy.

Article seven of the resolution stated verbatim: "Declares its support for a free and fair electoral process in Lebanon's upcoming presidential election conducted according to Lebanese constitutional rules devised without foreign interference or influence".

The Syrian president dictator Bachar Al Assad defied the resolution and forced the Lebanese parliament members through terrorism, intimidation and criminal means to amend the country's constitution that limits the president's presence in office for one term only. The parliament succumbed to Assad's threats and extended the presidency term for three more years for the subservient handpicked Lebanese-Syrian president Emile Lahoud.

On the 14th of February, 2005, Lebanon's Sunni Prime Minister Raffic Al Hariri was assassinated when explosives equivalent to around 1000 kg of TNT were detonated as his motorcade drove past the St. George Hotel in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. The investigation into his assassination by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is still ongoing and is currently led by the independent investigator, Daniel Bellemare. In its first two reports, UNIIIC indicated that the Syrian government might be linked to the assassination.

Hariri's killing led to massive political change in Lebanon, including the uprising (intifada) of the Cedar Revolution and the withdrawal of Syrian troops. On The 26th of April, 2005, Syria formally notified the United Nations that it had withdrawn all of its troops, military assets and intelligence apparatus from Lebanon

Syrian rulers taking advantage of the Obama administration's Middle East openness, and of a recent Syrian-Saudi rapprochement, waged an extensive and fierce campaign in the United Nations, Arab countries and Lebanon aiming to annul the UN Resolution that forced them to withdraw from Lebanon, alleging they had implemented all articles related to them. Syria informed the Lebanese government officially of its request.

Lebanon's pro- Hezbollah foreign minister, Ali al-Shami, has informed ambassadors accredited in Lebanon that 1559 is "dead." Well-informed sources said Shami, who was part of the delegation that accompanied President Michel Suleiman to Washington, argued that the Hezbollah arms issue is slated for discussion during all-party talks. Shami stressed that the problem was the ongoing Israeli air, sea and land violations against Lebanon. (Al-Hayat Daily & Naharnet 18/12/09) .

The terrorist Hezbollah's International Relations Officer, Ammar Mousawi, said on 18/12/09 that UN Security Council resolution 1559 is "meaningless." "It is being exploited in an effort to impose a trusteeship on Lebanon," Moussawi believed. "No one has the right to exercise the role of the guardian of Lebanon because the issue of weapons will be discussed in the framework of the defense strategy," he added. (Naharnet, 18/12/ 09)

On 20/12/09 Syria asked for the dismissal of UN Secretary-General's envoy on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559, Terje Roed-Larsen, for allegedly making secret visits to Israel to incite the Jewish state against Damascus and oppose the withdrawal from the northern part of the village of Ghajar.

The Syrian mission's third secretary in New York, Yasar Diab, told the General Assembly's fifth committee on administrative and budgetary affairs that Roed-Larsen had written two reports this year on the implementation of 1559 without making any visits to Beirut. On the other hand, he has visited Israel several times. Diab accused the envoy of implementing a "suspicious personal agenda" that has nothing to do with his mission. He also said that Roed-Larsen is violating the UN Charter by interfering in Lebanese-Syrian affairs such as border demarcation.

Diab reiterated that Damascus has implemented 1559's provisions by withdrawing its troops and intelligence agents from Lebanese territories. He said 1559's remaining articles were a Lebanese issue. The Syrian envoy also criticized the UN for considering Roed-Larsen responsible for the implementation of resolution 1680. The UN General-Secretariat has previously noted that Roed-Larsen's mandate derives not only from 1559 but also from subsequent related resolutions, including 1680 and 1701. Diab finally called for the annulment of a clause in the report on the apportionment of the UN envoy's expenses. The clause invites Roed-Larsen to encourage member states to implement resolution 1680.

In this context the pro-Syrian Lebanese President Michele Suleiman echoed Syria's request to President Obama and to all his top administration officials during an official visit to the United States earlier this month. Suleiman alleged that Hezbollah is a resistance party and not a terrorist organization and that its members are Lebanese and hold portfolios in the new Hariri national unity government. He alleged too that the only article of the UN resolution 1559 that is not yet implemented addresses Hezbollah's weaponry and that he personally is leading a national comprehensive dialogue to tackle this matter.
Reliable US reports stated that Obama's administration did not see eye to eye with Suleiman's requests, while president Obama stressed the importance of the implementation of all UN resolutions related to Lebanon, including 1559 and 17701.

Dr Walid Phares, advisor to the US House Caucus on Counter Terrorism called Syria and Lebanon's request to "cancel" Security Council resolution 1559 as a move against international law and traditions. Their rhetoric aims at intimidating the Lebanese politicians and people. He stated that legally no Government, including permanent members of the Security Council can annul a Security Council Resolution. Only that UN body has the right to do so, but it has never annulled any resolutions since the launching of the UN. Phares in his Christmas and New Year message to the Lebanese people assured them that the free world and the Lebanese Diaspora supports strongly their cause of freedom and assured them that a better future awaits them. He urged them to produce new types of efficient politicians or change the behavior of the current ones due to the fact that these politicians have committed too many strategic mistakes since 2005, the worst being legitimizing Hezbollah's weapons in the new Hariri Government's ministerial statement."

Lebanese International Law Professor Chafic Al-Masri has said that neither Lebanon nor any other country whether a permanent or a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has the right to delete international resolutions, the Al-Rai Kuwaiti newspaper reported Saturday. "The UNSC can only impose, remind of, or neglect the resolutions and it is the only side that has the jurisdictions to modify UN resolutions," he said. "Lebanon can demand the UNSC that the item on Hezbollah arms in UN resolution 1559 is resolved by the Lebanese themselves but it cannot request deleting it," he added. "UN resolution 1701 stated in its introduction that it is based on all previous resolutions concerning Lebanon including resolution 1559. Thus, it is illogical that Lebanon holds to all items of resolution 1701 and asks for deleting part of resolution 1559 simultaneously," he added. The pan-Arab Ash-Shaq Al-Awsat quoted a ministerial source in an interview published Saturday that he doubts the existence of a possibility to delete resolution 1559, but noted that some of its items were considered as practically annulled UN resolution 1559 which was issued by UNSC in 2004 demanded the withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon and the removal of militias' arms in Lebanon including those of Hezbollah and Palestinians outside the camps. UN resolution 1701 which was issued in 2006 to end the July war between Hezbollah and Israel demanded ending all military presence south of the Litani River in south Lebanon and respecting the blue line on behalf of Lebanon and Israel. (19/12/09, Source: Al Rai)

Nicole Shampaine, US Director of the Department of State's Near East Affairs Bureau Office for Egypt and the Levant, stressed on 19/12/09 that Washington strongly supports the full implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions related to Lebanon, including resolutions 1559 and 1701. In an interview with al-Rai Kuwaiti daily, Shampaine said that the US will continue to offer strong support for the institutions of the Lebanese state, including the Lebanese army. The US diplomat stressed that a strong, prosperous, and democratic Lebanon was in the interest of the region and the international community.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero has said on 20/12/09 that any UN Security Council resolution remains valid as long as the world body hasn't adopted another resolution to annul it. Valero told al-Balad daily in remarks published on Sunday that Syria and Lebanon should agree on implementing the articles of Security Council resolution 1559.

Valero's comment came in response to Syria's request to annul 1559. Another source told the newspaper that a resolution cannot be annulled without the consensus of the major powers that have Security Council seats. However, Lebanese diplomatic sources told Ad-Diyar daily that 1559 does not exist anymore.

Meanwhile UN resolution 1559 that was issued by the Security Council on September 02/04 is comprised of 12 articles as shown below. Only article five was fulfilled after the election of General Michel Suleiman as president:
1-"Reiterating its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally territorially recognized borders,
2-"Noting the determination of Lebanon to ensure the withdrawal of all non-Lebanese forces from Lebanon,
3-"Gravely concerned at the continued presence of armed militias in Lebanon, which prevent the Lebanese government from exercising its full sovereignty over all Lebanese territory,
4-"Reaffirming the importance of the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory,
5-"Mindful of the upcoming Lebanese presidential elections and underlining the importance of free and fair elections according to Lebanese constitutional rules devised without foreign interference or influence,
6- Reaffirms its call for the strict respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon throughout Lebanon;
7- Calls upon all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon;
8- Calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias;
9- Supports the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory;
10- Declares its support for a free and fair electoral process in Lebanon's upcoming presidential election conducted according to Lebanese constitutional rules devised without foreign interference or influence;
11- Calls upon all parties concerned to cooperate fully and urgently with the Security Council for the full implementation of this and all relevant resolutions concerning the restoration of the territorial integrity, full sovereignty, and political independence of Lebanon;
12-Requests that the Secretary-General report to the Security Council within thirty days on the implementation by the parties of this resolution and decides to remain actively seized of this matter."

The most important articles of the resolution have not been implemented yet as shown below:

The militias (Hezbollah, Amal Movement, SSNP Party (Syrian Social Nationalist Party), Baath Party, and several Palestinian armed factions) have not been dismantled or disarmed.

The Israelis still occupy the Shabaa farms, Ghajar village and a few hills in south Lebanon.

The Syrian army did not complete its withdrawal and still holds on to four military bases under the camouflage of Palestinian militias, one near the capital Beirut (Naeme) and three in the Bekaa valley adjacent to its borders (Helwa, Kosaea, Sultan Yacoub) .

The Lebanese government does not have control of or authority in many regions of the country, including 13 Palestinian refugee camps and Hezbollah's mini state.

The Syrian-Lebanese borders have not yet been demarcated and Syria still officially and openly facilitates the transfer of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah.

We call on the USA to take into consideration that Lebanon is practically still an occupied country and that the terrorist Hezbollah, Syria's and Iran's militant proxy, totally controls the Lebanese government, as well as most of the country's civil and armed institutions.

We call on the Obama administration to maintain the USA's tough anti -terrorism stance and to continue to strongly honor and support the UN resolutions related to Lebanon until Lebanon becomes completely free from armed militias, Syrian occupation and terrorism organizations, and to fully abide by the articles of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act (SALSRA) that the Congress passed into law on December 12, 2003.

This act calls for the end of Syrian support for terrorism, the end of Syria's presence in Lebanon, to stop Syria's development of WMDs, to cease Syria's illegal importation of Iraqi oil and to end illegal shipments of military items to anti-US forces in Iraq.

*Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
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