Resolution 1701, a weapon in the hands of Lebanon

Sunday 19/03/2017
Who will fill the seats? A view of the Lebanese parliament
in Beirut. (AFP)

In the summer of 2006, Lebanon had no choice but to accept UN Security Council Resolution 1701. That said, the resolution put an end to hostilities at a certain stage and it was enough to stop Israeli aggression on Lebanese soil, which had aimed to destroy part of the country’s infrastruc­ture.

Because it concerned all Leba­nese borders, the resolution laid the foundations for fortifying the country. It also laid the foundation for another war.

Hezbollah, the force behind the destructive 2006 war, had two choices: Either take advantage of Resolution 1701 to further secure Lebanon or leave the country open to Iran as it had been previously left open to the Syrian regime, which had used Palestinians and others to rip apart Lebanese society and gain control of the country.

What is different at this stage is that Iran was using Hezbollah to achieve the same goals pursued by Syria. At that time, the Syrian re­gime patiently manoeuvred until it had established a military presence in the country.

With Resolution 1701, Hezbollah cried victory. Israel did not object to that because what Hezbollah was celebrating was its victory over Lebanon. Hezbollah wanted to prove that it had filled the security gap left by the withdrawal of Syrian troops following Rafik Hariri’s as­sassination in February 2005.

The street demonstrations of March 14th, 2005, forced the demise of the Syrian-controlled Lebanese government. Hezbollah seized the chance to implement its project of turning Lebanon into an Iranian vassal.

Hezbollah wanted a victory over Lebanon. This is why it did not object to “a single word in Reso­lution 1701”, to use Saad Hariri’s phrase, not even to the length of the Lebanese-Syrian border. The 2006 war was an essential stage in Hezbollah’s programme, which was intimately connected to Iran’s expansionist project.

That project was reborn follow­ing the 2003 war in Iraq. Through the Americans, Iran scored a tre­mendous victory over Iraq and as its own cronies claimed power.

Recent provocations targeting UN forces in southern Lebanon should not be taken lightly. Resolution 1701 cannot be any clearer regard­ing the presence of weapons in southern Lebanon. It recognises only the legitimate Lebanese armed forces. It seems, however, that Iran has its own interpretation of Reso­lution 1701.

Iran and Syria had refused border delineation between Lebanon and Syria. They also opposed the presence of international forces along the border. So, Hezbollah’s acceptance of Resolution 1701 in 2006 must have been temporary, just for the purposes of a transi­tion stage. Now, the party could get back to its plans of laying its hands on Lebanon.

It is within this framework that the 2006 occupation of Beirut and the May 2008 raids on Beirut and Mount Lebanon can be understood. The 2006 sit-ins aimed at harming the country’s economy while the 2008 attacks aimed at terrorising the Sunnis and the Druze once an appropriate Christian cover was found for Iran’s project in Lebanon.

Given current political tensions in Lebanon, it would not be harm­ful to delay for a month or two parliamentary elections expected in May. These elections can take place in October or November. However, the new election law is very important. It is very important that it be fair in deed and not just tailor-made to Hezbollah’s wishes and projects.

It is important that the par­liamentary elections take place, just as it was important that the presidential elections took place even though it was difficult to predict if the compromise reached at the time could withstand Iranian pressures.

Even more important than the elections are two things. First, it is crucial that Hezbollah does not impose an election law that gives it control of the parliament and thus achieve in 2017 what it failed to achieve in 2009 thanks to Saad Hariri’s counteractions.

Second, it is no less crucial that Resolution 1701 remains the legitimising reference in the hands of the institutions of the Lebanese republic and not in the hands of a party whose single purpose is to enslave Lebanon to Iranian inter­ests. In a nutshell, Resolution 1701 must remain a weapon in the hands of Lebanon.

Lebanese citizens must not for­get the events of March 14th, 2005. They were an overwhelming popu­lar refusal of Hezbollah Secretary- General Hassan Nasrallah’s, “Thank you, Syria” speech of March 8th. The Lebanese must keep in mind that the world’s attention is fo­cused on Syria, thus making events in Lebanon just a small detail in the region.

Lebanon’s only protection resides in legal legitimacy and its only international cover is Resolu­tion 1701. Anything else is pure fantasy such as the Palestinians’ liberation will come from southern Lebanon. Anything else will lead to falling into Iran’s Lebanese trap. In the Iranian project, it is irrel­evant that Lebanon and its citizens become fuel in Iran’s expansionist wars for the greater glory of the mullahs’ empire.