By KARIM MAKDISI
(Karim Makdisi is Assistant Professor of International Relations in the Dept of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)
"Resolution 1701 clearly envisions that the long-term solution to this conflict rests on the need for disarming "all armed groups" in keeping with Resolution 1559 (previously rejected by Hizbullah), the establishment of a buffer zone free of any "armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government," and a de facto arms embargo on Lebanon except for those authorized by the government itself. In other words, Israel and the US are openly interpreting this resolution as a de facto enforcement mechanism for 1559.
Overall, if the UN is to be judged in terms of its primary mandate, that of ensuring international peace and security via the principle of collective security, then it has quite clearly failed the people of Lebanon, just as it has the people of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. More than anything, Resolution 1701 confirms fears held by many that the UN as a political body has been demoted in the post 9/11 unipolar era to a subsidiary of the US government at the cost of its legitimacy and effectiveness. Lebanon avoided total capitulation in this resolution because of Hizbullah's resistance on the ground and its success in achieving a balance of terror with Israel, not because the UN Security Council was applying the rules of international law in a just manner. This is a dangerous signal that the UN is sending to the world.
In the meantime, those of us living in Lebanon await news of another round of war, as political in-fighting has already begun in Lebanon between the March 14 camp and Hizbullah."