Updated: Jun 8, 2018
To some, the 12th of July 2006 may seem
like a long time ago. Let me assure you,
using any reasonable measure of time, that
this date IS recent history. The following
research and subsequent article was developed
during July, August & September of 2006. I
am just getting around to placing this detail
on the web.
Lebanese - Israeli Conflict, Summer 2006
I am not the first to make this statement; I will not be the last. I aim to add my own voice to the growing numbers that have already made their position known. This senseless loss of life that continues in the "Middle East", each loss, meaning each and every loss of human life, regardless of age, sex, race, language or religion, is, in fact, an infinite loss.
For us in the West, particularly in "North America", many of us are confused and frustrated over what is happening on the banks of what "should be" a very beautiful, garden spot of the universe. In fact, observations through the wonders of modern technology regarding the quality of reporters from the World's NEWS agencies quickly demonstrate most of them are moocows. In my opinion, these moocows do not add constructively to the situation, their reporting continues to frustrate legitimate organizations, and does not assist in driving towards workable (and clearly obtainable) goals.
So let's be frank here, civil society is clearly asking for 1) a cessation of hostilities and 2) a comprehensive and final cease-fire that will bring ever-lasting peace and tranquility to the region. A "cessation of hostilities" means that, if you are in possession of a weapon of any kind, stop using this weapon. I don't care if it's a stick, rock, F-16, homemade RPG, rocket, missile, remote controlled drone or whatever. Stop using the weapon. Stop.
The cessation of hostilities will now create a space to address the dire humanitarian needs on all sides. Really folks, this isn't too difficult to grasp. It is hugely, incredibly, nearly impossible to provide even the most basic of humanitarian assistance in a hostile environment. So if you were thinking along the lines of, well, the UN (or others) can just get in there, dig people out from under leveled buildings, provide food, clothing and shelter (and hence security) without a cessation of hostilities, might I suggest that you have your head examined by a qualified physician? Attempting to deliver relief supplies while hostilities are happening gets you killed. Bullets, grenades and missiles do not; I repeat, do not magically go around, bounce off or leave you unscathed because of your "blue helmet"; "blue helmet" meaning the United Nations (UN). And for that matter, even the smartest of "smart weapons" are indiscriminate between regular forces, irregular forces and civilians. I don't want to get too far ahead here except to foreshadow that the cessation of hostilities also provides space and time for diplomacy to work. The process leads to an understanding of the issues, from all sides, a political (meaning non-military) solution to the problems, a formal cease-fire, reconciliation, ever-lasting peace and tranquility.
The ongoing hostilities and escalation did not begin on the 12th of July 2006. I need to make this blanket statement because, well, it's true, and, so I can focus on the recent events and provide an equitable solution, not only to resolve this incident, but any future incident of like or similar caliber. As we are all so painfully aware, Israel and Lebanon have had difficulties living in peace and tranquility for many years. Emerging out of WWII, key nation states established the UN to help prevent the devastating effects of war, promote peace and prosperity and an international vehicle for conflict resolution and other grievances.
Because of disruptions to international peace and tranquility in the Middle East, one of the things the UN did was establish a "blue helmet" presence in the south of Lebanon. This organization is named the UN Interim Force in Lebanon and was created in 1978 by the UN Security Council (resolution 425). UNIFIL was to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore the international peace and security, and help the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area. The internationally mandated force maintains an informative website concerning their activities and a nice fact sheet that provides background and current activities. Suffice it to say, though this will likely chance in the very near future, UNIFIL is currently comprised of 1,990 troops, assisted by some 50 military observers of UNTSO; and supported by 102 international civilian personnel and 306 local civilian staff. Contributors of the military personnel are from China, France, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Ukraine.
If you are like most people, who did not know about the existence of UNIFIL, you are likely scratching your head and asking why, why, why. Why didn't UNIFIL stop this most recent escalation? Why this, why that? So the first thing you need to do is understand the mandate of UNIFIL and then do us all a favor and spend some time reviewing the UNIFIL website and probably the fact sheet. I will get you started; the mandate of UNIFIL is spelled out by the UN Security Council from resolutions 425 and 426 and can be summarized as follows:
Confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon;
Restore international peace and security;
Assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area
Your job in life is easy; UNIFIL's job is not. There are active discussions within the UN Security Council that may lead to a change for UNIFIL; we'll need to hold on tight to see what happens. As of this writing, UNIFIL's mandate, typically extended in 6-month increments had been extended 30 days to 31 August 2006. A review of the UNIFIL reporting periods clearly documents a number of "blue line" transgressions since the confirmation of the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon in 2000. The "blue line" is the generally accepted boarder between Israel and Lebanon, it's not perfect but it is functional when it comes to observing transgressions by shepherds, IDF warplanes, Hezbollah rockets, bulldozers and the like (you get the picture).
Though I am sure there were independent (and not so independent) reporters on the ground, in and around the area on the morning of 12 July 2006, I will be using UNIFIL's detailed report (S/2006/560) in my analysis as well as other documents submitted to the UN by the parties involved and others. As the report goes, at approximately 9:00am local time Hezbollah launched several rockets from Lebanese territory, across the "blue line" towards Israel Defense Forces (IDF) near the coast and the Israeli town of Zarit. In parallel, Hezbollah fighters crossed the "blue line" into Israel, attacking an IDF patrol, capturing 2, killing 3 and wounding 2 others. These captured IDF soldiers were taken into Lebanon. In the afternoon of 12 July 2006, Lebanon requested that UNIFIL broker a cease-fire. The uninterrupted hostilities have continued and have escalated ever since; feel free to read the report for more details.
We get so caught up in who started this or they did that or this, we have simply lost sight of the mechanics for resolving conflicts such as this one. Furthermore the parties involved obfuscate the facts and hide behind, what they must think is sufficient justification for this senselessness, but in reality are thinly veiled positions that simply do not stand under closer scrutiny. To put an end to this tragic event, in fact the entire "situation in the Middle East", we need to stop. We need a cessation of hostilities that will provide a space for diplomacy and a political solution; and, so that you and I can better understand what has been happening.
So since it's been well over 25 days since this latest crisis began, it is reasonable to demand, where is the obvious Resolution from the UN Security Council? Where is the call for at least a cessation of hostilities? Where is the strong language from the UN Security Council condemning these events? Where is the Resolution from the UN Security Council that states that the current conditions are unacceptable, therefore, ceasefire? Where is the action from the UN Security Council? Many, many, many folks have noticed the UN Security Council's silence in this regard; I'm just another citizen that has also taken note.
I simply do not accept that the delay in action is primarily from the difficulty in negotiations in reaching a settlement, or a more comprehensive ceasefire. This inaction has lead to a perpetual escalation, the deaths of many innocent civilians, destruction of civilian infrastructure, environmental issues from an oil spill and the continued disenfranchisement, disillusionment of the people and the endangerment of peace and security.
It is clear, there is no room for mistake on this issue, the Lebanese Government called for UNIFIL to assist with brokering a ceasefire (a cessation of hostilities). The Lebanese Government followed up the very next day in New York, at the UN, stating specifically that their government did not endorse the [Hezbollah] actions and was willing to negotiate through the UN and third parties.
A scary number of you are of the position that Hezbollah deserves everything they get from the Israelis. Or think that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. These are probably the same people, accepting as a given, the deaths of innocent civilians during war. Jesus! A large number of you will not be swayed by the fact that purposefully targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure is wrong, that labeling Hezbollah a terrorist group is laughable. So let me be the first to tell you that purposefully targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure IS wrong, even during times of conflict. Characterizing Hezbollah as a terrorist group meets the political end of the US elite and Israeli aggression. Furthermore, Hezbollah HAS been legitimately elected, democratically, to the Lebanese government; they also provide social services like schools and hospitals in the southern portion of Lebanon.
I can still hear the "but, but, but," out there like: but they receive military support (and other aid) from Syria and Iran. To put it back to you, but, but, but the US provides military support (and other aid) to Israel (more on this later as well). So let me begin to break this down for you, you believe that Syria and Iran are our enemies because some elite government official told you to believe this nonsense, because the corporate elite are making profit by selling arms to Israel at your expense, using your hard earned income. We (meaning you and me) have so many more things in common than you have with the government and corporate elite. The real problem is that you continue to accept and be spoon-fed this line of bull, because let me be the first to tell you, the government and corporate elite are not on your side. The government and corporate elite have their best interests in mind, not yours.Lets begin to take a look at the Israeli justification (S/2006/515), which they submitted to the UN Secretary-General and the UN Security Council on the 12th of July:
"Israel thus reserves the right to act in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations and exercise its right of self-defence when an armed attack is launched against a Member of the United Nations. The State of Israel will take the appropriate actions to secure the release of the kidnapped soldiers and bring an end to the shelling that terrorizes our citizens."
I invite you to read the entire letter; even for slow readers such as myself it takes just a few moments. The first question you should have in mind is, what is Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations?
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Maybe the first thing to note about the Charter of the UN, just from Article 51, is its plain, easily understood language. In fact reading the entire Charter would take less than an hour of your time. Probably the second thing of note is the specific mentioning of the, "inherent right of individual or collective self-defence." No one is denying this inherent right to anyone, including Israel. Article 51 also has a requirement; "Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council". Thus far we have Israel's claim of self-defence because of an armed attack and the requirement to report the measures taken in the exercise of this right, immediately to the Security Council.
We can bicker endlessly about weather or not Israel fulfilled the reporting requirement. I have read and re-read the statement and I simply do not agree that Israel has articulated the measures taken in the exercise of the right of self-defence. I'm not trying to be a stickler here. I simply do not agree that Israel's own statement, "The State of Israel will take the appropriate actions…" meets the requirements of Article 51 because appropriate actions does not explain the measures taken. We are in a circle here, what measures will you take? I will take appropriate action. And what measures are those? It will be the appropriate action. This is why bickering endlessly on this point is futile as it gets us nowhere.
What seems more important here from Article 51 is that action can continue to happen until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Meaning several things, first let's assume that the Security Council has not taken the necessary measures. With an armed attack, self-defence can be claimed and continue until the Security Council has taken the necessary measures that maintains the international peace and security. Ok, so let's assume that the Security Council has already taken the necessary measures, but there is no international peace or security, then self-defence can again continue until the Security Council has taken the necessary measures to maintain the international peace and security. And finally let's assume that the Security Council has taken the necessary measures and there is international peace and security, then in my estimation you can't continue to claim self-defence.
Israel's position is the maximum; they will continue standing on the self-defence of Article 51 until the Security Council has taken the necessary measures that maintain the international peace and security. Who determines when this condition is met? What are the criteria for meeting this condition? It's certainly not me and it's certainly not you as well. Someone might say, but the consensus of the international community. Really? The international community with few exception, is outraged, see the evidence attached. What Israel would like us to buy into here is that you cut out Article 51, stick it in your pocket (you'll need it a little later on), and ignore the remainder of the Charter of the UN.
There is much more to the Charter of the UN, much more that speaks to the Charter's purposes and principles. To think even for a moment that Article 51 is the "anchor" of the UN Charter caves into the Israel's dysfunctional thinking. Not only do Article 1 and Article 2 clearly and emphatically demonstrate that Israel's actions are wrong, wrong, wrong; the very Preamble itself damages their position irrevocably.
WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
* to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
* to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
* to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
* to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
AND FOR THESE ENDS
* to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
* to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
* to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
* to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,
HAVE RESOLVED TO COMBINE OUR EFFORTS TO ACCOMPLISH THESE AIMS
Accordingly, our respective Governments, through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco, who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations.
The Purposes of the United Nations are:
To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.
The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.
The beginning statement of Article 2 is an important link between the "Purposes" stated in Article 1 and the "Principles" of Article 2.
Article 2 clearly states that "All Members", meaning if you are a member (Israel 11 May 1949, Lebanon 24 Oct. 1945), shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. The statement says shall and not some weasel word, for instance: could or may. Shall is a diplomatic way of saying you will, you must, there is an obligation. There is no wiggle room in this statement. The way "Members" will settle disputes will be by peaceful means, and on top of that "Members" will not cause the disruption of the international peace, security and justice in that pursuit.
If the previous "Principle" wasn't damning enough, let's look at the very next "Principle". All "Members", and again we see the diplomatic use of "shall", refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the, 1) territorial integrity, or 2) political independence; of any state, or 3) in any other manner inconsistent with the "Purposes" of the United Nations. Refrain means "avoid doing" if you have not begun, "cease" if you are currently engaged in the behavour, or "renounce" if actively promulgating, or in any other manner (and this is the kicker) inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
The "Purposes" of the United Nations is to maintain international peace, develop friendly relations and to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character. The Israeli's position becomes farcical at this point, but wait, there's more. Forwarding to Chapter VI of the Charter of the UN, Article 33 required different action than what Israel unilaterally decided to take:
PACIFIC SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.
The very title of Chapter VI of the Charter of the UN should draw your attention; it is a recurring theme throughout the entire Charter. Pacific, means peaceful, the Chapter (and a significant portion of the Charter) speaks about resolving issues peacefully. So let's return to the 12th of July when Lebanon (or Hezbollah if you prefer) began an armed attack on Israel.Israel has every right to defend itself, this is not in contention, but at what point in that self-defence, when it's continuance was likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security the parties "shall" seek a peaceful resolution? At what point should the parties have changed course? Good question, I'm sure some would say immediately, others would say the conflict has not yet endangered the maintenance of international peace and security and should therefore continue. Those folks that lean to the later should review my earlier medical advice. For those of us who are more level headed, I propose in this specific case, it should have been when the Government of Lebanon requested from UNIFIL to broker a ceasefire with the IDF, this request was made in the afternoon of the 12th of July. At this point, it is very clear from the UNIFIL report that international peace and security had already been well endangered.
Just as an added note, the second paragraph of Article 33 does provide the Security Council a way to make a statement concerning the current hostilities. In fact Chapter VII of the Charter of the UN provides many ways as well, mostly contingent on the will of the Security Council. This means the use of weasel words: may, like, could. A notable exception is Article 39:
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.
What's noticeably missing from Article 39 is some sort of timeframe, meaning the wheels of diplomacy can turn as quickly or as slowly as befits the needs of the Security Council. There is no question that the Security Council consolidates critical functionality when it comes to their primary responsibility, the maintenance of international peace and security. This is by design, as its "Members" confer this responsibility on the Security Council, I refer you to Article 24. Returning to our specific case, the facts are clear, I'm not asking the Security Council what have they done for us lately; I'm asking what the hell are they doing? The Security Council has resolved to extend the UNIFIL mandate to 31 August 2006. There have been several press releases (resulting in no action or vote), meeting notes and a communiqué. Great. This smells of obstruction. Of course things could change today (or tomorrow), after all, they've had over 25 days to issue something of substance.
Before I move on to my personal recommendations, there is another notion that needs to be explored. Quite a few people feel that these folks should just fight this whole thing out amongst themselves. This mentality is absurd for many reasons, but brings me to my next topic; you may have guessed it, proliferation. The proliferation of arms is a serious problem, for one, it is big, big, big business. A lot of, seemingly, experts, usually government officials and NEWS media point to what the "terrorists" have in the way of weapons, how they are supplied, who is supplying them, etc. Some of it is simply unfounded, like the proposition that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Well, there wasn't any, despite the many UN inspections before the US invaded Iraq, and there still aren't any. The point being, we are so quick to focus (are we being hypnotized?) on what the "enemy" could have, people forget we, meaning the US, is the single most prolific arms exporter in the world. We are the pusher.
On 6 December 1991, the General Assembly adopted resolution 46/36 L entitled "Transparency in armaments", which requested the Secretary-General to establish and maintain at United Nations Headquarters in New York a universal and non-discriminatory Register of Conventional Arms, to include data on international arms transfers as well as information provided by Member States on military holdings, procurement through national production and relevant policies. From the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, they feel that the Register captures the great bulk of the global arms trade in the categories of conventional weapons covered by it.
Let's focus on the five permanent members of the Security Council and see what this tells us about proliferation to Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Iran since 2000.
China* no records
France no records
Russia no records
UK no records
US(2000) Missiles and missile launchers 21 AIM-120
US(2001) Missiles and missile launchers 1902 M-26 Rocket
US(2002) Armoured combat vehicles 54 M106/M113
US(2003) Armoured combat vehicles 54 M106
US(2003) Combat aircraft 3 F-16
US(2003) Attack helicopters 15 AH-1
US(2003) Missiles and missile launchers 13 AIM-120
US(2004) Combat aircraft 21 F-16D
US(2004) Missiles and missile launchers 20 LAU-129A/A
US(2004) Missiles and missile launchers 43 AIM-120C
US(2005) Combat aircraft 22 F-16D
US(2005) Attack helicopters 15 AH-1F
US(2005) Attack helicopters 9 AH-64D
US(2005) Missiles and missile launchers 3 ALU-129 missile launcher
China no records
France no records
Russia no records
UK no records
US(2000) Armoured combat vehicles 1 M113
China no records
France no records
Russia no records
UK no records
US no records
China no records
France no records
Russia(2003) Combat aircraft 22
UK no records
US(2000) no records
Let's take a look if performing the reverse search will turn up less, identical or more information based on reporting of imports.
2000 warships 1 Germany: Dolphine class submarine
2001 Missiles and missile launchers 1 USA: AMRAM AIM-120B
2002 Armoured combat vehicles 54 USA: M-113
2004 Combat aircraft F-16
Nothing, does not have a listing
Nothing between 2000-2005.
It would seem that this voluntary system provides some information, but not necessarily a reasonable accounting of all interesting transactions. Since I am mostly interested in displaying what the US exports in terms of weapons, an alternative site could provide more complete data. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was formed in 1945 by atomic scientists from the Manhattan Project who felt that scientists, engineers and other innovators had an ethical obligation to bring their knowledge and experience to bear on critical national decisions, especially pertaining to the technology they unleashed - the Atomic Bomb.
Endorsed by 67 Nobel Laureates in chemistry, economics, medicine and physics, FAS addresses a broad spectrum of issues in carrying out its mission to promote humanitarian uses of science and technology. FAS members build on an honourable history of insisting that rational, evidence-based arguments be heard.
Today, FAS continues its exemplary 60-year record of achieving meaningful results in strategic security with research and education projects in nuclear arms control and global security; conventional arms transfers; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; information technology for human health; and government information policy.
In recent years, the mission of FAS has expanded to include our country's critical challenges in housing, energy and education.
The Housing Technology Project combines the talents of engineers, energy efficiency specialists and other experts in the field of housing to develop new materials and design methods that can led to safe, energy efficient, affordable homes in the U.S. and abroad.
The Information Technologies Project works on strategies to intensify and focus research and development to harness the potential of emerging information technologies to improve how we teach and learn.
These folks seem to have more complete data, including price, for 2000-2006:
The data simply proves my position (and probably yours as well) that the US supplies Israel with arms. In fact another site can help with up-to-date sales from the Federal Registry. Selecting volume 2006 FR, Vol. 71, using the date range of 07/15/2006 to 08/09/2006 and search criteria of "Defense Security Cooperation Agency" returns 18 hits that includes the search report. I imagine folks can come up with better searches. From the hits, one was relevant to Israel.
14 July 2006 (I-06/007044) JP-8 aviation jet fuel, $210 million.
Another good search term is, "Arms Sales Notification".
In review of the above information, let me first summarize the major issues that are hampering the process in this crisis.
The use of Article 51 as a unilateral "self-defence" standard.
The lack of specific criteria for the Security Council in relation to Article 39 and Article 51.
The lack of a more detailed definition of "self-defence".
The conflict of interest between a member state and party to the crisis.
History has told us that unilateral action is hardly the best method for resolving conflict. Unilateral action based on aggression has not served and perpetuates the crisis. Article 51 is merely a decent beginning and needs refinement. I propose the following conceptual modifications to Article 51. It shall be required that a Member of the United Nations possess a Security Council Resolution that has approved the specific measures to be taken. These measures would be a result of the exhaustion of the provisions as articulated in Article 33. The Resolution would be necessary to have in advance of any aggressive action that will endanger the international peace and security. The measures shall describe the most narrowest of action authorized and shall hold superior the maintenance of international peace and security. In essence, the Resolution becomes the justification for the action and articulates the specific acceptable measures to be taken. The measures will be limited to the narrowest so as to limit endangerment of the international peace and security.
I agree that placing some specific timeframe on Security Council action may very well impose unreasonable constraints. The diplomats need the time to solve these, oftentimes, complex problems. We're not talking about a budgeting process here and the Security Council is not your local dentist with appointments every half an hour. Just because the Diplomats aren't working under a deadline, it does not mean that their duties, especially when it comes to the endangerment of international peace and security, could not benefit from ideas to better organize the peace and tranquility of the world. The fundamental issue with Article 51 is the lack of clarity, and hence the discrepancy in how it is used with Members; from the declaration of self-defence and, "until" the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to once again maintain international peace and security. A better way to serve Members would be an equitable system that kicks in once self-defence is breached, claimed or the international peace and secrity is endangered. The system could be a collection of Members (with other prudent organizations) that look to the "Principles" and "Purposes" of the Charter of the UN to determine when an action breaches "self-defence"; its members are not importers, exporters or developers of conventional weapons, other than what's reasonable for the civic needs of the nation state; or importers, exporters or developers of weapons of mass destruction. The system would focus on "self-defence" usage in Article 51, guide the parties to Article 33, determine when disputes go beyond "self-defence", fill in the gap represented by the "until" of Article 51 and fulfills the "Measures taken…" in a form of a justification to be considered by the Security Council.
This system addresses the responsibilities of the Security Council and re-energizes their focus on enduring (meaning time-consuming) solutions to complex disputes and places more time sensitive issues in the hands of a more nimble system, more free from conflict of interest.
Admittedly, the proposal rests with the further development of "self-defence". In this incident there is plenty of agreement that the Israeli reaction has breached this principle. Self-defence is a complex issue that is covered by International Law. The need here is to offer a more concise use within the framework of the Charter of the UN. There seems to be several general paths available to resolving this issue. First, do nothing; probably not going to happen in this article. Second, offer a workable meaning of self-defence, this could prove difficult. Third, modify the rules for using self-defence; this could be easier.
The term self-defence is not clearly defined in the Charter of the UN. The results of historical action by nation-states have helped to define what is acceptable self-defence and what is not. Politics has also been used to curb behaviors, resolve disputes and offer guidance in the action of nation-states. Article 51 offers a legitimate path for unilateral decision-making that can be in the best interest of a nation-state for just protection (international peace, security, etc); this has also lead to abuse, meaning the endangerment of international peace and security. The broader good can be served by modifying the rules of using self-defence, though the thought of a workable definition is tantalizing for another article.
As I have stated before, one of the problems of Article 51 is in its unilateral application. Compounding this issue is the UN Security Council's silence when a Member claims this right, a tacit acceptance of the action. This type of behavior is at the very root of what the Charter of the UN is supposed to address, remember? Germany rolled into Poland; there was a tacit acceptance of the action then too. Therefore, modifying the application of self-defence seems the most reasonable at this stage. More specifically, having the Charter of the UN address specific checks and balances when a Member claims this right is important now, more than it ever has been before. Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of an individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations. Violent self-defence shall only emerge following the enduring obligations made under Article 2 (4), pacific resolutions under Article 33…
At this stage, and with the consensus of the "self-defence" Council (described above), the justification and specific recommendations will be made as to the scope, measures and methods to be taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence in a proposal to the Security Council for consideration in a resolution.
The final topic to address in this section is the fact that the US has a conflict of interest when it comes to sitting at the same table to negotiate peace. Let me spell it out for you, the US is the significant supplier of arms to Israel. In fact, the US is the most prolific supplier of arms to the world because it is big business and profitable. I am sure this fact has not gone unnoticed, especially from the perspective of the Lebanese Government who are witnessing the destruction of their country with American supplied F-15 warplanes, various attack helicopters (AH-64D Apache Longbow, AH-1F Cobra, UH-60L Black Hawk), GBU-28 guided bomb units with BLU-113A/B penetration warheads utilizing a WGU-36A/B guidance control unit, Textron troop carrier armoured vehicles, bombs, mortars, missiles, M240 7.62mm caliber machine guns and much more, like the aquatic warships and submarines. If I'm the Lebanese Government, how many times a day do I associate these indiscriminate actions of the Israeli's and also associate their backing with US military hardware? If I am another sovereign nation or territory, the Palestinians come to mind, how do I feel about the US in this obvious conflict of interest? To answer the question, I probably don't feel too good about my prospects to achieve an equitable peace. Therefore, a system that removes this conflict of interest at the negotiating table is tantamount to the resolution and brings back a legitimization of the system that has been plagued with problems.
So we have the makings of a viable solution, now it's time to place the nuts and bolts in front of you for examination, scrutiny and objective criticism. I fully understand the hurdles of any changes to the present Charter of the UN, as they are specifically detailed in XVIII. Changes to the present Charter have happened, so the process is not insurmountable. In the Generally Assembly, debate concerning Security Council reform is active, it's best to keep a positive attitude and hope a better balance of power is struck for it's members.
To conclude this section, remember you have a small slip of paper in your pocket, namely Article 51. Take it out and read it again in light of some of the other relevant portions of the Charter of UN that Israel has so conveniently forgotten, and then place it back in your pocket. I invite you to read the entire Charter; it should take less than an hour, and then take this Article 51 out of your pocket again for consideration.
The relevant changes to the Charter of the UN are below with additions being underlined and subtractions struck out.
A Member of the United Nations against which preventive or enforcement action has been taken by the Self-Defence Council and/or the Security Council may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. The exercise of these rights and privileges may be restored by the Security Council.
There are established as the principal organs of the United Nations:
a General Assembly
a Security Council
a Self-Defence Council
an Economic and Social Council
a Trusteeship Council
an International Court of Justice
and a Secretariat.
The General Assembly may discuss any questions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security brought before it by any Member of the United Nations, or by the Security Council, or by the Self-Defence Council, or by a state which is not a Member of the United Nations in accordance with Article 35, paragraph 2, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations with regard to any such questions to the state or states concerned or to the Security Council or the Self-Defence Council or to both all. Any such question on which action is necessary shall be referred to the Security Council or the Self-Defence council by the General Assembly either before or after discussion.
The General Assembly may call the attention of the Security Council to situations which are likely to endanger international peace and security.
The powers of the General Assembly set forth in this Article shall not limit the general scope of Article 10.
While the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.
While the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the Self-Defence Council may make any recommendation within the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, with regard to that dispute or situation.
The Secretary-General, with the consent of the Security Council, shall notify the General Assembly at each session of any matters relative to the maintenance of international peace and security which are being dealt with by the Security Council and shall similarly notify the General Assembly, or the Members of the United Nations if the General Assembly is not in session, immediately the Security Council ceases to deal with such matters.
The General Assembly shall receive and consider annual and special reports from the Security Council; these reports shall include an account of the measures that the Security Council has decided upon or taken to maintain international peace and security.
*The General Assembly shall receive and consider annual and special reports from the Self-Defence Council; these reports shall include an account of the measures that the Self-Defence Council has decided upon or taken to maintain international peace and security.
The General Assembly shall receive and consider reports from the other organs of the United Nations.
Each member of the General Assembly shall have one vote.
Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting. These questions shall include: recommendations with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security, the election of the non-permanent members of the Security Council, the election of the members of the Self-Defence Council; the election of the members of the Economic and Social Council, the election of members of the Trusteeship Council in accordance with paragraph 1 (c) of Article 86, the admission of new Members to the United Nations, the suspension of the rights and privileges of membership, the expulsion of Members, questions relating to the operation of the trusteeship system, and budgetary questions.
Decisions on other questions, including the determination of additional categories of questions to be decided by a two-thirds majority, shall be made by a majority of the members present and voting.
1. Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.
2. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
3. Any member of the Security Council found to have a conflict of interest by the Self-Defence Council shall abstain from voting on the specific matter.
4. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members, subject to paragraph 3 of this Article; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.
The Security Council or the Self-Defence Council may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.
Any Member of the United Nations may bring any dispute, or any situation of the nature referred to in Article 34, to the attention of the Security Council, Self-Defence Council or of the General Assembly.
A state which is not a Member of the United Nations may bring to the attention of the Security Council, Self-Defence Council or of the General Assembly any dispute to which it is a party if it accepts in advance, for the purposes of the dispute, the obligations of pacific settlement provided in the present Charter.
The proceedings of the General Assembly in respect of matters brought to its attention under this Article will be subject to the provisions of Articles 11 and 12.
The Security Council may, at any stage of a dispute of the nature referred to in Article 33 or of a situation of like nature, in reflection of advice from the Self-Defence Council, recommend appropriate procedures or methods of adjustment.
The Security Council should take into consideration any procedures for the settlement of the dispute which have already been adopted by the parties.
In making recommendations under this Article the Security Council should also take into consideration that legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the Court.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Articles 33 to 37, the Security Council or the Self-Defence Council may, if all the parties to any dispute so request, make recommendations to the parties with a view to a pacific settlement of the dispute.
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.
The Self-Defence Council shall focus on the self-defence usage in Article 51 and guide the parties of a dispute to Article 2 (4), Article 33 and other relevant portions of the present Charter. The Self-Defence Council shall determine the necessity or occurrence of a breach in self-defence. The Self-Defence Council shall determine if the breach of self-defence is a necessity and provide the justification and specific recommendations as to the scope, measures and methods to be taken by Members in the exercise of this right in a proposal to the Security Council for consideration in a resolution.
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations. Violent self-defence shall only emerge following the enduring obligations made under Article 2 (4), pacific resolutions under Article 33 and with the specific scope, methods and measures agreed to by the Self-Defence Council., uUntil the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security, all parties to the dispute shall be obliged to work in good faith with the Self-Defence Council to comply with the Principles and Purposes of the present Charter. Measures to be taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be consistent with the scope, methods and measures put forth by the Self-Defence Council and be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Nothing in the present Charter precludes the existence of regional arrangements or agencies for dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security as are appropriate for regional action provided that such arrangements or agencies and their activities are consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations.
The Members of the United Nations entering into such arrangements or constituting such agencies shall make every effort to achieve pacific settlement of local disputes through such regional arrangements or by such regional agencies before referring them to the Security Council.
The Security Council and Self-Defence Council shall encourage the development of pacific settlement of local disputes through such regional arrangements or by such regional agencies either on the initiative of the states concerned or by reference from the Security Council.
This Article in no way impairs the application of Articles 34 and 35.
The General Assembly or the Security Council or the Self-Defence Council may request the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion on any legal question.
Other organs of the United Nations and specialized agencies, which may at any time be so authorized by the General Assembly, may also request advisory opinions of the Court on legal questions arising within the scope of their activities.
The Secretary-General shall act in that capacity in all meetings of the General Assembly, of the Security Council, of the Self-Defence Council, of the Economic and Social Council, and of the Trusteeship Council, and shall perform such other functions as are entrusted to him by these organs. The Secretary-General shall make an annual report to the General Assembly on the work of the Organization.
The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.
The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Self-Defence Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security or breach the right of Self-Defence.
THE SECURITY COUNCIL
1. The Self-Defence Council shall consist of nine Members of the United Nations elected by the General Assembly.
2. The members of the Self-Defence Council shall be elected for a term of two years. In the first election of the members, five of the nine members shall be chosen for a term of one year. A retiring member shall be eligible for immediate re-election.
3. In the election of the members, due regard shall be specifically paid, in the first instance that the Member be not importers, exporters or developers of conventional weapons, other than what is reasonable for the civic needs of the nation state; or be not importers, exporters or developers of weapons of mass destruction; the second instance that the Member not already be or have been a permanent member of the Security Council.
4. Each member of the Self-Defence Council shall have one representative.
FUNCTIONS and POWERS
In order to ensure nimble and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Self-Defence Council primary responsibility for issues relating to self-defence, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Self-Defence Council acts on their behalf.
In discharging these duties the Self-Defence Council shall act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations. The specific powers granted to the Self-Defence Council for the discharge of these duties are laid down in Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII.
The Self-Defence Council shall submit annual and, when necessary, special reports to the General Assembly for its consideration.
The Self-Defence Council shall work with all parties of a dispute in specific regards to self-defence; maintain a nimble structure.
The Self-Defence Council shall issue scopes, methods and measures specific to the requirements of Article 51.
The Self-Defence Council shall be the sole determiner in an armed dispute arising on the basis of Article 51 that finds any number of members on the Security Council having a conflict of interest. Members determined to have a conflict of interest shall be obliged to the Self-Defence Council to abstain from voting on the incident.
The Self-Defence Council may make public advisory decisions concerning Article 51 self-defence and a conflict of interest in the discharge of the Security Council duties as bound by the present Charter.
Each member of the Self-Defence Council shall have one vote.
Decisions of the Self-Defence Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of five members.
Decisions of the Self-Defence Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of a majority of members and providing that a member who is a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.
The Self-Defence Council shall be so organized as to be able to function continuously. Each member of the Self-Defence Council shall for this purpose be represented at all times at the seat of the Organization.
The Self-Defence Council shall hold periodic meetings at which each of its members may, if it so desires, be represented by a member of the government or by some other specially designated representative.
The Self-Defence Council may hold meetings at such places other than the seat of the Organization as in its judgment will best facilitate its work.
The Self-Defence Council may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions.
The Security Council shall adopt its own rules of procedure, including the method of selecting its President.
Any Member of the United Nations, which is not a member of the Self-Defence Council, may participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Self-Defence Council whenever the latter considers that the interests of that Member are specially affected.
Any Member of the United Nations, which is not a member of the Self-Defence Council, or any state which is not a Member of the United Nations, if it is a party to a dispute under consideration by the Self-Defence Council, shall be invited to participate, without vote, in the discussion relating to the dispute. The Security Council shall lay down such conditions as it deems just for the participation of a state which is not a Member of the United Nations.
I have made some pretty hefty accusations that need more detail so non-experts, like us, can get a grip on a solution. So follow along in the details of what has transpired publicly, as a direct result of the events that began on 12 July 2006. The UN has a wealth of official records online, most of my research was done on their site using their ODS system. Most of the official documents were found using simple search criteria by inputting publication dates of 12 July 2006 to 8 August 2006 with the subject of "Lebanon". I've been performing this basic search for a time and have noticed that documents can "suddenly" become available, probably because it takes time for some things to get into the online system. Availability of documents does not change my premise, nor does it change what I have already called for, cessation of hostilities, etc., etc.
I had intended to provide a link to these documents, primarily in ODS. These links are handled via ASP and Java scripts. To resolve this issue, I will include the document symbol and you will need to perform the basic or advanced search to retrieve the document. While the Israeli and Lebanese hostilities are escalating (well, at least while I am initially writing this article), it will be easier for us to get our hands around the diplomatic events and information by using a timeline.
* The Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations takes note with regret that the United States has included its arms transfers to Taiwan, a province of the People's Republic of China, in the footnote of its annual reports provided to the Register for the calendar year 1995 and 1996 and reaffirms China's position on the issue as follows. The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms is the register of legitimate transfers of certain categories of conventional arms between sovereign states. Taiwan is a province of the People's Republic of China, not a sovereign state. The arms transfers from the United States to Taiwan are neither legitimate nor transfers between sovereign states. The People's Republic of China does not accept any reference in whatever form to the arms transfers to Taiwan in the Register.
The Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations hopes that the Secretary-General of the United Nations will take appropriate steps to delete the above-mentioned reference from his Report on the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and to make sure that no reference whatsoever to the arms transfers to Taiwan appear in future Reports on the Register, in order to safeguard the authority of the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the seriousness of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.
** Lebanon, like most small developing countries, relies on international law as the basis for its protection. It has neither the capability, capacity nor desire to develop either conventional or mass destruction weapons and has generally sought to provide for its people's security under the auspices of the United Nations or United Nations-approved collective security arrangements. Subsequently, Lebanon is pleased to report that throughout the 1990s it has neither produced, exported not imported any arms, and is in full compliance with General Assembly resolution 47/52 L.
The Government of Lebanon reaffirms its commitment to the achievement of transparency in all types of armaments, their national production, export and import, holdings and military programmes. Towards that end, it supports the expansion and revision of the Register, in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 8 and 11 of General Assembly resolution 46/36 L, of 9 December 1991, to include weapons of mass destruction and their components in addition to conventional arms.
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