A dialogue with Hezbollah on what?
By: Elias Bejjani*
August 3/2005

It is time for all the Lebanese actual community representatives, political leaders, MP'S, Cabinet Ministers, and high-ranging clergy  to immediately engage into an objective, transparent, authentic and serious national dialogue. This dialogue has become a must after the liberation of Lebanon was achieved last April ending thirty years of Syrian savage occupation. The decision-making process of the Lebanese people has now presumably become free and accordingly their leadership can and without any Syrian intimidation or pressure, decide on productive plans for the future of their country in mere patriotic milieus to immunize Lebanon's democracy, tolerance, coexistence, peace, welfare and  identity.

During its deplorable occupation era, Baathist Syria had forced since1982 the armed Hezbollah Shiites organization under the disguise of resistance against Israel, as well as many other armed Lebanese and Palestinian militias, safeguarded the outlaw status quo of the Cantons it created in all the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and produced a corrupt and conscienceless generation of Lebanese puppet subservient politicians who are professionals in camouflage, flimflam, fraud, knavery, treason, lying and cheating.

The disarmament of Hezbollah must have first priority in an immediate national, quite and objective rational dialogue. All manipulative, Trojan and twisted justifications used by Hezbollah's leadership and their Syrian and Iranian rogue regimes to hinder Hezbollah disarmament must be addressed openly, exposed publicly and stripped of all lies and threats in front of all the Lebanese people and the whole world.

An Iranian-sponsored Shiite militia based in southern Lebanon, Beirut and Bekaa Valley, Hezbollah was the only Lebanese armed militia allowed by Syria to remain armed in 1990 when Christian Lebanese militias were all disarmed in accordance with the "Taef Accord"  (forced on Lebanon's MP'S in a conference held at the Saudi Taef City in 1988 to end 15 years of internal Lebanese wars). Syria also did not disarm any of the Palestinian militias and at the same time did not allow the Lebanese authorities to carry on this duty.

Hezbollah militarily and administratively fully controls South Lebanon, patrols the Lebanese border with Israel, prevents the Lebanese Army from deploying there, and does not permit the Lebanese central government to exercise its authorities or responsibilities in the whole region. Hezbollah is the actual ruler not only of South Lebanon, but also of a big portion of the Bekaa Valley and the whole Southern Suburb of Beirut where its headquarters are located. Its bizarre current armed status quo is in defiance of the Lebanese constitution and of both the "Taef Accord" and the UN Resolution 1559 as well as the "Armistice Agreement" that regulated the Lebanese - Israeli borders (Signed in 1949)

The UN Resolution 1559 that was passed by the UN Security Council on September.2.2004, and the "Taef Accord , Both call for the disarmament of all militias, for the Lebanese army to patrol the Lebanese Israeli border and for the Lebanese government to enforce its control and authority on all the Lebanese territories through its own legitimate armed forces.

Hezbollah is strongly refusing to disarm or make it even peacefully possible for the Lebanese Army to deploy in the southern regions and on the Lebanese Israeli border. Its Leadership have been resorting to all tactics and strategies of intimidation, fanaticism, confessionalism and terror to maintain their arms and confiscation of the central government role. Hezbollah's General Secretary Sheik Hassan Nasrallah and many others of his top (aides) have publicly cautioned that any hand that dares to touch their arms has to be an Israeli one and will be accordingly severed. At the same time they keep on threatening that any attempt for their disarmament will lead to a state of internal unrest and confrontations.

The new Lebanese government, the first after the end of the Syrian occupation did not address the UN Resolution 1559 in its ministerial Statement. It fully ignored the need for the implementation of Resolution's remaining clauses that calls for the disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, the deployment of the Lebanese Army in the Southern regions and on the Lebanese Israeli Border. Instead it used the wooden Arabic rhetoric of resistance against Israel, Israeli occupation, and Arabic strategy and liberation, in a time when all Arab countries including the Palestinians themselves Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, and Saudi Arabia have abandoned such a hostile rhetoric and forged or in the process to forging  peace treaties with Israel.

The irony here lies in the fact that the Lebanese officials and politicians have told the US Secretary of State Department Condoleezza Rice last month during her visit to Beirut that they will initiate an internal dialogue to tackle the fate of Hezbollah's arms and asked her for {additional} time to achieve this aim.

What sort of dialogue they are advocating for and deluding themselves with? and what chances [do] they have for the success of such a dialogue when Iran's leadership have boldly stated  on Tuesday while receiving Sheik Hassan Nasrallah that all attempts to disarm Hezbollah are absolute illusion.  Meanwhile Hezbollah leadership have declared a readiness to engage in an internal Lebanese dialogue if its aims are limited only for finding means and ways needed to protect and legitimize their arms, solidify their resistance role against Israel and to give some assurances to those Lebanese who require them because of baseless fears from Hezbollah's arms. Accordingly all hopes in disarming Hezbollah through such a dialogue have been killed by Iran and Hezbollah, as well as by Syria whose PM, Mr. Ottari has tied last month the fate of Hezbollah's arms to the Syrian national security.

The Lebanese leadership are all required to take a clear-cut stance on this matter and declare publicly what kind of dialogue they are perusing with Hezbollah.  Is it the kind of dialogue that Hezbollah is after in a bid to safeguard its current military status quo at the expense of the central government authority, keeps its huge arsenal, maintains full control on the cantons it erected in South Lebanon, Beirut Suburb and Bekaa valley, and put the Lebanon's decision making process for peace and war in the hands of Syria and Iran?  Or a dialogue that is pre set to fully disarm Hezbollah, disintegrate its military structure and help in its integration into the political democratic and peaceful Lebanese life?

The only Lebanese political group that had taken a clear stance on this matter is the Free Patriotic Movement headed by MP, General Michel Aoun. General Aoun and his parliamentary block have openly called for the full implementation of the UN Resolution and for an internal Lebanese dialogue that aims to hand over all Hezbollah's arms to the Lebanese Army and for the Central Government to take full control on all the Lebanese territories through its own legitimate armed forces. All other Lebanese political and religious groups including the Lebanese government members, are either camouflaging [and frightened] to take a stance or are on Hezbollah's side for religious reasons.

Hezbollah that was given a Lebanese cabinet portfolio for the first time since it was founded by Syria and Iran in 1982 (On July 19, Hezbollah MP Mohammed Fneich was sworn in as energy minister), has hijacked the new Lebanese government, [taken it as] hostage, crippled its capabilities for dealing with the UN Resolution 1559 and [has] put Lebanon in a confrontational position with the UN and international community. It is widely believed that under the current circumstances, Beirut's government will not be able by any means to disarm Hezbollah neither through a peaceful dialogue, nor by its own military force.

[Saudi Arabia's new king, King Abdulla] has sponsored and adopted his Lebanese ally MP, Saad Al Hariri who, because of the Saudi unlimited help and advocacy, was able to control Lebanon's parliamentary majority in the last elections and to form Lebanon's new government through his hand-picked PM Fouad Siniora. It has been learned that the King was successful in convincing both presidents Bush and Chirac to support the leadership of Saad Al Hariri after the assassination of his father, Raffic Al Hariri, and help him rule Lebanon [fully] through his control on both its parliament and government. It was learned too that the King  promised both presidents that Al Hariri will peacefully via an internal Lebanese dialogue work on the implementation of the remaining clauses of the UN Resolution 1559 provided he is given an ample of time to deliver.

It [is] worth mentioning that [in 1988], the Saudis sponsored the "Taef Accord" but later abandoned it completely, failed in delivering their promises and obligations and kept a blind eye on Syria's occupation and atrocities. One wonders if the Saudis are now repeating the same pattern of conduct and conceding to Iran whose leadership who promised this week its General Secretary, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah with an on going support and protection to maintain its current military status?

We strongly believe that both the UN and free world countries who prepared, sponsored and passed the UN Resolution 1559 and forced Syria to put an end to its occupation of Lebanon, have a further obligation to see that all the 1559 clauses are implemented and that Hezbollah and all the other Lebanese and non Lebanese militias are disarmed, or otherwise the whole middle east will know no peace and the war against terrorism will never be won.

Elias Bejjani
*Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
*Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)
*Media Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
E.Mail phoenicia@hotmail.com  LCCC Web Site http://www.10452lccc.com