Sunday 30 July 2006

A poker hand of unintended consequences

A snowflake fascination

I have ranted, riled and disparaged with vehemence the fight-on-till-victor-and-vanquished policy that has spewed forth from Rice, Bush and Blair, but wait a minute; it appears we might be reaching a case of seriously unintended consequences.

Just like what would happen when you shake that fascinating Christmas snowflake glass ball, you deliberately and violently shake it, creating a chaos of flakes, then set it down and watch the snow settle, I see the same in this instance.

You cannot determine where the flakes would fall, though we assume it falls evenly on the Christmas landscape, it is probably a more sophisticated science than the simplicity belies.

It is a resolutions rat-race

So, back at the Middle-East where elaborate but historically futile plans are being put across in trying to introduce a new UN Resolution to bring about a ceasefire and the deployment of a multi-national peace-keeping force in the South of Lebanon.

We really should stop this circus of using resolutions to enforce or chase other resolutions and concentrate on the context that shaped the original ones and forcefully implement them.

Once again, the UN Security Council Resolution 1559 appears to be the gold-standard of implementing a ceasefire. That is fine, now, let us be honest, about implementing the totality of that resolution which is first really about Israel before it is about Lebanon.

Give back first

The first part refers to Lebanon having complete sovereignty over its territory, and then gradually exercising democratically managed military authority over their entire.

The bitter pill in this situation is Shebaa Farms; it is occupied Lebanese territory which Israel contends belongs to Syria as part of their annexation of Golan Heights in 1967.

That is beside the point, between Syria and Lebanon, they have agreed since 1964 that Shebaa Farms is Lebanese and Syria continues to abide by that 42-year old agreement. So, the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory in 2000, regardless of technicalities people might proffer was incomplete. Simple!

The Lebanese plan for peace leading a ceasefire which Hezbollah acquiesces to, includes the return of Shebaa Farms for a viable and enduring ceasefire. Any, right-thinking person would consider that, just and fair, I would suppose.

Stop the occupations

It also means we move on from this idea of new occupations; like a peace-keeping force to assure security, it would be expensive, fraught, dangerous and ineffective if the Shebaa Farms issue is not conclusively resolved.

That Shebaa Farms issue, would help in ensuring that Resolution 1559 is fully implemented to include the disarming of Hezbollah.

Before you heave a sigh of relief, the issue of Shebaa Farms is somewhat inter-twined with Golan Heights in the Israeli psyche. So, why just relinquish one part of illegally annexed and nominally occupied territory?

We have already been sickened and amused by the microphone tête-à-tête between Bush and Blair about Syria telling Hezbollah to stop all this shit going on in Lebanon.

Syria says

Well, Syria has given us the key to all this shit-stopping – the occupation of Arab lands. That would primarily be Shebaa Farms and Golan Heights, these fuel the frenetic activities of Hezbollah in that area, the Palestinian settlement is a distant allusion in this matter.

So, once again, the move is Israel’s – in accordance with UN Resolution 497, conveniently forgotten and dormant since it was unanimously passed in 1981; the return of Golan Heights to the rightful owner – Syria.

In two pre-existing resolutions we have the recognition and implementation of a ceasefire from the current hostilities; the end of Hezbollah’s militancy, such that they can be fully subsumed in Lebanese politics.

The child looks different

That, I submit is the unintended consequence of the “new Middle-East” as alluded to by Condoleezza Rice – the birth pangs would in the end bring forth a child in no likeness to the expected baby.

The bigger picture is more unsavoury for the West than it seems, because the price for peace exerts a serious climb-down from Israel in terms of its legacy of occupied Arab lands, and it also indicates that Western appeasement has continually allowed Israel to act with impunity when they should be adhering to their international obligations.

The Israeli protestations regarding Syria and Lebanon over the years would definitely become a shrill-sounding discomfort to all well-meaning people.

A poker hand bitter lesson in expected outcomes

Better still, if this becomes the final result of this 3-week war, you will have to give it to Hezbollah as they would have deftly out-manoeuvred all those crocodile-tear diplomatic efforts to bring about a just settlement for their struggles.

The other negotiations about the release of prisoners are just minutiae.

America, Britain and Israel, turned this issue into a game of poker thinking they had the best hands, methinks, Hezbollah only started with a Jack and might clear the pot with a Royal Flush – such is the life of gamblers.


A prediction of this war

US envoy foresees 'hard decision'

The Israeli conflict blog archive

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