A Boycott of Lebanon for Defying the Security Council? Unlikely

Jan. 11 2017

In 2004, 2005, and 2006, the United Nations Security Council passed resolutions calling on the Lebanese government to disband and disarm any militias within its borders—a clear, although not explicit, reference to Hizballah. Beirut, however, has done nothing to comply, and the newly elected government has all but announced that it has no intention to do so. Nevertheless, a White House spokesman has praised it for working “to uphold and implement Lebanon’s international commitments.” Where, wonders Elliott Abrams, are the calls to boycott and sanction Lebanon?

What happens when UN Security Council resolutions are ignored? That depends, really—on whether you are any of 192 other members of the United Nations, or are Israel. . . .

Of course the two situations are not comparable—not when you consider that Hizballah is a murderous terrorist group that kills people every day, and was likely involved in killing Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s father Rafik in 2005. . . . So one can sympathize with Saad Hariri and other Lebanese politicians when they bow to Hizballah. . . .

But the fact remains that Lebanon is defying the Security Council very clearly and very deliberately, and no one says a word about it (except to applaud). No one is threatening a boycott of Lebanese goods until it complies. No one is suggesting that Lebanese politicians are violating international law by their complicity with and now official defense of Hizballah. Actually, some pressure from the West might be useful in empowering and emboldening Lebanese politicians who are trying to resist Hizballah, and risking their lives by doing so. But that’s not the point here. The point is that plenty of countries defy the UN but in very, very few cases is this even noticed, and in fewer still is anyone punished.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations


To Defeat the Legacy of Islamic State, Start Rebuilding the Communities It Destroyed

Now that the borders of Islamic State (IS) are slowly contracting, argues Alberto Fernandez, there is a moral and strategic imperative to reconstruct some of the non-Muslim communities that it has destroyed—and the U.S. should encourage local government to help:

Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate is crumbling, if all too slowly. Sadly, though, its ultimate collapse will not be the end of the story. It will leave behind a still-lethal insurgency that will almost certainly attempt to stage terrorist attacks around the world as well as a wide swath of physical destruction and devastated lives stretching from Aleppo to Ramadi.

And yet, even while the Islamic State is “losing,” there is no denying that it has also “won” some things. It has created grim facts on the ground. It has wiped out communities that will never rise again. Many Yazidi villages and towns within its orbit are destined to remain permanently empty because of slaughter and the flight of despairing survivors. IS jihadists also succeeded in destroying the ancient Christian community of Mosul, whose surviving members were robbed of everything they had when they were expelled from the city in July 2014. Many of the survivors of these same minority groups remain scattered around the region, and some still haven’t decided whether they should stay, with all the risks that it would entail, or leave forever. Islamic State has torn a hole in the fabric of the region’s millennia-old diversity that can never be fully repaired. . . .

But we should consider fresh ways for Muslim leaders to show concrete support for restoring what IS sought to exterminate. Even the resurrection of a single community would be a powerful message of solidarity and diversity in a Middle East that is becoming increasingly monochrome. . . .

In . . . Israel, one kibbutz incorporated and commemorated survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and other Jewish partisans. Imagine the resurrection of a non-Muslim community that the Islamic State sought to exterminate. What a powerful message that would send. And the message would resonate even more strongly if the work were to be done with the support of Muslim states.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: ISIS, Middle East Christianity, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy, Yazidis