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.