UN Resolution 1701 is causing anxiety in the Italian
Parliament, which is moving to authorize the participation of Italian troops in
the UN "peacekeeping" mission in Lebanon. In fact, it is exactly the
word "peacekeeping" that has the parliament in a muddle.
The defense and external affairs committees in the Chamber
of Deputies have proposed a resolution which would bind the government "to
adopt every initiative to insure humanitarian support for the Lebanese
population and to send a military contingent to serve with UNFIL according to
the rules of engagement determined by the UN." This essentially conforms
to ongoing UN deliberations in New York (Wed).
But why are the rules of engagement not spelled out by the
resolution? Who, exactly, is UNFIL supposed to protect South Lebanon from?
Surely, not the Lebanese army? Who else is left? There is no mention of
protecting it from Israel, which was, after all, the aggressor of the Lebanese
homeland. (And, no, you cannot claim to be "defending" yourself in
territories you occupy, nor are you allowed to "defend" yourself at
all unless under immediate or imminent attack and before the Security Council
can intervene! Words of the UN charter, to which Israel is a signatory and
which a former US, in its now dead legal incarnation, majestically and loftily
wrote in 1948!)
In the Italian Senate, accordingly, the defense and external
affairs committees have suggested that the chamber's resolution adopt a clause
which would specify that Italian troops "would not participate in the
effort to disarm Hizballah."
Great pressure is being applied on the committees requesting
this clarification of the "peacekeeping" venture to remove the
clause. Such pressure is leading observers to regard the involvement of Italian
troops in disarming Hizballah as more than an "eventuality," but as a
Whatever the result of this anxiety over the true nature of
the Italian "peacekeeping" mission, the current debate underscores
the fact that the resolution may constitute a "mortal trap," which is
how Italian senator De Gregorio characterized the potential hidden agenda of
Resolution 1701. "The [ambiguous way in which] Security Council Resolution
1701 [is phrased] could make it possible that our collaboration will be
solicited to impose disarmament on all armed groups in Lebanon. The hypothesis
that this request could transform itself into a request for our troops to
disarm Hizballah could involve a risky operation with unpredictable
You got that right, senator!
Even the opposition, Berlusconi's gang of neo-fascists,
worries about a lack of clarity in the terms of the mission, emanating
primarily from the original UN resolution. Former Berlusconi minister Martino
declared that "we have to avoid dispatching our troops without adequate
rules of engagement."
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, meanwhile, has been
forced to address the European powers' reluctance. �I don't think there is an
expectation that this [UN] force is going to physically disarm Hezbollah. I
think it's a little bit of a misreading about how you disarm a militia. You
have to have a plan, first of all, for the disarmament of the militia, and then
the hope is that some people lay down their arms voluntarily.� (I LOVE the
realistic touch in the use of cosy phrases like "a little bit" and
the metaphoric mumbling that goes along with them to give the impression that
Condi is just like your Wal-Mart supervisor, a person of flesh and bone, which
her vampire-like thirst for blood, illustrated in her firmness to prevent a
cease-fire in Lebanon, belies.)
Say what? We have to have a plan to disarm the militia
(naturally "secret" even from the people participating in it), but
they will lay down their arms voluntarily because of our plan? What is this
plan exactly? Inviting Hizballah to a reconciliation picnic on the banks of the
Litani and serving cluster bombs disguised as Big Macs? Or blanketing the area
with pornographic films to distract guerrillas from their alleged attachment to
virgins -- a fantasy to which the West is addicted in their portrayal of
Islamic "fundamentalism" and the insistence on which reflects their
own prurient hang-ups instead?
What's the "plan," Condi? That's all the
non-doormat Euros want to know, because, among other things, the US refuses to
acknowledge, they know that resistance forces are never defeated should the
effort take a thousand years. The Euros should know -- especially the Italians
and the French -- having pegged their post WW II political identities to the
memory of a fierce, bloody, and fearless resistance against the Nazis. I
realize that Americans have been conditioned by the entertainment industry to
regard themselves as "the cavalry" that rescued Europe from the
Nazis, but it was a little more complicated than that. However, the story is
not really Hollywood material as it would entail talking about the sacrifice of
godless communists and socialists. Consequently, Americans have no concept of
what "resistance" means and of why it is a "human right"
under occupation and not a "terrorist" activity.
European people are, after all, the bruised survivors of
fallen empires, having expended two world wars competing for them and having
fought countless revolts to retain them -- to no avail. Have you heard of Dien
Bien Phu, Condi? The French have, and you can bet your Ferragamo shoes that
they don't want to hear it again! Do you remember Vietnam? Not the
"syndrome," but the actual victory of a peasant army over the
mightiest military force on earth?
Or is it that having failed to lure US-commanded NATO into
your messy "plans" for the same old Middle East under the boot of the
new imperialism, you are trying to use UNFIL troops as advance shock troopers
against Hizballah? Good luck, then, because the people of South Lebanon are
returning to their homes, mightily pissed and singing the praises of the only
force that fought to defend them. And that's Hizballah, in case you haven't
noticed in the flurry of your master's pathetic declaration to the contrary.
Remember the fish swimming in the sea of Mao's guerrilla's
theory, Condi? That's them -- the outraged Lebanese farmers, peasants, and
laborers, returning to the devastated land that Hizballah secured for them and
promises to rebuild.
Not a pretty picture for your shop-worn Middle East plans,
Condi, whatever tricks you think you have stashed up your
Bush-administration-fashioned, loser, mannequin sleeves!
Bohne teaches film and literature at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.