Michael Totten

Hizbullah's weapons, the Hariri tribunal and chapter 7

By Abu Kais

The time of compromises is over.

Nothing surprising in what follows. Here’s Mahmoud Komati, deputy head of Hezbollah’s political bureau, speaking to AP.

Komati said Hezbollah started asking for greater share in the government only after the July-August war with Israel and that one of the key reasons was to prevent the pro-U.S. government from forcing it to disarm.

“Now we are demanding it (greater government share), because our experience during the war and the performance of the government has made us unsure. On several occasions they pressured us to lay down our weapons while we were fighting a war,” Komati told The Associated Press in a huge tent, one of hundreds Hezbollah has erected for sit-ins just outside Saniora’s office.

“So after the war, we had no choice but to demand this guarantee that would give us legal and constitutional strength. If we take the one-third plus one, the government will not be able to impose its decision on us,” said Komati.

Of course, all the government tried to do is getting them to commit to discussing their disarmament AFTER the war, and as part of a "national dialogue." Hizbullah has been waging a vicious campaign against Saad Hariri, accusing him of daring to ask Hassan Nasrallah for a commitment to disarm. Although Hariri was trying to extract a promise from the holy leader to do what I said at the top of the paragraph, in hopes to avoid a resolution being passed under chapter 7– it was blown out of proportion by Hizbullah’s media and now Hariri has been declared a traitor.

Of course Hariri and Siniora should not have bothered to spare Hizbullah a chapter 7 resolution. As we saw, they wasted no time re-arming, and have shown no gratitude towards efforts to save them in the name of "national unity"—a term they interpret to mean "unity around our weapons."

For all this, the next step should be obvious to Siniora. Let the Hariri tribunal pass under chapter 7, as was suggested before the Lebanese government asked for it to pass through the Lebanese institutions. The likes of Hizbullah and their sponsors understand democracy to mean consensus on their policies, so there is no benefit in giving them the tribunal card to terrorize the country until their demands are met.

The civil war that Siniora wanted to avoid had a chapter 7 resolution forcing Hizbullah to disarm passed, will take place precisely because Hizbullah is an ungrateful, war-obsessed entity that deserves no special treatment outside the rule of law. Like the Assad regime, they use terror to get what they want, albeit in Hizbullah’s case, it is political (but for how long?).

According to al-Mustaqbal, France and the US are preparing a chapter 7 resolution regarding the Hariri tribunal, meaning the Lebanese government would be spared the need to approve it in parliament. Hizbullah and the Assad regime are being given until the end of the year to either accept a compromise being worked on by Amr Moussa, or face a chapter 7 resolution. Siniora went to Moscow because the Russians think they can broker a deal between the Lebanese cabinet and their comrades in the Assad regime over the tribunal (Assad is expected to visit Russia soon after). But Moscow might not be able to veto this one, as the French and Americans will not allow the regime and Hizbullah to blow Lebanon into smithereens. Let us not forget that UNIFIL has the mandate to intervene as a protection force if Hizbullah threatens Lebanese security—something that even fundamentalist Fathi Yakan understood when he lashed out at his allies’ calls to storm the Serail. 

Finally, the real onus is not only on the Lebanese cabinet and army, but also on the Lebanese marching in support of Hizbullah and Aoun (at least those not getting paid in "clean and honorable Iranian money"). Will they wake up to see where their idols are taking them?

In the meantime, chapter 7 never looked so good.