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International Affairs


About U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559

Posted: August 4, 2006

The Resolution: Adopted by the United Nations Security Council in 2004, Resolution 1559 recognizes Lebanon as a sovereign state with defined, internationally accepted boundaries, and calls for the withdrawal of any foreign forces from Lebanese territory and the disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias. The resolution aims at securing Lebanese government control over the entire country, as well as the removal of Syrian and Iranian units and, critically, the disarming of the Hezbollah terrorist organization.

How It Stands: Israel withdrew fully from Lebanon in 2000 in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 425, a move officially recognized by the U.N. Syria withdrew its forces from Lebanon in the spring of 2005 as a result of massive international pressure on Damascus because of its suspected role in the assassination in February of that year of Rafik Hariri, the former primer minister of Lebanon.

Syria, however, still maintains formidable political, financial, and military influence over the country, stifling the realization of a sovereign Lebanon as required by the resolution. Hezbollah, which receives significant financial and military assistance from both Syria and Iran, is still armed and maintains military control over much of southern Lebanon, also in violation of the resolution.

Hezbollah's unprovoked attack on Israel on July 12, 2006 -- in which terrorists crossed Israel's border, killed eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two others, sparking a monthlong war -- along with its constant barrage of rockets into Israel, both before and during the conflict, provided ample evidence that Resolution 1559 has not been enforced.  

On August 11, 2006, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1701, which called for a cessation of hostilities along the border and the formation of an international force to secure southern Lebanon.
 
Moving Forward: Any internationally imposed settlement of the current conflict must recognize that disarming Hezbollah is the key to a sustainable ceasefire. As long Hezbollah retains its weaponry, it will continue to attack Israel and destabilize the region.

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