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On indiscriminate personal harm in Lebanon

Things that do not require a tribunal: Lebanon, 2006. (Photo: Amelia Opainska)

Al Jazeera reported yesterday that judges and lawyers at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), ostensibly established to prosecute the perpetrators of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, “have begun discussions on how to define the crime of ‘terrorism’ as listed in a draft indictment”.

Opposition to the politicization of the STL, which appears to be concerned with prosecuting certain groups and not others, led to the collapse of the Lebanese government in January.

According to the Al Jazeera website:

International lawyers have wrangled for years without arriving at a single definition for the crime of terrorism, but prosecutors and defence lawyers at the tribunal agreed on Monday to apply the definition as stated in Lebanese law, which the tribunal already uses.

‘There is no reason to go further and create an overarching, worldwide, universal definition,’ Iain Morley, a lawyer for the prosecution, said.

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FARC to join global jihad

Alvaro Uribe avoids retirement.

The four-member United Nations panel appointed to investigate the May 31 Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara which killed 9 people is scheduled to have its first meeting today. An August 3 AFP article noting the “surprising U-turn from the Israelis” in deciding to support the flotilla probe—a rare instance of Israeli cooperation with the U.N.—fails to note that the U-turn is perhaps not so surprising given the appointment as panel Vice Chairman of outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, whose expertise in the realm of security will thus not be lost with the end of his presidential term.

Israel and Colombia have been plagued with similar security challenges for decades, such as how to portray victims as aggressors in order to acquire land—although Colombian territorial entitlement admittedly lacks biblical endorsement. Past Israeli training of Colombian death squads may have contributed to current Colombian creativity in retroactively justifying massacres; starting in 2008, for example, it was revealed that the members of the Colombian army had—reportedly in thousands of instances—murdered civilians and then disguised them as guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in order to receive bonuses and additional vacation time. Israeli creativity in the aftermath of the May flotilla massacre meanwhile included Foreign Ministry Flickr postings of photographs of kitchen knives and marbles and declarations that a weapons cache had been found on board the Mavi Marmara, underscoring Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon’s claim that the humanitarian activists on the ship in fact had ties to “global jihad.”

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Israel’s newfound concern for UNIFIL

How to be less restrained than before: the challenge facing the IDF in upcoming assaults on Lebanon. (Photo by Amelia Opalinska.)

How to be less restrained than before: the challenge facing the IDF in upcoming assaults on Lebanon. (Photo by Amelia Opalinska.)

A recent article in the online edition of the Jerusalem Post states that “Israel is becoming increasingly anxious about the fate of UNIFIL if Hizbullah increases its power in upcoming parliamentary elections in Lebanon.” Anxiety over UNIFIL’s fate was apparently not an issue in 2006 when an Israeli air strike on a UN post in Khiam killed 4 UN observers; the introduction of the word “increasingly” is thus encouraging.

Hezbollah has also been prone to bouts of worrying over the fate of Lebanon’s long-term guests, such as when UNIFIL enlisted the Party of God’s protection following a 2007 car bombing that killed 6 Spanish and Colombian troops. The bombing was attributed to Sunni militants whose proliferation in Lebanon had been encouraged by regional moderates like Fuad Siniora and the United States in order to counterbalance Iran; in other instances of convergence between radicals and moderates, Al Qaeda number two Ayman Al Zawahiri joined Israel in condemning innovative Lebanese answers to the question of who will guard the guards.

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