On October 24, 1970, during its 25th session, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Declaration of Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
The UN Declaration provides in part:
“No State has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements, are in violation of international law.”
Perhaps not since the Vietnam War, with the exception of Iraq, has an American Embassy so inextricably inserted, bullied and entangled itself into the internal affairs of another country, than the U.S. Embassy here in Beirut. Or so brazenly targeted a nationalist political party that won the largest number of votes in the most recent election and that likely represents a majority of the country’s population. Not since 1982 has it occurred in Lebanon.
Myriad extra-consular activities by ‘Embassy Beirut’, many of which violate American as well as international laws including the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, present serious problems for Lebanon. They ultimately constitute major problems for the American people who increasingly seek an even-handed American Middle East policy and friendship with all legitimate countries in the region.
The de-facto American Ambassador to Lebanon and Syria remains Undersecretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman who on 12/9/10 during a phone conference with Arab reporters in Washington, London and some Arab capitals, complained: “ the Wilkileaks information is being used to sow strife in Lebanon.” He added that he was “afraid that some Lebanese nationalists would be harmed for cooperating with the U.S and for better ties between Washington and Beirut.” He added, “The release of private conversations calls for disgust and anger.”
Not for the first time, Mr. Feltman has his analysis precisely backwards . For it is not some leaked cables, which to date have revealed nothing not already widely known or suspected in Lebanon, but rather it is the intense US interference in Lebanese internal affairs on behalf of Israel that is causing deep distrust and suspicion of American motives?all across the region?as well as among American citizens living here and at home. These fundamental causes include, what every school child in Lebanon has witnessed in one form or another, directly or through relatives or friends. That is the massive US weapon supplies delivered to Israel , used to repeatedly and ferociously attack Lebanese civilians, killing more than 30,000, wounding more than 200,000, and displacing more than two million, during a quarter century of Israel’s use of American weapons against Lebanon.
In addition to regularly unleashing and green lighting Israeli aggression against Lebanon, there is the continuing and ever evolving ‘Embassy Beirut’ based Welsh Club “ Lebanon Project List” (LPL) which lengthened in early 2005 and endures following Mr. Welsh’s retirement in 2009 . It is from this informal unit that State Department lawyers urged the White House to establish the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (UNSCR 1757) under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
“The duty not to intervene in matters within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, in accordance with the UN Charter.” UN Declaration Concerning Friendly Relations among States.
At various times joint US-Israeli Welch Club projects included plans for an airbase to be shared with Israel and NATO at Kleit near the Sunny area of Akkar as part of a ‘Northern Sunni army’ to confront Southern Shia Hezbollah; moving the US Embassy and its electronic equipment to a hillside overlooking Dahiyeh with the capacity to listen in on virtually to all conversations and watch the movements of many Hezbollah officials; setting up Druze leader Walid Jumblatt as front man to confront the Resistance over ts secure telecommunications system, and one of their supporters in charge of aspects of Beirut airport security; to helping bring in Salafists, among others and implanting them in certain areas including Nahr al Bared and Ein el Helwe Palestinian Refugee camps; igniting, at every opportunity, sectarian tensions among, Sunni, Shia and various Christian sects; labeling certain media outlets, and publishing the names of their investors, and social service organizations as “terrorists’;channeling USAID projects, to chosen sects rather than on the basis of equality for all Lebanese; and more than a dozen projects to keep Lebanon divided, and weakened in its capacity to confront Israeli aggression, or to emerge from its history of domination by foreign powers.
In addition, ‘Embassy Beirut’ continues to function as salon and sounding board for all many of schemes to re-shape Lebanon to Israel’s liking, including this week’s confirmation of the earlier rumored Israeli-backed Saudi brainstorm to establish an “All Arab Force” to invade Lebanon and fight Hezbollah.
US interference on behalf of Israel, even to the degree of a willingness to cede Lebanese sovereign territory to Israel, allow daily air and sea invasions of Lebanese sovereignty, has sown strife in Lebanon. It is not some leaked Embassy cables that prevents “better ties between Washington and Beirut” which Undersecretary Feltman and no fewer than 43 visiting US officials have bleated to Lebanese media about over the past several years.
It was on April 17, 1983, after a similar intense period of US Embassy meddling in Lebanese internal affairs and using its diplomatic compound as a base to support one pro-Israeli Lebanese faction that many innocents were killed because the US Embassy had become a virtual command center and hence a legitimate military target.
FRANKLIN LAMB is doing research in Lebanon and is reachable c/o email@example.com