Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reuters silent on Hezbollah's flouting of international law

When the United Nations acts in accordance with Reuters own political persuasions, the news agency lauds and liberally cites the august body as the ultimate arbiter of international law.  Like a fair-weather friend however, Reuters gives the UN the cold shoulder when resolutions passed in the Security Council undermine the agency's agenda.

Take for example, this story by Reuters correspondent Yara Bayoumy reporting on a demonstration in Beirut by thousands of Lebanese calling for the disarmament of the terror group Hezbollah:
(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of supporters of Lebanon's toppled premier Saad al-Hariri rallied in Beirut on Sunday, calling for the Shi'ite group Hezbollah which ousted him to put its weapons under state control.
The demonstration in Martyrs' Square was intended as a show of strength for the billionaire Sunni politician, who has gone into opposition after the collapse in January of his fractious 14-month unity government, which included Hezbollah ministers.
"It is impossible for weapons to stay raised against the will of a democratic people and against the truth," Hariri told the crowd, who waved Lebanese flags and banners of his Future Movement.
"We want to put (weapons) under the control and authority of the state because it's the army which protects us all."
Bayoumy's story gives readers the false impression that the dispute over Hebollah's weapons is purely internal to Lebanese politics and that Hezbollah may have just cause, owing to historical precedent and "defense", to keep its arsenal:  
Hezbollah, the only Lebanese faction allowed to keep its weapons after the 1975-90 civil war, says it needs them to defend Lebanon from possible Israeli attack. Israel and Hezbollah fought to a standstill in a 34-day war in 2006.
Bayoumy entirely omits mention of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 following the 2006 war with Israel that forbids the positioning of any weaponry, other than that controlled by the Lebanese army, south of the Litany River and further calls on the Lebanese government to compel the disarmament of Hezbollah.  Nor does Bayoumy mention previous UN resolutions 1559 and 1680 that mandate the disarming and disbanding of all militia groups in Lebanon.

One might think that information relevant in a story on the debate over Hezbollah's weapons.  Not Reuters apparently.

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