|Israel Resource Review
||6th August, 2006
Press Briefing by National Security Advisor Steve Hadley -
Graciously Allowing Israel to Defend Itself, Only When Attacked
[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: "if Hezbollah does not cease all attacks, as the
resolution will call for it to do, and does attack Israeli forces in
southern Lebanon, they're going to have to have the right to defend
Mr. Hadley graciously agrees that the IDF does not have to turn the other
cheek when attacked but it isn't clear what the meaning of "defend
Strictest definition: Hezbollah forces can prepare to attack IDF positions
to their heart's desire free from concern that the IDF will pre-empt their
attack. Once Hezbollah does in fact attack, the IDF can return fire only as long as the firefight continues. The moment that the Hezbollah forces
disengage the IDF force is no longer engaged in self defense if it continues firing or chasing the retreating Hezbollah forces.
The above description may sound incredible to those reading this who are now familiar with some of the more bizarre arrangements Israel has found itself involved in with the Palestinians. The "hudna" that many in Washington were so fond of allowed the Palestinians to "lock and load" as long as they didn't pull the trigger - and when they did pull the trigger it was explained that it was the activity of forces not part of the mainstream and thus had no significance vis-a-vis the "hudna" as a whole.]
Press Briefing by National Security Advisor Steve Hadley
Crawford Middle School
9:00 A.M. CDT
MR. HADLEY: Good morning. I'd be glad to answer any questions you folks
Q Steve, how are you going to get Hezbollah to sign on to this cessation of
MR. HADLEY: The resolution will call for the Lebanese government and the
Israeli government to accept the framework of a political arrangement that
will be set out in this first resolution. And also, of course, to accept
this call for a cessation, a full cessation of hostilities, which means
Hezbollah attacks to stop and Israeli offensive operations to stop.
It's really going to be the Lebanese government that is going to have to setout and accept the arrangement on behalf of the Lebanese people. As you
know, Hezbollah is a part of that government. They will have to take on that responsibility. In addition, of course, we are asking those countries with influence on Hezbollah to send a clear message, and that would be
particularly Iran and Syria, to send a clear message to Hezbollah that it
needs to accept the will of the international community and support the
decision made by the Lebanese government.
I think it's interesting if you have a situation where the international
community is calling for a full cessation of hostilities supported by the
Lebanese government -- it was supported by the Israeli government, and
Hezbollah says no, that will tell you something about who wants peace and
who does not, and that will be a clarifying moment.
I think it's important to say that if, when this first resolution is
adopted -- which we hope will be tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday morning -- I don't think you'll see an instantaneous end to the violence. As you know, historically, these cease-fires take some time to go into effect,
particularly if, unfortunately, Hezbollah were to reject it.
But we would want, in any event, to move towards a second resolution,
because everybody, I think, understands how this needs to end up -- which is that the Lebanese government needs to be able to exert it's authority
throughout the country; the Lebanese army needs to be able to move south and take control of that territory, which it has not done and has not had for the last several years; and that it is going to need help to do so. And that's what the UNIFIL force, the United Nations force that is now there can do -- but also, the multinational force is so important to strengthen the hand of the Lebanese army when it moves into southern Lebanon, and to give Israel some assurance that if Israel then pulls out, Hezbollah will not come back in.
So everybody knows that's where that needs to end up. We need a second
resolution to get there, and that's why once the first resolution is
adopted, we will try and move very quickly towards a second resolution.
Q Steve, is the administration now going to talk to Iran and Syria to make
this point, and try to have some back-and-forth with them? As you know, many
of your critics say you haven't been talking to your enemies, who actually
hold the key to this.
MR. HADLEY: Well, in some sense, you know, every time someone like me gets
up and talks and says what they've just said, we've sent a message to Syria
and Iran. I mean, it's not as if they don't hear what has been said.
Secondly, in terms of both of these countries, there are a number of
countries that are sending the same message. That's really been an approach
we have had both with respect to Syria and Iran, to try and get the
international community and as many countries as we can sending the same
message to Syria and Iran.
In terms of Iran, as you know, we are very anxious to enter into a
discussion with Iran on their nuclear program. And we have proposed to do so
if they will simply do what the international community, what the Europeans,
who have been handling the diplomacy with them have called for, what the
IAEA Board of Governors have called for, which is to suspend their nuclear
So we would like very much to be entering into a discussion with Iran on
that issue and potentially other issues. But they've got to take a step to
show that they are willing to come into compliance with the international
Q On this particular issue, though, I know Syria says they don't want to be just sent messages, they want to have a conversation about that. Is the
administration open to that?
MR. HADLEY: Throughout the firs term of this administration and into the
second, we have had ongoing, very high-level discussions with Syria. They
involved Secretary of State Powell, they involved Deputy Secretary Armitage, they involved Bill Burns, who was then Assistant Secretary of State. Those were a bit interrupted after the murder of Rafik Hariri, and evidence that the Syrian government may have been responsible for that. And at that point, we withdrew our ambassador. But we continue to have an embassy there, we continue to have a charge who does have -- attempt to have conversations with the Syrian government.
So the problem really is not that we haven't had conversations; the problem is we have not had action out of the Syrian government. It has been very clear what the international community has asked it to do. For example, with
respect to Lebanon, there are three Security Council resolutions -- 1559,
1595*, 1680 -- all make clear what the parties need to do, including Syria.
The problem isn't that Syria doesn't know what the international community
is requiring of it -- the problem is Syria isn't doing it, that Syria is not
Syria has a choice to do what the international community has asked -- to
come into increasing relations in the international community, or to defy
the international community and to continue to isolate itself and to become
a handmaiden of Iran, which is really what they've become. And so the
problem is not that Syria doesn't know what's being asked of it, it's not
that a lot of people aren't talking to them, it's not that we haven't been
talking to them over the years -- the problem is they're making choices,
they're making bad choices. They need to make different choices.
Q Mr. Hadley, you say the first resolution won't bring about an
instantaneous end to the violence, it's going to take a second resolution
that will bring in this international force. Given that, when do you
anticipate that we'll get a vote on the second resolution? And how soon do
you expect a force to be able to get in there to back up the Lebanese army?
MR. HADLEY: We would hope -- let me just be clear: We would hope that the
first resolution would, over time, result in the cessation of violence. It
will call on the parties to do what I said: Hezbollah to stop its attacks,
Israel to stop its offensive military operations. But I'm just saying as a
practical matter, as you sort of look forward and try and anticipate what
might happen, we know, historically, that even if all parties agree to the
cease-fire, it takes time for it to come into place. And we want to move
very quickly, in any event, towards the second resolution. Our hope is that
it would be days, not weeks. The long pole in the tent, as they say, of
course, is the formation of this multinational force that takes some time.
And, quite frankly, that's why we had to divide it into two resolutions, so
that we could get the violence down, while we took the time that's going to
be required to put together this multinational force. We hope we're going to
do it as quickly as we can, but these things are difficult. We also hope,
let me just say, that the adoption of the first resolution will free up the
international community and a number of folks who may contribute to that
force to be able to focus on that effort and put together the force as
quickly as we can.
Q And just so we understand, the U.S. still has no intention of contributing
forces to that force?
MR. HADLEY: We have talked about supporting that force, and there are things
that we may be able to do with those kinds of unique capabilities the United
States has -- you know, we've done this before with other forces -- lift,
intelligence, command and control, logistics and those things. But, you
know, given the history, we think that the idea of putting U.S. ground
combat forces on the ground, this probably doesn't make sense; it isn't
going to be something that will be designed to advance the objectives that
the international community and that the President has set for us. So we
think that wouldn't really advance the cause.
Q The resolution calls for Israel to stop its offensive military operations.
But Israeli officials have always said these are defensive maneuvers against
Hezbollah's attacks. So how do you reassure the Lebanese that, short of
having Israeli forces withdraw from Lebanese territory, that Israel would
stop its attacks and stop the violence?
MR. HADLEY: It will be called on to stop its offensive activities. And I
think the choice of that word is to recognize, of course, that if Hezbollah
does not cease all attacks, as the resolution will call for it to do, and
does attack Israeli forces in southern Lebanon, they're going to have to
have the right to defend themselves. That's what that's trying to do.
Q Has Israel had any offensive attacks yet?
MR. HADLEY: I'm sorry?
Q -- described anything so far as being offensive that they've been doing?
Or this has all been defensive, right?
MR. HADLEY: Well, when people talk about offensive military actions they
would be thinking about the air strikes that have occurred out of the
southern area, and they would be thinking about the military operations that
the ground forces have been undertaking. Those, I think, would be, in common
parlance, viewed as offensive military operation.
Q Can you talk to us a little bit about the time you spent with the
President yesterday? How much time did you spend briefing him? And, also,
are there any plans for the President to call any of the other foreign
leaders involved to, perhaps, move things along?
MR. HADLEY: Yes. The Secretary of State and I flew down on an airplane
yesterday, spent most of the time on the phone with Israeli leaders, with
those folks on the ground talking to the Lebanese leaders, because,
obviously, we want to come up with a resolution that is acceptable to the
Security Council and will work, in terms of Lebanon and Israel.
When we got down, we sat down with the President and reported on those
conversations, so he knew exactly where we were. We also reviewed with him
the situation, and, quite frankly, got some pretty clear guidance from him
on the way forward as to how he wanted to proceed in not only the second
resolution, but beyond. He's in the process, obviously, of developing an
overall strategy for the Middle East as to sort of what comes next -- which
is something that the President is good at and encourages us to do: How does
this fit into an overall strategy? We had an opportunity to talk about that
We then went off and did a number of things, in part carrying out what the
President had directed us to do and then to get some additional information.
Before dinner that evening we had another discussion and, in some sense, had
a sort of strategic discussion of: Okay, let's assume we get through the
first and second resolution, where do we head, in terms of the Middle East,
more generally? This kind of a brainstorming session.
He has been in touch with world leaders on this issue, where it is
appropriate and where it will advance the diplomacy. A lot of what's
happening in New York right now is now into the details of draft language,
which is not appropriate for heads of government to be negotiating Security
Council text over the phone.
He did have a good discussion with Prime Minister Blair of the United
Kingdom today. It was comparing notes on where we are, in terms of this
first and second resolution; again, beginning to talk a little bit about the
strategy for the Middle East more generally, after we get through this
current crisis. It was a good conversation; it's a conversation they've had
from time to time, for some time.
Q But no calls on the horizon, either to the Lebanese or Israeli Prime
MR. HADLEY: If it will advance diplomacy, the President will do it.
Q Mr. Hadley, given the ultimate goal of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah -- which
is the destruction of Israel -- what's in it for them to go along with this
resolution at this point in time?
MR. HADLEY: Well, they're going to have to make a decision about how far
they're prepared to go in defying the international community. I think
what's interesting is that the attack by Hezbollah came on the 12th of July,
and by the 16th of July, four days later, you had a G8 statement by the
leaders, the G8 leaders -- these are major industrialized countries -- that
were meeting in St. Petersburg.
And, it's interesting, if you go back and look at that document, it sets out
the framework that we have really been pursuing since then. One of the
things that's very interesting is that it made clear -- unanimously adopted
by France, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, the United States and
Russia -- it made clear that Hezbollah was the offending party. It was an
unprovoked attack on Israel. It was in a position -- it did it in defiance
of the Lebanese government, without informing the Lebanese government, and
it had been able to do so because the Security Council resolutions that I
referred to have not been carried out. And it also made clear that they were
supported by Syria and Iran.
So the international community has made very clear who the offending party
here is. It will now make clear in the Security Council resolutions what
needs to happen to get out of this crisis. It will be calling on all states
to facilitate that process. And Syria and Iran are going to have a choice to
make as to whether they are prepared to try and confront and defy the
Q Again, what is the incentive for them? Despite all of the language that
came out of the G8, the weapons have continued to flow into Lebanon from
Iran, probably elsewhere. So what's, you know, the carrot out there?
MR. HADLEY: Well, part of it is do they want to be increasingly isolated by
the international community; do they want to be in a situation where there
are financial measures and, ultimately, international sanctions imposed
against them. There are sanctions that are available for violations of arms
embargo, for example. There are penalties -- and we've made it clear,
particularly, for example, in the nuclear discussions, that there are two
paths, and if they defy the international community there will be
consequences and sanctions, increasing isolation and increasing difficulty
in doing business and being part of the international community. And the
question is whether they want to walk down that road.
Q But what changes that now? I mean, Iran has been dealing with sanctions
and isolation since --
MR. HADLEY: No, they haven't. On the contrary. Iran is very much integrated
into the international community. We have had sanctions on Iran, but the
international community has not, the Europeans have not. It's interesting,
Iran is a different case than North Korea, which has already isolated
itself. Iran has not. Iran has commercial relations, it has diplomatic
relations, it sees itself as a regional power and a global power. And the
question is whether it wants to go in a situation where the international
community basically turns its back on Iran. That would be a situation we've
never had before.
And, indeed, one of the things that has been, I believe, this President's
achievement has been if you look at where we were with the Europeans in the
1990s about our views on Iran, it was not a shared conception. The
Europeans, the Russians did not view Iran as a threat, let alone the
strategic threat that it has become. And one of the things this President
has done is get to the point where we have now the whole international
community saying Iran is making a strategic challenge to us all by its
support for terror, by its supporting Hezbollah, for the kinds of things we
see in Lebanon, by the way it treats its own people, by its pursuit of
nuclear weapons. Think about how difficult this crisis would be now if Iran
had a nuclear weapon.
And what we're heartened by is the international community is beginning to
understand what is at stake in the broader context of this current struggle.
That's why the G8 report and statement was so important. That's why it's
been interesting that Russia has gone from supporting Iran's nuclear program
to, in recent years, cooperating with the rest of us in trying to rein that
So there has been a sea change, and Iran needs to take that into account. It
is really confronting the international community. And the international
community is wakening to the challenge.
Q Steve, two quick ones for you. One is, have you had explicit conversations
with Japan and Germany about ultimately imposing international sanctions on
Iran? And the other is, do you need this second resolution -- you said in
days, not weeks, do you need this second resolution to start talking with
the logistics of an international force, or has that already begun?
MR. HADLEY: There have been some conversations, but there's been a
reluctance to do it until we could get and be sure that the international
framework is in place. And so we hope that this first resolution will hasten
Secondly, in terms of sanctions on Iran, as you know, there was an agreement
in the nuclear context that if Iran did not suspend its enrichment
activities and reprocessing activities and come back to the negotiating
table, that there would be action in the U.N. Security Council. There was a
resolution, as you know, adopted a week ago, that says that if Iran does not
comply with what the international community has asked of it by August 31,
it will return to the Security Council under Chapter 7 and under a provision
of Chapter 7 that envisions economic sanctions. So that is already on the
table, with respect to Iran.
Q So you think this consensus will hold, moving out of a nuclear context and
into the Lebanon/Israel context?
MR. HADLEY: We would hope that it would. And we think it's interesting that
in the middle of this Lebanese crisis we did have, I think, the United
Nations Security Council did adopt, by a vote of 14-1 ,the resolution on
Iran's nuclear program. And I think it was, in a way, fortuitous, that it
was a signal to Iran, even in the Lebanese crisis, that the international
community is united on the broader issue of Iran.
Q Mr. Hadley, is there any sense that Hezbollah's military capability has
been weakened as a result of all this fighting?
MR. HADLEY: It's hard to know. I think the answer is that it has been
weakened. That's certainly, I think, what the Israelis think. I think what
is important is that the diplomacy now makes clear that we're not going back
to the status quo ante; that a situation where Hezbollah controls the south,
continues to be armed, basically has a kingdom within a kingdom -- that is
acceptable anymore to the Lebanese government or to the international
And that's what, of course, getting the Lebanese army into the south,
getting the multinational force to support it is all about, to send that
message to Hezbollah that the rules of the game have changed. And we think
that will be a great setback to Hezbollah and a great thing that will
strengthen the Lebanese government, and to become really a sovereign,
democratic government in charge of all of its territory. That's where we
want to go.
Q Can you talk about your plans and Secretary Rice's plans -- how long are
you guys planning to stay here? And she had mentioned that she may not go to
MR. HADLEY: I'm not aware that she said she may not go to New York.
Q She would go if and when it was necessary. Do you know --
MR. HADLEY: Well, I think what we hope is that we've had a good opportunity
to speak with the President yesterday; we will today. We've also been on the
phone pretty constantly working the diplomacy. Our hope would be that in New
York there is agreement on this resolution. And then, of course, the issue
will be whether the foreign ministers will come and sit in the Council to
vote on it or not. I think that's still an issue that's' being worked. But
we would like to get to the point where the resolution could be voted on, on
Monday or Tuesday.
Steve Holland, last question.
Q You've said that the international force is the long pole in the tent.
What are the complications in setting that up?
MR. HADLEY: It's the normal stuff: Who's going to contribute forces, when
will they be ready to move, who's going to lift them to get them into the
theater; once they're in the theater, where do they go. I mean, it's all the
nuts and bolts of moving people and heavy equipment; getting a command and
control, taking disparate pieces and integrating them into a single force
with a unified command and control.
You know, these things are things militaries do -- they just take time,
because they're big movements.
Thanks very much.
Q What is the timeframe for the force? When do you think the force might
MR. HADLEY: We'd like to do it in days, not weeks, but it's going to take
some time. We're going to try and move it as soon as we can, but I can't
give you a timeframe.
Q So by the end of the week?
MR. HADLEY: I can't give you a time.
Q Wait, Steve. Days, not weeks -- that's for the deployment of the force, or
the second resolution?
MR. HADLEY: We would like to have days not weeks for the second resolution,
which would authorize the force. And, obviously, as soon after that as the
force can move, the better, because it's what we all want -- it's what the
international community is going to want, what the Lebanese and the
Israelis -- how many days that is, how long that will take, I can't tell
you. That's what the force planners are going to have to come up with, in
putting this force together.
Q That's what my question was --
MR. HADLEY: I'm sorry.
Q -- the logistics of getting that force together.
MR. HADLEY: I got you. I didn't give you a good answer, I'm sorry.
END 9:23 A.M. CDT
* The correct resolution is 1559.
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