Sunday, February 10, 2013

10-Feb-13: Remember this when the fighting reignites in Southern Lebanon

Belgian de-miners in southern Lebanon and
government minister Pieter De Crem [Image Source]
We have posted several times in the last few days about the need for Hezbollah's European operations to be made illegal. The European Union has been bashful about stating openly why it continues to tolerate activities on its soil that provide invaluable support - financial, diplomatic, moral - for the terrorists who are the de facto rulers of Lebanon.

One of the reasons they can do that is that reports like the one below just don't make it onto the morning news in France, Germany and the UK. That's a great shame.

From Lebanon's Daily Star, this report today:

S. Lebanon residents snatch memory card belonging to UNIFIL
February 09, 2013 06:23 PM | SIDON, Lebanon: Residents of south Lebanon briefly blocked a road in front of Belgian peacekeepers Saturday and stole a memory card belonging to one of the patrol’s members, security sources told The Daily Star. After the Belgian unit, specialized in demining, took pictures of a mine field in the Marjayoun village of Mais al-Jabal and was on its way out of the area, residents in their car blocked the path of a vehicle belonging to the Belgium contingent of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon, the sources said. The residents then stole a memory card of a camera that belonged to the peacekeepers. The sources said there was no physical confrontation between the residents and the peacekeepers. Items belonging to UNFIL have been taken off its members in the past. The head of the U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Paulo Serra, has warned against intercepting UNIFIL patrols and confiscating their equipment, saying that such actions are not only illegal, they could escalate, endangering both soldiers and civilians. [more]
The wording of this report is exceedingly odd when you think for a moment. The 'good guys' in the Daily Star ought to be the peacekeepers from UNIFIL. They're there to... keep the peace. The bad guys are the 'residents' who blocked the road with their car, and then somehow managed to not only persuade the Belgian soldiers to stop and talk with them but also extracted "a memory card of a camera that belonged to the peacekeepers". This, in a area laced with lethal landmines


Items belonging to UNFIL have been taken off its members in the past? Really? How often? What kind of items? By "residents"? What kind of abuse of the term 'peacekeeping' is it when armed soldiers are unable to keep their cameras out of the grasp of the locals? And about those locals, everyone tuned in to what is happening in southern Lebanon knows non-uniformed Hezbollah forces are deeply entrenched in the villages of that area.  And before anyone accuses of us being unfair to the Belgianspretty much the same thing happened with the Italian UNIFIL contingent just a month ago [see report from Islam Times]. And to the UNIFIL Finns at about the same time [see Daily Star again].

Belgian UNIFIL serviceman with villagers. We're betting these
ladies are not the residents who roadblocked the soldiers and
liberated their camera's memory card [Image Source]
While we dwell on what's really going on up north and what lies behind the almost near-unintelligible reports, let's think back to something that appeared here a few weeks ago. 

We noted [see "13-Jan-13: A French contribution to stopping the terrorists"] the words of the commander in chief of those UNIFIL soldiers:
Gen. Alberto Asarta, the Spanish general who for the past three years has served as commander of UNIFIL forces in southern Lebanon, calls the area of southern Lebanon under his operational control "the best and most stable in the whole of the Middle East".  Asarta attributes the extraordinary "stability" in the area to Hezbollah’s cooperation with UNIFIL and Hezbollah’s willingness to play host to the UNIFIL presence.
At the time, we said it was hard to escape the conclusion that the man in charge of the UN forces charged with keeping the Hezbollah terrorist forces away from the Israeli border, and to prevent yet another massive Hezbollah arms-buildup in southern Lebanon's villages, comes across as a not-so-secret admirer of Hezbollah.

Some 15 months ago, we wrote here [see "23-Nov-11: So tell us again: this is why peacekeepers are sent to the area?"] that in reality, far from preventing hostilities, UNIFIL has played a marginal role in blocking the jihadists from massively arming and planting themselves inside southern Lebanon's towns and using the Lebanese population as a human shield. Despite this, its mission was extended by the UN's Security Council to the end of August 2012, in part because
"deployment together with the Lebanese Armed Forces has helped to establish a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon". 
Recall that UNIFIL's mission is to
monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.
Belgium's defence minister, Pieter De Crem, paid a field visit to the mine-clearing team this past September. The photograph at the top of this post, from a Belgian website, comes with this text:
Mr De Crem met the Lebanese President Michel Suleiman in Beirut today. After the meeting, Pieter De Crem announced that he will propose the council of ministers to extend the Belgian mission until the end of 2013. "The President praised our work in the area", Mr De Crem said. If the Belgian soldiers have their stay extended, they will probably be given a new challenge [more]
We're confident the intentions of the Belgian servicemen in the field - and this is probably true of most of the UNIFIL foot soldiers - are honorable. But we wonder how much good is being done in light of the instructions they seem to get. 

When a UNIFIL convoy was bombed in southern Lebanon this past summer, this source, quoting Israeli defence sources, said it was a message to the peacekeeping force to scale back its operations against Hizbollah. As we wrote in November 2011, the message appears to have been well received in Europe.


Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Here is a blog post on the kidnapping of four Italian journalists. They were released the same day. This event happened in January and it too got little attention -- outside Italy.

This Ongoing War said...

So Eliyahu, did the attack on the Italian journalists, right under the noses of Italian military personnel in the service of the UN, create an uproar in Italy?

Anonymous said...

The UN soldiers should be allowed to shoot to kill when required. This should be made widely known to the populaces they serve in.