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Thursday, February 08, 2007

French UNIFIL troops complain of abuse by Lebanese villagers acting on Hezbullah orders

This little tidbit was buried in a Jerusalem Post report on tonight's shooting incident on the Israeli - Lebanese border:
High-ranking officers from the French contingent of UNIFIL have recently complained to their IDF counterparts of being mistreated by Lebanese villagers - under orders from Hizbullah - due to their decision to incorporate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) into daily peacekeeping operations.

The French officers told IDF officers in the Northern Command that under Hizbullah orders, shopkeepers in southern Lebanese villages are not allowed to sell them food or supplies. One officer told the IDF that he went to a store to buy a pair of shoes and that the shopkeeper refused to sell even after he offered to pay double the set price.

In addition to the boycott, the French contingent is also the most threatened force in UNIFIL due to its crackdown on Hizbullah and its employment of UAVs in reconnaissance operations. The French Armed Forces deployed a UAV squadron in southern Lebanon in December to conduct intelligence-gathering missions.

Sources in the Northern Command said that the French contingent - together with Spanish and Italian soldiers - were doing an exemplary job at preventing Hizbullah from reestablishing its terror infrastructure in southern Lebanon and particularly along the Blue Line, international border. The Spanish, French and Italian contingents sources said, were particularly effective in locating and destroying Hizbullah weapon caches.

"Because they are actually doing their job they are being harassed and threatened by Hizbullah," explained an IDF officer in the Northern Command.

UNIFIL spokesman Liam McDowall downplayed the report and said that while there was some low-level friction between UNIIFL soldiers and local Lebanese civilians, it was mostly due to the civilians' difficulty getting used to the new large presence of the peacekeeping force near their homes.
The UNIFIL spokesman is a bit disingenuous. It's been five months since the troops were in place. If it was just a matter of getting used to the troops, the problems would not be starting now.

Who'd a thunk it?

1 Comments:

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Dave in Pa said...

I have as much trouble believing this:

"the French contingent - together with Spanish and Italian soldiers - were doing an exemplary job at preventing Hizbullah from reestablishing its terror infrastructure in southern Lebanon and particularly along the Blue Line, international border"

as I do the UNIFIL spokesman's "there was some low-level friction between UNIFIL soldiers and local Lebanese civilians, it was mostly due to the civilians' difficulty getting used to the new large presence of the peacekeeping force near their homes".

If the French are doing in Lebanon as little as they are doing in Afghanistan-being innocuous and useless, sitting on their, um, assets in a safe area-I'd say Hezbollah has nothing to worry about from leurs amis francais.

 

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