Powered by WebAds

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Has UNIFIL left southern Lebanon?

With UNIFIL afraid to patrol in the dark and France thinking that Israel is the enemy, it seems clear now that the mission is doomed to failure. It's only a question of time before there is another war between Israel and Hezbullah (and possibly Lebanon as a whole), but this time there will be 20,000 UNIFIL troops in southern Lebanon instead of 2000. Or will there be? From recent reports, one would think that UNIFIL has already left southern Lebanon.

The French announced yesterday that they were "two seconds" away from firing at IAF jets last week. The IAF, of course, was doing reconaissance to see where Hezbullah was smuggling arms. Or was it? YNet reports this morning:
French United Nations troops were "two seconds" away recently from firing at Israeli aircraft diving towards their position in southern Lebanon, Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said in parliament.

"Two seconds later there would have been a shot against the aircraft which were directly menacing our forces," Alliot-Marie said.

"A catastrophe was avoided thanks to the judiciousness of our troops," she added.

The incident occurred on October 31, the defense ministry told AFP, without giving the exact location.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said that a caution would be given to the Israeli authorities, saying that "Israeli flights over southern Lebanon are a source of serious concern".

"When Israeli aircraft recently 'dived' on French UNIFIL soldiers, it is a miracle that nothing serious happened, because there could have been a response on the part of French troops," Douste-Blazy said.

The foreign ministry gave no details on the form that the caution would take.
Normally, when Israeli troops fly over southern Lebanon, they are trying to observe arms movements by Hezbullah. To observe arms movements, you don't usually need to - or want to - dive. But notice, as I highlighted above, that this incident occurred on October 31. On October 31, we know that IAF planes did dive - as they buzzed the Hezbullah stronghold of Dahiye in South Beirut.

Has the French UNIFIL contingent left south Lebanon altogether and moved to Beirut?

In the meantime, we know that the German contingent is not in southern Lebanon. The German Navy is stationed off the Lebanese coast - outside the 12-mile coastline in international waters, thereby allowing arms smugglers to work freely so long as they stay within Lebanese territorial waters. But UPI reports that the Germans are preparing to be attacked anyway:
The German navy patrolling the Lebanese coast is preparing to fend off suicide bombings by speedboats or other small vessels.

Additional machine guns have been mounted atop German frigates that are part of the United Interim Force in Lebanon as a preventive security measure, a German defense ministry spokesman said Monday.

"You know about the asymmetrical threat," the spokesman said Monday in his regular news conference in Berlin. "That also includes the possibility that speedboats carrying explosives race into German ships."

He added that he didn't want to speculate whether that danger was especially high now or not.

"We simply want to be prepared for everything," he said.

A German navy officer said that barrels drifting in the water or individuals in life rafts or on jet skis could pose terror threats, the online daily Netzeitung reported Monday.
I guess that when you have nothing to do with your time, you have a lot of time on your hands to daydream.

In the meantime, the Hezbullah buildup in southern Lebanon continues under the watchful eye of the Israeli Air Force, and Olmert, Peretz and Livni continue to fiddle while awaiting the next crisis.


At 9:18 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

'In the meantime, the Hezbullah buildup in southern Lebanon continues under the watchful eye of the Israeli Air Force, and Olmert, Peretz and Livni continue to fiddle while awaiting the next crisis.'

When is the next election being called? I would compare them to the Three Stoodges, but they where funny, and not a threat to the country. And when Congress reconvenes here? Will the US be any different than Israel is, with the new Congress? Sadly, I have very little hope, and fear that Amb. Bolton will be axed.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

The next election - in my estimation - will be about a year from now. The big obstacle was the budget, and that should now sail through. So long as Olmert manages to keep both Labor and Lieberman in the government, there won't be new elections.

And I am dreading the next US Congress. Robert Byrd as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee? Charlie Rangel as Chairman of House Ways and Means? It doesn't get much worse.

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Michael said...

So UNIFIL is useless. I am so shocked at that. I hope that, when the next round of fighting starts in Lebanon, Israel will be ready, and able to finish the job.

I'm looking forward to the next elections here in Israel; anything has to be better than this.

As for Congress, well, there were a lot of reasons why I left the US.

I like your blog Carl, and linked to it...

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...


Not being able to get rid of those 3, and the new Congress here?

It puts Israel between a rock and a hard place. It will be very telling as we see how President Bush responds to Israel after the new donks take over. I would have really loved seeing Rice kicked out, if he had to kick someone out.

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ny nana, kicking rice out would be nice but I'm afraid W does not have the guts for that.


Post a Comment

<< Home