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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Some disturbing news from Lebanon

A comment in Le Figaro today that outlines some of the issues regarding UNIFIL facing French President-elect Nicolas Sarcozy also has some disturbing news about what's been going on in southern Lebanon lately.

Hat Tip: Nathan in Teaneck, New Jersey
The Shi'i militia, Hezbollah, is rearming north of the River Litani. For its part, Tsahal continues its flights over the Land of the Cedars: averting an incident detrimental to France's UNIFIL blue helmets will be one of Nicolas Sarkozy's priorities.

On three occasions in recent weeks, the political authorities in Tel Aviv have denied General Gadi Eisenkot, chief of the North Israel military region, authority to attack, not far from the Syrian border with Lebanon, trucks carrying weapons for Hezbollah arriving from Damascus. "This time the satellite photos that the Israelis showed us seem conclusive," according to a diplomat close to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has again voiced his "concern" about this forbidden traffic.


France maintains discreet political and security contacts with a group that it does not consider a terrorist organization. But in this connection, too, Nicolas Sarkozy will have to clarify his relations with the Party of God. This, particularly since Hezbollah is suspected of having established a new line of defence north of the River Litani, hitherto within the UNIFIL zone. Bunkers capable of concealing trucks have apparently been excavated to replace those destroyed in the South. In the East, armed individuals have also been observed reaching camouflaged positions. Confronted with a Hezbollah preparing to confront Tsahal again, and with Lebanese authorities impotent because of the ongoing paralysis of the institutions, UNIFIL fears "another fool's game." During their six months patrolling southern Lebanon its bloodhounds have discovered over a hundred bunkers, some of them cunningly established alongside UNIFIL positions, and a great many arms caches concealed under mosques and soccer pitches. To coordinate their attacks on Tsahal, militiamen have even established a telephone network independent of the Lebanese postal service! "How could the Beirut government have been unaware of all that?" one senior UNIFIL official asked; he suspects Hezbollah of concealing weapons in the cellars of homes in southern Lebanon, to which blue helmets do not have access. "We could be unaware of many things," this UN official complained.
And you wonder why Israel hit so many 'civilian targets' last summer?


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