Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Attacks Against UNIFIL Have Graduated From Sticks, Rocks And Egss--To Bombs

UNIFIL's lack of control in Southern Lebanon is not exactly a new story. Last year, matters reached a head when Lebanese villagers disarmed some UNIFIL troops:
Villagers disarmed a French patrol of UN peacekeepers Saturday and attacked them with sticks, rocks and eggs in south Lebanon, in the latest in a string of such incidents, the Lebanese army said.

"Residents of the village of Tuline as well as some villagers from nearby Kabrikha attacked a patrol with sticks and threw stones and eggs," a military spokesman told AFP.

"The citizens disarmed the soldiers and briefly took control of their vehicle before the army intervened and made them move away from the patrol," the spokesman said.
At the time, the UNIFIL itself agreed that the attacks were not spontaneous:
"Some of these [protests] may have been something spontaneous in the street, but some were clearly organized," [UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael] Williams said, singling out one incident that he said involved around 100 people
This was last year.
Now things are getting more deadly. On Friday, a bomb was set off in an attack on UNIFIL
UNIFIL has been bracing itself for some time in expectation of an attack against the peacekeeping force, given the political deadlock in Lebanon and the violence in neighboring Syria. 
UNIFIL officials and diplomats worry that the unclaimed bomb blast on the southern coastal highway near Rmeileh Friday, which wounded six Italian peacekeepers and two civilians, is unlikely to be the last attack against the force.

“With all the tension, we can’t rule out other attacks. It could be just the beginning,” a European diplomat said.
Last year, there were suspicions that the attacks on UNIFIL may have been tied to Hezbollah. Now there are suspicions that the attacks may be tied to Syria, as part of an effort to distract from the protests and increased number of protesters killed.

More than that, there are rumors that a senior Syrian official made explicit threats against UNIFIL, at the same time that France has received warnings against its troops in Southern Lebanon.

The "Arab Spring" is proving as dangerous to foreigners as it is to Muslims

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