Monday, July 31, 2006

Why bomb UN observers? (Stuart Elliott)

Stuart Elliott explains the obvious (which is often a necessary and useful activity). --Jeff Weintraub
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Stuart Elliott (New Appeal to Reason)
Monday, July 31, 2006
Why bomb UN observers?

A leading left-wing economist asked on his listserve "why bomb UN observers?" When writing on the US economy, this economist is long on research, when it comes the Middle East it's another story. Some members of the list have engaged in all sorts of wild speculation.

It's actually amazingly simply to find the explanation. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL] has a website and issues press releases, which can be found here.

I've excerpted some of the reports which appear below. I've added emphasis (bold + italics) to highlight the portions indicating Hezbollah firing from spots near the UN posts or on UN posts.

This is, as Jeff Weintraub, might put it, intended to be a small, modest contribution to lifting the fog of war and the smoke of bias.

July 20
Hezbollah firing was also reported from the immediate vicinity of the UN positions in Naqoura and Maroun Al Ras areas at the time of the incidents.

July 24
One unarmed UN military observer, a member of the Observer Group Lebanon (OGL), was seriously wounded by small arms fire in the patrol base in the Marun Al Ras area yesterday afternoon. According to preliminary reports, the fire originated from the Hezbollah side during an exchange with the IDF.

July 25
This morning, Hezbollah opened small arms fire at a UNIFIL convoy consisting of two armored personnel carriers (APC) on the road between Kunin and Bint Jubayl. There was some damage to the APCs, but no casualties, and the convoy was obliged to return to Kunin.

July 26
Another UN position of the Ghanaian battalion in the area of Marwahin in the western sector was also directly hit by one mortar round from the Hezbollah side last night. The round did not explode, and there were no casualties or material damage. Another 5 incidents of firing close to UN positions from the Israeli side were reported yesterday. It was also reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions at Alma ash Shab, Tibnin, Brashit, and At Tiri.

The number of troops in some Ghanaian battalion positions is somewhat reduced because of the increased safety risk for the troops due to frequent incidents of Hezbollah firing from the vicinity of the positions, and shelling and bombardment close to the positions from the Israeli side.

July 27
Hezbollah firing was also reported from the immediate vicinity of the UN positions in Naqoura and Maroun Al Ras areas at the time of the incidents.

July 28
There were two direct impacts on UNIFIL positions from the Israeli side in the past 24 hours. Eight artillery and mortar rounds impacted inside an Indian battalion position in the area of Hula, causing extensive material damage, but no casualties. One artillery round impacted the parameter wall of the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura. There were five other incidents of firing close to UN positions from the Israeli side. It was also reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of five UN positions at Alma Ash Shab, At Tiri, Bayt Yahoun, Brashit, and Tibnin.

July 29
There were two incidents of firing close to UNIFIL positions from the Israeli side in the area of Marwahin and Deir Mimess in the past 24 hours. At the same time, it was reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of six UN positions at Tibnin (2), At Tiri, Beit Yahoun, and Alma Ash Shab (2). UNIFIL strongly protested all these incidents to the Israeli and Lebanese authorities respectively.

July 30
It was reported that Hezbollah fired rockets from the vicinity of three UN positions in the area of Tibnin, At Tiri and Brashit. They also fired small arms fire from the vicinity of two UN positions in the area of Alma Ash Shab and Al Duhayyra. UNIFIL strongly protested all these incidents to the Israeli and Lebanese authorities.
It was reported that Hezbollah fired rockets from the vicinity of this UNIFIL position prior to the aerial bombardment. Hezbollah also fired small arms fire from the vicinity of the same position. They also fired rockets from the vicinity of two UNIFIL positions in the area of Tibnin and At Tiri in the central sector. There was one more incident of firing from the Israeli side close to UNIFIL position in the area of Mays al Jabal, when 10 tank rounds impacted 100 meters from the UN position. UNIFIL strongly protested all these incidents to the Israeli and Lebanese authorities respectively.

July 31
Two tank rounds from the Israeli side impacted directly on a UNIFIL position in the general area of Hula yesterday afternoon, causing extensive material damage, including the ammunition shelter, but no casualties. One aerial bomb impacted in the vicinity of a UN position in the area of Alma Ash Shab yesterday morning, causing damage to the parameter wall. It was reported that Hezbollah fired rockets from the vicinity of this UNIFIL position prior to the aerial bombardment. Hezbollah also fired small arms fire from the vicinity of the same position. They also fired rockets from the vicinity of two UNIFIL positions in the area of Tibnin and At Tiri in the central sector.

(My computer has been a little balky today, so it possible I have some of the segments under the wrong date. If anyone catches an error, please let me know.)
// posted by Stuart @ 2:39 PM

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