Josh Wood

A journalist's observations on Lebanon and elsewhere

Trouble Down South – Continued

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Last night Abu Dhabi’s The National ran a story by their Beirut correspondent Mitchell Prothero in which he said that Hezbollah military commanders spoke of the organization’s role in the recent attacks on UNIFIL patrols as a response organized to counter what they saw as “spying”.

Here’s an excerpt:

We consider these villages to be closed military zones that Unifil is only welcome to enter with the assistance of the Lebanese army,” the commander said. “We discovered unescorted French Unifil members taking photographs in alleys and of houses used by the resistance, so we now demand they be confined to their bases unless they are escorted by the army.”

It’s strange that Hezbollah would confirm something like this to the media. Attacking the UN is a little frowned upon – not something anybody really wants to be associated with.

If true, this plays right into Israel’s hands – the “terrorist” organization attacking UN peacekeepers so that it can maintain its weapon stashes in civilian areas and blatantly violating UNSC resolution 1701.  Israel’s latest release of previously classified intel is already been seen as a part of Israel’s preparations for “the next war” as JPost put it here.

The latest release is just one of the latest steps in Israel’s new PR war.  They’re showing Hezbollah as the (really) bad guys and already explaining collateral damage in any future conflict with the Party of God.  Fadlallah’s death gave pro-Israel organizations the chance to vehemently attack “terror sympathizers” such as Octavia Nasr (fired from CNN this week over a tweet where she wrote that she respected Fadlallah) and the UK’s ambassador to Lebanon Francis Guy (who wrote a blog post that didn’t paint the cleric as a bloodthirsty terrorist).  This is seemingly diverting attention away from incidents that have damaged Israel’s image lately, such as the killings of activists aboard the Mavi Marmara.  Israel is trying to make itself look like a victim once again and return to how much of the international community has mostly viewed the state.

UNIFIL spokesman Neeraj Singh said earlier today that an Israeli withdrawal from Ghajar would help reduce tensions – while that could be true, negotiations for Ghajar is a whole other story.

UPDATE:

The fire got to Frances Guy too, she has now been removed from her post as the UK’s ambassador to Lebanon.  See here

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Written by woodenbeirut

July 9, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Hezbollah, UNIFIL

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