Josh Wood

A journalist's observations on Lebanon and elsewhere

Archive for November 2010

UNIFIL 32 Years On

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Nepalese troops patrol near the UN-demarcated Blue Line in Blida, southern Lebanon in early November. Photo by Sam Tarling.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon was first dispatched to southern Lebanon in 1978 to confirm Israel’s withdrawal for the area.  After this much time, the “interim” part of UNIFIL’s title seems a little unnecessary.  Out of UN peacekeeping missions, UNIFIL has been the deadliest. Despite its role of monitoring the precarious divide between Israel and Lebanon and enforcing Security Council Resolution 1701 – which ended the 2006 war – UNIFIL doesn’t get talked about too too much.

In yesterday’s International Herald Tribune I wrote an article about UNIFIL’s balance between mission and the local population.  See it here: U.N. Peacekeepers Walk Fine Line in Lebanon’s South

For more stuff on UNIFIL, try reading Joshua Hersh‘s August piece from the Abu Dhabi-based paper The National here or my piece on UNIFIL’s economy in Executive Magazine here.

Sam Tarling was along for my latest jaunt into southern Lebanon as usual and had a nice picture run in yesterday’s paper, though not on the online version.  I’ll try to get a PDF of the actual page up soon.

Written by woodenbeirut

November 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Election Season in Egypt

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Photo from Executive Magazine

In one week’s time, on November 28, Egypt will go to the polls in the country’s parliamentary elections.   With next year’s (planned) presidential elections likely to be akin to those we have seen in Egypt before, this week’s contest will be the only real shot that the opposition has at gaining some ground.

I have a commentary in this month’s Executive Magazine looking at Mohamed ElBaradei’s dangerous boycott gamble and what it all means.  Check it out here.

Things in Egypt are already heating up.  Though the Egyptian government has officially pledged itself to free and fair elections, crackdowns have already started, most notably with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s main opposition party.  Police brutality – whether linked to the election or not – has stepped up too.  Earlier this month, 20-year-old Ahmed Shaaban disappeared earlier this month in Alexandria and turned up dead last week – allegedly killed by police. The authors of the Shaaban article in Daily News Egypt, Ian Lee and Jon Jensen were themselves detained and relieved of their cameras at a National Democratic Party office in Cairo just last night.

The elections should be interesting.  I’m off to Dubai at the end of the week but should make it to Alexandria and Cairo during the first week of December to get a little post-election coverage.

Written by woodenbeirut

November 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Egypt