The Battle for UNIFIL's Independence in Southern Lebanon

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Matthew Levitt and Assaf Orion - The UN secretary-general's latest report on UNIFIL - published July 13 - documented many of the Hizbullah violations that are responsible for raising tensions on the border with Israel this year. The report details 18 cases of attacks, harassment, impeded movement, and prohibited access against UN peacekeepers, an average of 4.2 incidents per month between January and May. Hizbullah has doubled its pressure on UNIFIL in the past two years. After Pvt. Sean Rooney, a UNIFIL peacekeeper from Ireland, was killed in December, surveillance camera footage showed armed men surrounding his patrol and declaring, "We are Hizbullah." The report notes that "the Lebanese Armed Forces continued to object to some patrol routes proposed by UNIFIL to expand its presence outside main routes and municipal centers." In response, UNIFIL has limited its activity to main roads and municipal centers, leaving most other "locations of interest" unmonitored. UNIFIL commanders on the ground have thus far capitulated to Hizbullah coercion and Lebanon's collusion. Matthew Levitt is director of the Washington Institute's Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Assaf Orion, an International Fellow of the Washington Institute, is a former head of the IDF Strategic Planning Division.

2023-09-28 00:00:00

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