Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lebanon- Peacekeeping with Hizballah's Help | TIME

TIME has an excellent piece on the challenges facing the relatively successful UNIFIL mission in Lebanon. The peacekeepers are apparently being forced to 'shake hands with the devil'- in order to improve their force protection, and reduce further threats from yet another metaphoric devil. The suggestion is that UNIFIL is obliged to maintain contacts with Hizbollah, in order to protect themselves from further Al-Qaeda attacks:

'The contingents comprising the peacekeeping force known as UNIFIL have good cause for concern. Last month, six Spanish and Colombian UNIFIL soldiers were killed in a bomb ambush, the deadliest attack against the peacekeeping mission in its 29-year history. In a video message released this week, Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri hailed the attack as "a response against those invading Crusader forces who were occupying a beloved part of the land of Islam". And, UNIFIL officials fear, given the worsening security situation in Lebanon, there could be more attacks on the way. "The major difficulty we are going to face for sure is this kind of terrorist attack because even if we have no idea yet who could be the perpetrators... another attack can come," Major General Claudio Graziano, UNIFIL's commander, told TIME in an interview at his headquarters in the southern coastal village of Naqoura.'

Whatever contacts may exist between UNIFIL and Hizbollah, there was also another roadside bomb that struck a peacekeeping vehicle, the second such incident in a month.