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January 8, 2008

Rockets From Lebanon Hit Israel, Welcome Bush

So how's that new and improved UNIFIL force working out in southern Lebanon? About as well as the old version, apparently, as rockets rained down on an Israeli town from the sub-Litani region that Hezbollah controls. The UN force appears to have little effect on the terrorist group's ability to launch missiles at Israeli civilians:

Two Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon struck a northern Israeli town late last night causing no injuries, an Israeli police spokesman said, the first such attacks by Lebanese militants in six months.

The attack came on the day before President Bush is scheduled to arrive in Israel in support of ongoing peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The rockets struck near a home in the western Galilee town of Shlomi, a few miles from the Lebanon border. One rocket struck a road leading into the town, said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld, and the other struck nearby. Residents told wire services that a third rocket had struck a home in the same area, but security officials could not confirm those reports.

George Bush is getting quite the welcome from the radical Islamists. Iran conducted a provocative naval exercise that almost started a shooting war in the Straits of Hormuz. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has staged a number of suicide bombings in Iraq. Now Hezbollah launched missiles against northern Israel. Does anyone feel that all of this sudden activity is coincidental, or a coordinated effort to intimidate regional leadership from cooperating with the US?

And who might be behind all of this activity if it isn't coincidental? Iran and Syria make pretty good suspects in that regard. Both help run Hezbollah, and Syria has its contacts with AQI.

However, the ability for both to use Hezbollah for such provocations, even apart from any larger stategy, demonstrates the useless of UNIFIL. The UN left the expanded force as its solution to the last Israel-Lebanon War, even though almost twenty years of previous UNIFIL missions allowed Hezbollah to build its arsenal. The latest version stood and watched as Hezbollah rebuilt it, with help (again) from Damascus and Teheran. Now they will stand and watch while Hezbollah fires their rockets at Israelis, only missing the murder of civilians because of poor marksmanship.

The UN has no business in supposed peacekeeping until it uses rules of engagement that actually prevent thugs from conducting terrorist attacks. Clearly, UNIFIL shows that the UN has not reached that state, and that they only make the situation worse by doing nothing. The US should insist on the disbanding of UNIFIL, if only to keep European troops from becoming inadvertent targets in the next Israel-Lebanon war that UNIFIL has enabled with their refusal to enforce UNSC resolution 1701.

UPDATE: Looks like Hezbollah's tiring of the UNIFIL squads, too. A Spanish patrol just got hit by a roadside bomb south of Beirut. Those are usually remote detonated, so the bombers likely targeted the UNIFIL force. Will the UN respond -- or will they pull out, as they did in Iraq?


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