Friday, July 28, 2006

Lewis MacKenzie Refuted

Since Lewis Mackenzie's CBC appearance yesterday morning, many Conservative commentators have been pushing the line that the ill-fated U.N. outpost was hit by the Israelis because the area was being used as cover by Hezbollah. However, Timur Goksel, a veteran peacekeeper who spent years acting as a liaison between the UNIFIL observer mission in south Lebanon and the Israeli army, disagrees with this assessment:

[Goksel] dismissed the possibility that it was Lebanon's Hezbollah militia that had placed the UN position in danger by using the area around the Khiyam observation post to fire rockets into Israel.

He said that since UNIFIL's mandate is to immediately report any cross-border military activity, firing from near Khiyam would result in Israel immediately knowing where Hezbollah was firing from.

The Globe Story this quote is from also gives an interesting insight into the history of UNIFIL/IDF relations. Once, in less partisan times, some in the IDF had an appreciation for the job U.N. observers were performing.

And, finally, a word about the now famous e-mail MacKenzie references. It ends as follows:

This [the Israeli shelling] has not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity.

Mackenzie interprets this as indicating that previous Israeli near-misses were aimed at Hezbollah targets near the obsrvation post, and his reading has been taken up by the Conservative media (for example here) as meaning that the Israelis were going after Hezbollah targets on the day the outpost was obliterated.

Well, firstly, a lot of this rides on Mackenzie's interpretation of the "veiled language", and I would certainly like to get a second opinion on what Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener meant by the line in question. Secondly, this does not prove anything about the day of the fatal attack, written as it was a week previous. The second attack consisted of about six to eight hours of shelling, and then a couple of laser guided bombs to finish the place off, and then more shelling when U.N. soldiers from India came around to dig out the bodies. to me, that still doesn't look accidental.


RobfromAlberta said...

He said that since UNIFIL's mandate is to immediately report any cross-border military activity, firing from near Khiyam would result in Israel immediately knowing where Hezbollah was firing from.

That assumes the UN would pass any such report on to the Israelis. Given that the UN considers Israel to be a rogue state, I see such a scenario as highly unlikely. At best, reports of illegal Hezbollah activity would reach Israel by way of the US and by then, the intelligence would likely be too old to be useful.

bigcitylib said...

Rob, The Globe Story also sontains this remark:

"Mr. Goksel said that...UNIFIL had good relations with senior Israeli officials, who saw the international force as providing a "free service" by monitoring Hezbollah activities..."

Anonymous said...

I'll take Lew's word as being the accurate account.

And if I was an Israeli commander and I was getting fired at, I wouldn't give a flying fuck where it was coming from, UN site, mosque, school - I'd shoot back to protect my troops. So when a bunch of Hisbullah terrorists set up positions on a UN site - that should have been abondoned by the UN as soon as heavy fighting started - and use it is a cover for trying to kill me, I'd toast their assess regardless.

Its Kofi's fault - the UN acted criminally . . .

MB said...

General Lew is right. HVK was using the veiled speech that is used on missions like this.

However, note that the UN's job in these situations is to spy on both sides, so it is not unreasonable for both side to see the UN with suspicion. In this case, Hez should appreciate the UN more, as they would have less resources to spy on the Israelis, so would likely gain more info from UN reports.

Note that the UN does not use secure communications, (it has nothing to hide) soeveryone can hear any reports. I am sure the Israelis get our suff before UN HQ.

I have little experience with the front line Israeli troops, but the higher ups and the liason people treat the UN with respect, as is to be expected. However, that does not mean they don't try their various little tricks. Both sides have their interests and know that the UN may not be compatible with them.

Anonymous said...

The United Nations has decided to remove unarmed observers from their posts along the Israeli-Lebanese border, moving them in with the peacekeeping force in the area, a spokesman said Friday. The decision came three days after one of the posts of the observer force, known as UNTSO, was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike earlier this week, killing four, and ten full days after the United Nations was notified by its own forces that they were at risk.

"These are unarmed people and this is for their protection," said Milos Struger, a spokesman for UNIFIL, the peacekeeping force whose 2,000 members have light weapons for self-defense.

Anonymous said...

Farewell to the United Nations?
From the desk of Fjordman on Fri, 2006-07-28 07:07

Historian David Littman is a representative to the United Nations (Geneva) of the Association for World Education. He has spent years tracking the rise of Islamic influence at the UN. According to him, “In recent years, representatives of some Muslim states have demanded, and often received, special treatment at the United Nations.” “As a result, non-diplomatic terms such as ‘blasphemy’ and ‘defamation of Islam’ have seeped into the United Nations system, leading to a situation in which non-Muslim governments accept certain rules of conduct in conformity with Islamic law (the Shari’a) and acquiesce to a self-imposed silence regarding topics touching on Islam.”

On August 5, 1990, the 19th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. According to the official English version, “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’a.” The CDHRI has since then become “a quotable source at the United Nations.”

David Littman warns that “The new rules of conduct being imposed by the OIC [the Organization of the Islamic Conference], and acceded to by other states, give those who claim to represent Islam an exceptional status at the United Nations that has no legal basis and no precedent.” “Will a prohibition of discussion about certain political aspects of Islam become generally accepted at the United Nations and beyond, contradicting ‘the right to freedom of opinion and expression’ promised by Article XIX of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Unless farsighted states, both Muslim and non-Muslim, make it their business to assert and reassert the need for freedom of speech, this precious liberty is at risk of being eroded throughout the system of international organizations.”

Fifty-seven Muslim governments are pressing to include a “ban on the mocking of religions” in a new U.N. human rights body by pushing a resolution under the agenda item “Racism” condemning what they called the “Defamation of Islam.” In a clear reference to the Muhammad cartoons controversy, the proposal stated that “defamation of religions and prophets is inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression.”

The United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights Louise Arbour involved herself in the discussion during the tensions caused by the Danish cartoons. In a letter to the 56 member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), she stated: “I understand your concerns and would like to emphasize that I regret any statement or act that could express a lack of respect for other people’s religion.” In a complaint to the High Commissioner, the 56 Islamic governments asked Louise Arbour to raise the matter with the Danish government “to help contain this encroachment on Islam, so the situation won’t get out of control.” Two UN experts, on religious freedom and on racism and xenophobia, were said to be working on the case.

Anonymous said...

Thursday, July 27, 2006
UN Observer's Life Saved By IDF

As we reported earlier, Hizballah has attacked United Nations observers twice this week, although you’d never know it from the mainstream media. On Monday, when a UN observer was hit by Hizballah fire, IDF soldiers rushed him to an Israeli hospital for an operation, possibly saving his life.

Haaretz has a picture of the IDF doing their jobs. (Hat tip: IDF Israel.)

Anonymous said...

says it all . . .

Matt said...

That's pretty cool, except for the illogical drawings; the shoulders and weapons aren't in the right places.

BCL, you're really stretching it with this supposed refutation. The meaning is right there in the email. There's no need for me to reference it, since you already have in your blog.

Anyways, if the UN maintains an op the middle of a combat zone, shouldn't they expect something like this to happen? Those peacekeepers died as soldiers and that Canadian died as many other Canadian soldiers have died before him. He will be honored as a real heroe.

I wasn't there when it happened and niether were you. There's no way to understand the circumstances from behind a computer on the other side of the planet. Stop trying to blame Israel and everything else you hate so much.

RedEnsign said...

Wow... its amazing the rationalizations people come to when their favourite country does bad things.

Its obvious that the UN post was deliberately targeted. There is no other possible explanation for the repeated and sustained attacks culminating in the use of guided rockets. And yet so many people are willing to use tortured and twisted logic to somehow blame anyone... ANYONE... else but the people who did the killing.

I'm surprised no one has said the UN soldiers were feeling really depressed and wanted the IDF to kill them. That would make as much sense as some of the explanations I've seen.

Anonymous said...

redensign . . . I know simple research is hard but let me quote from a UN report of June 2006

"28. Control of the Blue Line and its vicinity appears to have remained for the most part with Hizbollah. During the reporting period, Hizbollah maintained and reinforced a visible presence in the area, with permanent observation posts, temporary checkpoints and patrols. It continued to carry out intensive construction works to strengthen and expand some of its fixed positions, install additional technical equipment, such as cameras, establish new positions close to the Blue Line and build new access roads. These measures resulted in a more strategically laid out and fortified structure of Hizbollah’s deployment along the Blue Line. Some Hizbollah positions remained in close proximity to United Nations positions, especially in the Hula area, posing a significant security risk to United Nations personnel and equipment, as demonstrated during the heavy exchanges of fire on 28 May. In letters to the Foreign Minister, dated 23 March, 27 June and 5 July 2006, the Force Commander, General Pellegrini, expressed grave concern about the Hizbollah construction works in close proximity to United Nations positions and requested that the Government of Lebanon take necessary actions to rectify the situation. However, the situation remained unchanged despite repeated objections addressed by UNIFIL to the Lebanese authorities. UNIFIL observed the reconstruction of Hizbollah positions that were damaged or destroyed during the 28 May exchange of fire. "

Israel is 100% legitimate to return fire, to perform counter battery operations from anywhere.

Hisbullah stages attacks from UN sites HOPING that UN soldiers will be killed.

Israel returns fire from anywhere HOPING that only Hisbollah terrorists will be killed.

Who holds the higher morale ground is obvious to anyone, except the Israel hating, Palestinian pandering mob on the left.

You should all be ashamed to support terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Ok so we have to choose between Lew and the now-deceased Canadian soldier's view of things, or Kofi and the bureaucrats.

Tough choice. Give me Lew and the soldier any day. The UN has zero credibility - never mind Kofi's son and the oil for food scandal...but just when was the last time the UN did anything productive? ANYTHING? Anyone?

Anonymous said...

- saying Heather's "behavior was unreasonable and argumentative" (sounds like BCL).

The sixty-four year old former Beatle added: "she wont feed me, and she doesn't need me". But he could well be feeding her for the rest of her life if, as speculated, she walks with a quarter of his estimated one billion pound fortune.