Saturday, August 19, 2006

Israeli raid prompts warning from Lebanese Army

A friend with some ties to the Lebanese-American community recently told me that people inside of Lebanon are telling their contacts in the US that, contrary to the reporting on the recent ceasefire, Israel's attacks inside of Lebanon have not stopped. I don't know how much stock to put into that, having received the information 3rd-hand, but this story would seem to support it.

Israeli troops on the Lebanese BorderBEIRUT, Lebanon - Israeli commandos raided a Hezbollah stronghold deep inside Lebanon Saturday, sparking a fierce clash with militants that killed one Israeli. Lebanon called the raid a "flagrant violation" of the U.N.-brokered cease-fire, while Israel said it was aimed at disrupting arms shipments from Iran and Syria.

Witnesses said Israeli missiles also destroyed a bridge during the raid in what would be the first such airstrike since the cease-fire took effect Monday, ending 34 days of warfare between the two sides.

The fighting did not appear to be escalating, but it highlighted the fragility of the truce as the United Nations pleaded for nations to contribute to an international peacekeeping force due to patrol southern Lebanon.


Israel Carries Out Raid in Lebanon (AFP)
Villagers Cheer as Lebanese Army Marches South (NY Times)


UN Security Council Resolution S/RES/1701
HTML (Abridged by MSNBC) - PDF (Full text from UNSC)

UPDATE 8/20/2006: At the UN, Kofi Annan has said that the raid conducted by Israeli soldiers in Beirut does indeed violate the terms of the ceasefire:

UN Secretary-General Kofi AnnanIsrael said the raid was launched to stop arms smuggling from Iran and Syria to the militant Shiite fighters. An Israeli officer was killed during the raid, and two soldiers were wounded, one seriously.

There were no signs of further clashes, but the flare-up underlined worries about the fragility of the cease-fire as the U.N. pleaded for nations to send troops to an international force in southern Lebanon that is to separate Israeli and Hezbollah fighters.

The office of Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a statement later Saturday labeling the operation a violation of the U.N. truce.


A statement issued by Annan's spokesman later Saturday said that the U.N. chief spoke with both Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and Olmert about the fighting.
"The secretary-general is deeply concerned about a violation by the Israeli side of the cessation of hostilities," it said.

"All such violations of Security Council
Resolution 1701 endanger the fragile calm that was reached after much negotiation," said the statement, issued by spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

It may not be significant but I can't help but take note of the curious structure of the above news item. It carries a headline that reads, "Annan: Israeli Raid Violates Cease-Fire". Yet there is no reference to Annan's statements until the 4th paragraph where you find a single sentence quoted above. After that, the statement isn't mentioned again until the 7th paragraph of the second page (egro the "snip" employed above). In the interim we are fully informed of the intimate details of Isreal's rationale for the raid. Hey, maybe it's nothing. But it sure does look strange.