UNIFIL Post Strike in Perspective
In A Knife-Thrower at the Carnival, a closer look at events that led up to the UNIFIL post being struck in southern Lebanon puts the incident in proper perspective. Wretchard details other incidents since open hostilities began in an excellent day-by-day chart. His commentary is spot on in conclusion.
To recapitulate, the UNIFIL is running a kind of ambulance service on the Lebanese side of the border. That is not its official mission; it has failed in its official mission but its men are obviously performing with considerable perseverance and bravery. UNIFIL are able to run convoys in an area where the Hezbollah are shifting squads around while the IDF doing its best to kill the Hezbollah. Yet until July 26 the UNIFIL had not suffered any fatalities from IDF fire. Their sole serious injury to that date had actually been caused by the Hezbollah, and the injured UN trooper was evacuated by the IDF to an Israeli hospital.
The IDF has for its part avoided hitting UNIFIL or their civilian convoys despite its widely publicized use of artillery and air. Far from being random, the IDF is apparently able to create safe corridors in active battle zones through which UNIFIL can pass until the recent incident in Kiyam. There are probably very few military organizations in the world which can accomplish this. Nevertheless, the danger of friendly fire naturally remains.
The following sentence asks the proper question:
Considering the fact that UNIFIL peacekeeping mission was a dead-letter it should naturally be asked why Kofi Annan, as their ultimate commander, has seen fit to keep them in a position of danger where their only chance of safety actually depends on accurate targeting by the IDF.