Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Annan Blamed For Deaths Of UN Observers

I suppose many of us knew it wouldn't take long for someone to blame Kofi Annan for the deaths of the four UNIFIL observers whose compound was bombed on Tuesday by the IDF.

And so, it begins:

Kofi Annan Could Have Ordered Peacekeepers to Leave
By Julie Stahl Jerusalem Bureau Chief
July 26, 2006

Haifa, Israel ( - The four United Nations peacekeepers killed in an Israeli attack on their outpost were required to stay at that post "until they were ordered by the [U.N.] secretary general to withdraw," said a member of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization on Wednesday.

But the peacekeepers apparently never received such an order, despite the fierce cross-border fighting that erupted in southern Lebanon two weeks ago.

The UN observers were mandated to be there (an extension was passed on January 31, 2006) and Annan had no reason to call for their removal, especially since Israel had clearly identified maps and coordinates of all UN positions in Lebanon - not to mention the fact that UN officials from the position that was hit were in frequent contact with the IDF on Tuesday pleading to the IDF to stop bombing their area.

The CNS article adds this note in an attempt to denigrate Annan's reaction:

Anan[sic] -- and China -- were among the first to condemn what Israel has called an unintended attack. They are demanding an investigation.

Lump him in with the communists. Good propaganda tactic.

And then, the article's author writes this:

Neither Annan nor Israel has said anything about why the unarmed peacekeepers -- who were supposed to be monitoring a ceasefire -- were left in what's become a war zone. Israeli officials flatly refused comment about that on Wednesday.

...even though she herself outlined exactly why UNIFIL was in Lebanon 4 paragraphs earlier:

(UNTSO is an unarmed U.N. body whose "observer" mandate dates from 1948. By contrast, UNIFIL -- the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon -- was created in 1978 to "restore the international peace and security" in southern Lebanon.)

Here's a clue, Stahl: peacekeepers are not required in areas where there has not been or is not currrently is a war underway.

Stahl then goes on to practically offer a justification of the bombing since 'many Israelis harbor a deep distrust of the U.N. in general'.

Ms Stahl, a 'former editor of the Israel Information Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' is obviously working this story for the maximum amount of anti-UN spin she can possibly muster. Blaming Annan for these deaths, however, is as low as it gets.

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