Thursday, August 5, 2010

Indonesian Soldiers in Lebanon

Today, The Jakarta Globe (below) reported a disturbing story about the conduct of two Indonesian Soldiers in Lebanon.

Considering that both soldiers are members of, therefore they are under the military command of, the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL), I hope that their Commander would clarify this story ASAP.

Criticism as Two Indonesian Soldiers Flee Lebanese, Israeli Battle in Taxi
August 05, 2010

Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanese media have lashed out at the UN Interim Force, which includes Indonesian soldiers, in Lebanon, calling it an “impotent” bystander after a deadly border skirmish between Lebanese and Israeli forces.

“The impotent international forces beat a retreat, left the place of combat and watched the unfolding events from afar,” said the daily As-Safir, which is close to the Shiite movement Hezbollah.

UNIFIL had asked its soldiers only to “make a show of arms ... against enemy forces,” the newspaper said on Wednesday. It had “encouraged [the enemy] with its reticence, without effectively intervening to prevent the Israeli aggression,” the newspaper alleged on Wednesday.

Lebanese and Israeli troops traded deadly fire on their tense border on Tuesday in the worst clash since the 2006 war between the Jewish state and the Shiite Hezbollah. Two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and a senior Israeli officer were killed.

The Al-Anwar daily mocked the multinational force, saying it “fulfills its role perfectly” when things are calm.

“But ... when confrontations flare it is only a simple spectator, which contacts the two parties to try to restore calm and then submits a report to the Security Council,” the newspaper said.

Daily An-Nahar daily said: “The question is, what to do if the incident is repeated ... in particular regarding the claimed role of UNIFIL.”

“Why did UNIFIL not help the army, at least by offering first aid?” it questioned, citing senior sources involved in calming the border tension.

It said an organization such as UNIFIL was “obliged to deal with the evacuation of casualties.”

On Tuesday, Hezbollah-run Al-Manar television aired images of two Indonesian soldiers, presumably from UNIFIL, leaving the site of the skirmish in a shared taxi.

New TV, which also sympathizes with Hezbollah, spoke of the “escape” of UNIFIL soldiers.

The UN force urged “maximum restraint” following the clashes along the so-called Blue Line, a UN-drawn border.

The acting force commander, Brigadier General Santi Bonfanti, flew to the site of the clashes and personally called on both parties to “stop firing in all the area.”

UNIFIL has some 13,000 troops from various countries stationed in southern Lebanon.

The force, which was set up in 1978 to monitor the border between Israel and southern Lebanon, was considerably beefed up in the wake of the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

Agence France-Presse

11 comments:

TUKANG CoLoNG said...

amerika katanya udah menarik 50% tentaranya dari irak ya? moga dunia ini makin damai aja deh

Yari NK said...

Harry, if it is true that the two Indonesian soldiers flee from their post it is a shame not only for the peacekeepers but also for our country in general. I hope it is not :(

H. Nizam said...

@TUKANGCoLoNG,
Semoga dunia ini akan menjadi damai.

@Yari,
Those soldiers are part of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, as such they are not allowed to take sides on the feuding parties. The UN command should explain about this.
This morning the media reported government officials, members of DPR, defending the soldiers, some even proposed that they should be given honor.

bolehngeblog said...

sampai kapan sih perang akan terjadi ?

H. Nizam said...

BolehNgeblog,
Mudah-mudahan perangnya segera usai.

zoomx Satriyo said...

kemaren di news katanya tentara indo kabur pas ada baku tembak yah...
gimana menurut anda??
thanks juga atas komen anda di blog saya..moga bisa tejalin silaturahmi yang baik
Info HP

H. Nizam said...

ZoomMxSatryo,
Tentara kita berada di Lebanon sebagai bagian dari, karena itu berada dibawah komando, pasukan pemelihara perdamaian PBB = UNIFIL.
Mereka tidak boleh memihak pada salah satu pihak yang bersengketa disana.

colson said...

The criticism is understandable but unjust. The UN forces who have a mission to watch over the armistice, are not combat forces. They should not fight.

Which sometimes results in embarrassing scenes, like these ones (though this one is nothing compared to what happened in Srebrenica fifteen years ago, when Dutch soldiers were on a UN mission).

H. Nizam said...

Hi Colson,
Yes you are very right.
In a way, the position of a UN peace keeping force is similar to that of a referee in a football match.
But if the feuding parties violate the armistice agreement, the peace keeping force are not allowed to do anything.

Yari NK said...

Yes, Harry I agree with you that the peacekeepers must act like a referee in a football match, that is they must be neutral. However, if it proves that the two Indonesian soldiers flee the post without acceptable reasons it seems like they took a French leave to evade their duty as the referee in the match... hehehe...

H. Nizam said...

Hi Yari,
It it proves that both soldiers are violating UN's Peacekeeping rules, e.g taking a French holiday, of course they should be punished.
But I'd rather be positive and think that the withdrew from war zone is legal.