Sunday, December 19, 2010

Irish Army back in Lebanon

I am pleased to see the Irish Defence Forces will be back in action after a year long abscence. This from The Irish Times.

THE DEFENCE Forces are to resume their role in international peacekeeping after a year-long absence following the approval by Cabinet yesterday of the posting of 440 personnel to the United Nations (UN) mission in Lebanon.

The decision is expected to be approved in the Dáil early in the new year with Irish personnel expected on the ground in Lebanon in the second quarter of 2011.

Irish troops were withdrawn from their last major UN deployment, to Chad, when the mission there ended in May. Since then senior Army offices have been anxious to secure a new overseas assignment.

News of the new mission has been welcomed by Minister for Defence Tony Killeen and Defence Forces chief of staff Lieut Gen Seán McCann.

Mr Killeen said it was “vitally important” that Ireland maintained the commitment to international peacekeeping that came with UN membership.

“Overseas operations contribute greatly also to the development of the Defence Forces,” he said following yesterday’s Cabinet approval.

Savings achieved to date through the withdrawal of small numbers of Irish troops serving with a variety of international missions would help offset some of the costs to the State of the much larger deployment to Lebanon.

However, Mr Killeen said most of the costs associated with participating in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) would be met by the UN.

Lieut Gen McCann said he was “delighted” with the new overseas deployment.

“We have a long and proud tradition of service in the Lebanon and we look forward to using our skills and our experience to make a substantial contribution to the peace and security of the region.”

The Unifil multinational force currently numbers 12,000 personnel from some 31 nations.

The Defence Forces’ participation in the mission is subject to the so-called triple lock mechanism.

This means Irish troops can only be deployed on a foreign mission if it is sanctioned by the UN and approved by the Cabinet before being further approved by a Dáil vote.

Subject to Dáil approval, the Irish troops’ area of operation will be a 140sq km block extending from Tibnin in southern Lebanon to the blue line along the border with Israel.

The Irish troops will conduct extensive mobile patrols in armed military vehicles and will monitor activity along the Lebanon-Israel border.

They will be deployed alongside Finnish troops, whom they worked closely with in Chad.

The UN resolution passed in 2006 paving the way for the Unifil mission provides for the protection of civilians and co-operation with the Lebanese armed forces.

Irish troops were first deployed to Lebanon in 1958 when a group of officers went as observers. The first Irish battalion deployed in 1978, with Irish battalions remaining until 2001.

The Irish returned briefly following a fresh outbreak in fighting between the Israeli forces and Hizbullah in the summer of 2006. A total of 47 Irish troops have lost their lives while serving there.


thesystemworks said...

I think this is a disaster. Irish troops with UNIFIL have given much cover and help for Hezbollah's re-arming and re-building of their military infrastructure in South Lebanon, just as previously they gave cover for the PLO attacks on Israel and their genocide against Lebanese Christians. During the Israeli invasion in 1982, Irish troops in UNIFIL were literally under orders to stop the Israelis.

Too many Irish soldiers have died for this questionable mission, many at the hands of Lebanese Christians which were supported by Israel. This is because Lebanese Christians (correctly) saw the UN as preventing them defending themselves against PLO and other Muslim atrocities like the Darmour massacre - carried out by Arafat's men - where the eyes of children were gouged out. Many in the Irish military have become anti-Israel and very pro- the Islamo-leftist body that is the UN due to this, like our old friend Col. Desmond Travers - who looks like Colonel Blimp but is as nasty as prominent anti-Semite Raymond Deane.

Ted Leddy said...


Primarily I am pleased because the Irish Defence Forces are being deployed again. I feared that in the recession the government would not send them anywhere resulting in rustiness kicking in, but I take your point about UNIFIL.

My understanding is that since the 2006 war UNIFIL's madate is now stronger, particularly when it comes to confronting Hezbollah members who appear to be mobilizing near the Israeli border in order to cause trouble. Hezbollah have since then, accused UNIFIl of being on the side of the Israelis.

In truth, you will never please both sides in such a situation. In fact, I think you have to be prepared to upset both sides if you want to be in any way effective.

Col travers is a fool, but I believe most members of the Defence forces are fair in this area. I believe John Ging in Gaza has come across very well in an exceptionally dificult situation.

thesystemworks said...

Yes, I have been pleased with John Ging recently. He came out and finally said what most people in his position have not been able to say for decades: UNRWA is a failure, it is perpetuating the conflict and was designed to do so.

He also claimed Palestinian descendants of refugees (or 'refugees' as they are called) should give up on the idea of swarming into Israel and making it into yet another Arab state.

Ted Leddy said...


Good analysis of Gings performance. Ireland as you know is not a member of NATO. Our neutrality means that we only participate in UN backed operations. This is a mistake in my view, because what the UN sees as just is not what I (and many more) see as just. But because of the UN link, policy makers in Dublin and many officers in the Defence Forces probably think the UN is the answer to all the worlds problems. Perhaps the next Fine Gael government will know better.

thesystemworks said...

Your absolutely right - what the UN sees as just and who it defines as a victim is not always so. Yet they have an automatic halo over their head for talking the lingo of 'human rights' and such.

I'm not a big fan of supra-national bodies like the UN or even the EU. I especially dislike the UN. I don't see why some despotic, backward country should be able tell a democratic, Western one what to do because it sits on some stupid panel on 'human rights' and other farces. No wonder the cultural-relativists are so fond of it.

NATO sems to me to be an money-pit for America, and its unclear who NATO's enemy is since the collapse of the Iron Curtain. It's amazing the amount of money America is spending subsidising the militaries of wealthy European countries.

I would rather see Ireland as completely neutral and not a member of any of these bodies as oppsed to an active member of the UN.

People may get the impression from my defence of Western values and Israel from foreign and totalitarian ideaologies I'm a bit of a neocon - in fact I lean more to a non-interventionist foreign policy. I just have a moral compass and it doesn't point to 760 United Nations Plaza.

Ted Leddy said...


Thanks for your excellent and articulate comment.

I'm not a big fan of the UN mainly because it has been ineffectual but also because of its hypocrisy. However I think the concept of collective security through international organisations is sound. Also, when I get angry at the UN I'm not quite sure who to be angry at as it does consist of all the nations of the world.

I think NATO's role has been redefined since Afghanistan.

" I would rather see Ireland as completely neutral and not a member of any of these bodies as opposed to an active member of the UN".

I followed the UN mission in Liberia quite closely. I think it was very successful. 15,000 troops were sent in with a strong peace enforcement mandate. They succeeded in disarming the militias and stabilising the country. The UN also oversaw the democratic transition to power which resulted in the first female African head of state. It also resulted in the psychotic mad man Charles Taylor being dragged in front of a war crimes tribunal. The Irish army were involved in this effort. It is something with which they and we can be proud.

I too am uneasy about foreign interventions. It is why I would like to see International Relations regulated by more international law.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to point out that those are French soldiers in the pic.

Not Irish.