The United States condemned in the strongest terms the violent attack on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeepers on Wednesday that left one Irish service member dead and three wounded.
It called upon the Lebanese government to urgently investigate the attack, hold those responsible accountable, and prevent such incidents from reoccurring.
The Department of State said in a statement that violence against peacekeepers is “unconscionable,” puts Lebanese civilians at risk, and jeopardizes stability in southern Lebanon.
Washington sent its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of the peacekeeper who died and hoped for the speedy recovery of those woundedd.
The attack was considered “multidimensional” message, given the UNIFIL’s recently extended mandate, the internal crisis in Iran due to the ongoing popular protests that threaten its regime and the presidential elections in Lebanon that are associated with the economic and living crises.
The attack was considered a “bloody message” to the UN forces, in objection to changing the rules of its cooperation with the Lebanese army in September. .
The UNIFIL’s patrols no longer need to coordinate with the army or accompany its elements, which concerned the Lebanese Hezbollah, which insists on this continued cooperation so that the UNIFIL does not become an “occupation force,” as stated by its leaders.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Tony Badran, a senior researcher at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, said this insistence proves the depth of the “dependency-based” relation between the army and Hezbollah.
He affirmed that Biden administration considers the commander of the Lebanese army, Joseph Aoun, the best presidential candidate, and so does France, which is in truce with Tehran.
Iran gained new interests and investments following the signing of the demarcation agreement and Total’s taking over the leadership of a gas exploration consortium.
According to Badran, Hezbollah and Joseph Aoun are not enemies and share a long-term relationship of cooperation, sponsored by the US through the aid policy it adopts.