UNIFIL remains in southern Lebanon, on an annual budget now totaling almost $550 million (more than 27% of that funded by U.S. taxpayers), with more than 11,000 peacekeeping troops. Apart from fretting that Hezbollah is taking over, what are they doing?
Well, they are embodying diversity, with troops from 38 countries. They have put out a 2013 calendar featuring “Women of UNIFIL.” And according to a FAQ page on UNIFIL’s web site, they have been providing quite an array of services to the local community: “UNIFIL contingents provide free medical, dental, veterinary and such other assistance to the local population.” Beyond that. they have been providing training programs for the locals, “in such fields as computers, languages, bread making, knitting, yoga, taekwondo and so on.”
So, while UNIFIL has proved unable to stop Hezbollah from amplifying its previous military facilities into a warren of hundreds of bunkers stuffed with thousand of rockets and missiles, UNIFIL has been toiling away to provide everything from computer instruction to free medical care to yoga, knitting, and taekwondo lessons to the local population that hosts these Hezbollah weapons facilities. Should we really call this peacekeeping? Sounds more like free services for Hezbollah.