Of Trees and Tribunals: Lebanon's Growing Headache

The recent border skirmish between Lebanon and Israel in which a senior Israeli officer, two Lebanese soldiers, and a journalist from the pro-Hezb'allah al-Akhbar newspaper were killed is the most significant clash between the two countries since the 2006 summer war. While at first glance this episode may appear to be a simple misunderstanding, a closer look reveals the strategic power play.What happened is clear. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) notified the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) that they would carry out a routine bush-trimming operation near their northern border. A part of this gardening exercise was to include the removal of a tree just beyond Israel's security fence but short of the internationally recognized border known as the "blue line." UNIFIL confirmed that it passed along this information to the Lebanese army (LAF).  When an Israeli soldier on a crane reached out to cut the tree across the security fence, Lebanese troops fired warning...(Read Full Article)