U.N.'s High-Tech Rides, Low-Tech Intel

The U.N. force in southern Lebanon ain't what it used to be. In the wake of the summer war between Israel and Hezbollah, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, has grown from a lightly armed body of observers to a mobile armored force with real teeth.itpatrol.jpgThat transformation is the subject of my upcoming feature in Defense Technology International. For Military.com I checked out the low-tech side of this high-tech force:

In stark contrast to Western armies operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, United Nations forces in southern Lebanon enjoy unqualified healthy relationships with native security forces and local residents. These facilitate intelligence-gathering and cooperation that boost the force's effectiveness.... On December 18, a two-vehicle patrol from [Italian Lt. Col. Ciccarelli] Giordano's [cavalry] regiment descends from the regiment's hilltop base near the town of Chama and heads down a seaside road. Periodically, it stops and soldiers hop out of the armored vehicles to stand on the side of the road, making themselves visible to passing motorists."They stay here to observe and to report every kind of situation," says Lieutenant Livio Lombardi. "Sometimes [people] ask for us to intervene ... in medical problems or in the presence of bombs [leftover from the summer war]."
--David Axe
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