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UN Lebanon Envoy Plumbly Dodges on Drones, Cut Off by Iran Focus, Ladsous Proceeds

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 14 -- What is it about the UN and drones? On Thursday Inner City Press asked the UN's Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly if the Israeli drones over Lebanon are armed or reconnaissance drones.

  Plumbly first said that the UN's reporting is “detailed.” He mentioned “fixed wing air-craft” and helicopters. When Pressed, about which kind of drone, he said he couldn't get into that.

  The underlying report on Resolution 1701 refers, in its Paragraph 12, to attack helicopters over Tyre and to overflights by “unmanned aerial vehicles.” The Lebanese Army has been more specific.

  Why should the UN play hide the ball? Perhaps it was not only Plumbly's fault. Follow up was cut off by a media announcing itself as wanting to go in another direction. The other was, as usual, all Iran. And that was it.

  The Security Council was briefed by Plumbly and the Director of Asia and Middle East Division at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, DPKO.

  The head of DPKO Herve Ladsous has been pushing for the UN to use drones since at least March 2012. He presented the idea to the C-34 Committee, after which many delegates criticized Ladsous and his idea to Inner City Press, musing that he'd share the intelligence feed with France.

  Ladsous began a procurement for drones in Central Africa and West Africa -- Cote d'Ivoire? But when he finally got a letter of approval, not from the General Assembly or 140-some member C-34 but from the Security Council, it was only for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  Inner City Press has asked repeatedly for DPKO's safeguards for the use of drones, who will get the information? What approvals are needed? Like with questions about the supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, Ladsous' DPKO refuses to answer. But Plumbly? We will continue on this. Watch this site.

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