Four days of right-wing attacks on the Arab League peace-keeping forces stationed on the "green line" dividing the two halves of Beirut, have increased tension in the area, according to league officers.
GV: Truck being stopped at Green Line crossing point by soldiers. (3 shots)
SV: vehicle being searched.
SV AND CU: soldiers talking to driver.
SV: people walking across checkpoint.
GV: Beirut airport terminal building.
SV PAN FROM: runway to Sudanese troops in encampment.
SV: Sudanese troops and Saudi Arabian forces in positions in airport grounds. (2 shots)
SV: Sudanese troops on parade.
CU: Sudan Lieutenant General Abdul Magid Hamid speaking in Arabic.
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Background: Four days of right-wing attacks on the Arab League peace-keeping forces stationed on the "green line" dividing the two halves of Beirut, have increased tension in the area, according to league officers.
SYNOPSIS: Only a few days ago, when this film was shot, the troops walked openly up and down the wide dual carriage-way leading out to west Beirut. Now they keep close to the walls or run, crouched low when in open positions. In the past few days about 30 Sudanese and Saudi Arabian soldiers have been injured. The so-called "green line" is the museum crossing point where people cross daily between the right-wing east of the city and the left-wing west.
The troops moved into the area in July under agreements reached between the right-wing Falangist Party and the Palestine Liberation organisation. The tension on the green line has been matched by a significant increase in fighting on all fronts in the civil war, which will be 17 months old next week. The League's peace keeping force of two thousand men seems to have helped little.
A large part of the force is stationed at Beirut's airport, another sensitive area. The troops there come from all the countries contributing to the force -- Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Somalia and Iraq.
Meanwhile, Arab leaders continue to seek a formula for peace in Lebanon. Some say they would like to see the peace-keeping force increased to 20,000 men. They're trying to organise a summit meeting, but this has been delayed while Syria negotiates another peace plan with Beirut leaders. A series of meetings are being held in Beirut this week between President Assad of Syria and Lebanese leaders.
In spite of the pressure on the Arab League peace keeping forces, many are convinced that the force is helping in Lebanon and are satisfied with its operations. One of those men is Lieutenant General Abdul Magid Hamid, the deputy commander of the force. In an interview, he said it was one of the duties of Arabs to restore peace and order in Lebanon. But the commander, General Mohammed Hassan Ghoneim, has been quoted as saying his troops would now fire back if attacked. In the past they had remained passive under fire. The force has appealed to all parties to show a sense of responsibility, practise self-restraint and get rid of irresponsible elements.