A decade of UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon)- A critical approach to the effectiveness and appropriateness of UN-peacekeeping based on the example of UNIFIL


Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2004

17 Pages, Grade: A = 1


Excerpt

Table of Content:

Abstract

Introduction

1. The concept of Peacekeeping

2a. UNIFIL (1978-1988)
Background
2b. Goals: Intention and reality
1. Confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces
2. Restoring international peace and security
3. Assisting the government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area

3. UNIFIL – causes for failure
1. General problems with UN peacekeeping missions valid for UNIFIL
a) The nature of UN peacekeeping missions
b) The principle of visibility and predictability
c) A lack of preparation and coordination
2. Specific problems to UNIFIL
a) The political environment before the invasion in 1978
b) Lack of local consent
c) Peacekeeping in occupied territory
d) Shifting focus away from original goals

4. Concluding remarks on UNIFIL
Reasons
Could have been done more to counter the problems?

5. Implications of the UNIFIL case on the role of international peacekeeping at the beginning of the 21st century

Literature

Abstract

This paper discusses the role of UN peacekeeping missions at the case of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) by looking into its first ten years of operation. The author comes to the conclusion that UNIFIL failed to achieve what it was established for, but at the same time points out that inefficient or even ineffective UN peacekeeping missions do nothing to undermine the general idea and justifiability of peacekeeping as a measure for inter-state or infra-state conflict resolution.

Introduction

Since its formation in 1945, the United Nations Organization has engaged in numerous peacekeeping missions around the world, the first of which was installed in 1956 to resolve the Suez-crisis. Some of those missions have been concluded in rather short periods of time. Others, as will become apparent throughout this text, have not been concluded successfully even after decades. This text will critically discuss on the role and effectiveness of UN peacekeeping missions by taking a closer look at the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) which was formed and consequently put into action in 1978 – but has proved to be unable to fulfill its mandate until today. By analyzing the case of UNIFIL the author will illustrate some of the major problems which impair such peacekeeping missions from being concluded successfully, and eventually cause them to last for decades.

For this purpose, the first part of this text will be dedicated to what constitutes an UN peacekeeping mission. In the second part of this text the author will briefly provide background information on UNIFIL and major events that took place between 1978 and 1988 – a period by itself considered long enough by the author to make a qualified judgment about UNIFIL’s effectiveness since it was actually supposed to serve as “ ‘an interim measure until the Government of Lebanon assumes its full responsibilities in southern Lebanon’ ” (Thakur, 1987, p. 40). The third part will then delve into analyzing major obstacles and propose possible explanations for the failing of UNIFIL. Concluding, the author will then offer his opinion on the effectiveness and justifiability of UNIFIL in particular and UN peacekeeping missions in general, based on the preceding discussion.

1. The concept of Peacekeeping

The concept of peacekeeping is an especially interesting concept within the body of the United Nations since and has drastically grown in importance during the past two decades, although it has never been explicitly specified in the Charter; one might be inclined to consider international peacekeeping as sort of a derivative of the traditional collective peace enforcement measures specified in the Charter.

During the years, two different versions of peacekeeping have gradually evolved, namely, inter-state peacekeeping and infra-state peacekeeping. Inter-state peacekeeping on the one hand refers to installing observer-forces in an area of (emerging) conflict whose primary mission is to point out to local leaders that the UN does not approve of evolving military conflict, the observers thus shall inflict psychological pressure on the conflicting parties. On the other hand there is interpositioning, which refers to the formation of buffer-zones between conflicting parties to prevent further bloodshed, supervise armistice agreements, or facilitate related tasks.

The concept of infra-state peacekeeping, however, requires UN-troops mainly to perform police tasks within a certain area in order to end civil wars or preempt foreign intervention. Consequently, this paper will mainly be concerned with this latter version of peacekeeping since UNIFIL falls into this category (Menk, 1992, pp. 197-198).

But whatever the nature of a certain peacekeeping mission may be - “[e]s ist wahrscheinlich keine Übertreibung zu sagen, daß Peacekeeping eine der schwierigsten Aufgaben ist, die dem Militär übertragen werden kann. Während jede militärische Operation einen ständigen Kampf mit Zwangslagen und Risiken darstellt, ist der Charakter der Dilemmata und Gefahren bei der Durchführung von Peacekeeping-Operationen einzigartig“ (Raevsky, 1996, p. 25). Understanding this special attribute is imperative prior to entering the discussion about the role and effectiveness of UN peacekeeping.

2a. UNIFIL (1978-1988)

Background

During the 1970’s an increased number of fighters of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) progressed from Jordan into Lebanon. Consequently, the skirmishes and attacks at the Lebanese border to Israel intensified – PLO fighters increasingly attacked Israelis as well as Israeli installations near the border and Israel’s acts of retaliation were more and more taking place on Lebanese soil. When on March 11, 1978 the PLO claimed responsibility for an attack which left 37 Israelis dead and 76 wounded, the Israeli Government took the decision to invade Lebanon for the purpose of extinguishing Palestinian Armed Forces in the country and securing a safety-belt across the border.

The Lebanese Government which claimed not to be “ ‘responsible for the presence of Palestinian bases in Southern Lebanon in the present circumstances’ “ heavily protested against this move and formally brought it to the attention of the UN Security Council on March 17 (Skogmo, 1989, p. 7). On March 18 and 19, the Security Council came together on the matter and adopted resolutions 425 and 426 which called for Israel to respect Lebanon’s international border, cease military action against the country, and immediately withdraw from its territory. It furthermore created the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon which was given the following three tasks:

a) Confirming the withdrawal of Israeli Forces
b) Restoring international peace and security
c) Assisting the government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.

Reluctantly, Israel gave in to the demands of the Security Council and withdrew its troops later in 1978. However, in 1982 tensions at the border once again increased and Israel invaded Lebanon for the second time, ignoring the presence of the UN-forces and driving just by them. This time, they occupied an even larger part of the country, including the surroundings of Beirut. However, unlike in 1978 where Israel finally gave in to international pressure, in 1982 they did not. As a matter of fact, Israel maintained its occupation of Lebanon until 1985, and then, it only withdrew partially – preserving control of large parts of Southern Lebanon (UNO, n.d., § 5-9).

2b. Goals: Intention and reality

1. Confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces

Obviously, the goal of confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces has not been accomplished since Israeli troops invaded Lebanon again in 1982 and stayed in at least a part of Lebanon throughout the period considered in this paper.

2. Restoring international peace and security

The answer to the question of international peace and security is two-fold. On the one hand, UNIFIL has only partly been successful in preventing further clashes between Palestinians and Israelis, PLO fighters continued to infiltrate and trespass the sectors controlled by UNIFIL and then launch attacks on Israel. Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) activity and reprisals in turn never completely ceased in the southern part of Lebanon (Thakur, 1987, p. 51). However, on the other hand, by decreasing the number of clashes significantly, especially after 1982, UNIFIL has greatly contributed to stabilizing the situation in the sectors it controls. “The population in UNIFIL’s area of operation increased from 10,000 in 1978 to nearly 400,000 in 1986. The inhabitants of the region enjoy a measure of peace, security, freedom and economic activity that is exceptional in contemporary Lebanon (Thakur, 1987, p. 68).

[...]

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Details

Title
A decade of UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon)- A critical approach to the effectiveness and appropriateness of UN-peacekeeping based on the example of UNIFIL
College
International University in Germany Bruchsal  (Department of Sciences and Liberal Arts)
Grade
A = 1
Author
Year
2004
Pages
17
Catalog Number
V26777
ISBN (eBook)
9783638290173
File size
612 KB
Language
English
Notes
Tags
UNIFIL, Nations, Interim, Forces, Lebanon)-, UN-peacekeeping, UNIFIL
Quote paper
David Federhen (Author), 2004, A decade of UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon)- A critical approach to the effectiveness and appropriateness of UN-peacekeeping based on the example of UNIFIL, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/26777

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