Flag Officer Lt Damien Kelleher

European Contribution to UNIFIL: Towards a Better Local Integration

May 2020

by Alex Issa

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was created in 1978 after the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon. This peacekeeping operation failed to prevent the second invasion and the occupation of South Lebanon by the Israeli army in 1982, and its role was widely criticized during the July 2006 war. Afterwards, the mandate of UNIFIL has evolved to become more robust, and the number of soldiers has increased considerably. Within UNIFIL, soldiers from European countries are not only very numerous, but occupy an important place in the hierarchy of the mission. The presence of European soldiers do not come without controversies. A wide array of problems ranging from soldiers’ background in violent NATO operations to their lack of geopolitical awareness has raised issues with the local population. This research paper analyses the European involvement in UNIFIL and how a better cooperation can be achieved with the host population through correct communication and training mechanisms.

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