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The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon

Multiple Perspectives on a Multinational Peace Operation


Edited By Elena Aoun

UN Peacekeeping is a complex endeavor resting on multinational partnership in strained contexts. Diverse national interests, doctrines, policies, and cultures come together in one operation to pursue common goals defined by the UN Security Council. They do so with usually ambiguous mandates and often find themselves operating in intricate environments. This is particularly true in the case of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. The UNIFIL has been deployed since 1978 in South Lebanon to prevent hostilities between Israel and non-state actors operating from the Lebanese territory. Over the decades, it has witnessed significant shifts in its security and political environments yet survived them. The Force and its mandate have been significantly strengthened in the aftermath of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. Its large contingent often draws from over thirty troop-contributing countries. Combined with a volatile political and strategic context, this diversity makes the UNIFIL a particularly interesting case to study the various challenges facing multinational peacekeeping.

This book brings together researchers and practitioners from various backgrounds, including from the two beneficiaries of the UNIFIL – Lebanon and Israel. Grounding their contributions either on first-hand experience or on fieldwork, the authors address a variety of issues affecting a peace mission such as the UNIFIL. The first set of contributions investigates the defining features of UNIFIL’s environment from different perspectives. The second set analyzes the multicultural challenges to the peace operation with a focus on European countries. The third one explores the rise of non-European countries. Overall, through the case of the UNIFIL, the various chapters weave a broad picture of today’s peacekeeping, the challenges it faces, and avenues for the enhancement of its effectiveness.

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