Do UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Do More Harm than Good?

(Wall Street Journal) Prof. Eugene Kontorovich - The catastrophic blast in the port of Beirut this month underscores the failings of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which is supposed to block arms smuggling. When its mandate comes up for renewal at the Security Council on Aug. 31, the U.S. should try to reduce the size of the force or end the mission altogether. In 2006, after Israel's Second Lebanon War, UNIFIL's mandate was expanded to focus on helping Lebanon disarm Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. By any standard, this mission has failed, as Hizbullah's arsenal of missiles has grown more than tenfold since then. Israel has in recent years discovered Hizbullah attack tunnels into Israeli territory that were dug under UNIFIL's nose, while the force has shown itself to be powerless to deter or respond to Hizbullah violations of UN resolutions. Rather than stop Hizbullah in any future conflict, UNIFIL personnel would likely function as human shields, protecting the militants. The one useful task that UNIFIL performs, acting as a liaison between the Israeli and Lebanese militaries, can be done with a force of dozens, not thousands. The writer is director of George Mason University Law School's Center for the Middle East and International Law and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum.

2020-08-27 00:00:00

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