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UNIFIL’s Uncertain Future

UN forces in Lebanon face challenges that could undermine the force’s credibility and status.
A U.N peacekeeper of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on an armoured vehicle secures the area near the site of an explosion in the southern Lebanese town of Tair Harfa December 17, 2012. The big explosion rocked the southern Lebanese town of Tair Harfa on Monday, five km (three miles) from the border with Israel but there were no casualties, residents said. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho   (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3BO9R

On May 14, UN Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous traveled to Beirut to meet with Lebanese officials. Taking place in the midst of the Syrian crisis, the visit was intended as a measure of reassurance regarding the determination of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to continue carrying out its mandate. During his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Ladsous stated explicitly that rumors of a UNIFIL disengagement were “unfounded.”

Since 2006, an expanded UNIFIL has been a successful enterprise preserving the peace in south Lebanon. In fact, Israeli officers, Hezbollah fighters and UNIFIL officers all acknowledge that the area has experienced an unprecedented degree of stability. “Since the uprisings in Egypt and Syria, South Lebanon is oddly our most stable border,” one Israeli military planner told Al-Monitor.

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