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Analysis: UN Mideast Force Gets Boost

Council on Foreign Relations

August 24, 2006
Prepared by: Eben Kaplan

A proposal of rules that would allow peacekeepers to defend themselves and civilians with deadly force (AP) seems to have assuaged French fears of a large commitment to a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. In a televised address Thursday evening, French President Jacques Chirac pledged 2,000 troops, saying " France is ready, if the United Nations wishes, to continue commanding this force" (IHT). Experts expect the move will pave the way for other nations to commit troops and install an ample force. Prior to Chirac's announcement, the UN was looking to Italy for leadership. Earlier in the week, while France was still waffling, Italy promised up to 3,000 troops—about a third of the total expected contribution from Europe—provided Israel abides by the ceasefire (MSNBC). Rallying enough peacekeepers promises to be the first of many challenges for the UN mission, this Backgrounder looks at the checkered history of multinational interventions in the region.

Much of the recent diplomatic wrangling revolves around UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which has been criticized as vague and unrealistic (Toronto Star). Furthermore, it does not call for the disarmament of Hezbollah, though the United States plans to introduce a resolution that will (AP). The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's David B. Makovsky says the failure to disarm Hezbollah as stipulated in Security Council Resolution 1559 contributed to the recent outbreak of violence. Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer writes, "For all its boasts, Hezbollah has suffered grievously militarily," and could easily be cut down to size if a robust peacekeeping force were present.

UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen has warned a violation of the cease-fire could further dissuade nations from contributing to the peacekeeping effort (LAT).

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Copyright 2006 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on with specific permission from the Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to

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