UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS (A CASE STUDY OF LEBANON)

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UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS (A CASE STUDY OF LEBANON)

Abstract:

With my study of International Law and seven months service at the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIPIL) Headquarters, I was inspired to take a second look at the UN Peacekeeping efforts there. As a staff officer at the Operation branch of UNIFIL HQ, I saw the interplay of international politics and international law all geared toward maintaining international peace and security. This dissertation is the end product of my curiosity and research on the UN as an international organization battling to maintain international peace and security in Lebanon. The concern for maintaining international peace and security has ancient root. This is confirmed by the proposal advanced by the early Greeks in 477 BC . However, the dissertation examines iern attempts at global control and regulation of peace and security which dates from the League of Nations period. The League was established at the end of the First World War with the fundamental purpose of achieving international peace and security. Two international forces were raised under the League to assist in the conduct of Plebiscites at Vilna in 1920 and the Soar Basin in 1935. These notwithstanding, the League experiment as a whole was a failure. It was formally dissolved in April 1946. The UN which represents the second attempt by the state of the world to organize themselves into a true community of States, arose out of series of war time declarations and conferences culminating ln the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO) at San Francisco in 1945. The UN Charter was adopted after the UNICO with the main purpose of maintaining international peace and security through various conflict control mechanisms. Peace keeping Operation is one of them. Peacekeeping operation involves the use of contingents of national armies made available under a resolution by one of the Organs of the UN. The contingents operate with the consent of the warring parties and/or receiving state(s). They are authorized to fight only in self-defence. In essence the concept of peacekeeping operation involves the bringing together in an ad hoc form professional soldiers to help create or restore as the case may be an environment in which a peaceful solution to the problem in issue can be contemplated, conciliated or mediated upon. So far, the UN has raised about fifteen major peacekeeping operations all of which have their legal basis in the UN Charter or the Uniting for Peace Resolution of the General Assembly of 1950. In examining the UN peacekeeping efforts in Lebanon the dissertation discusses the intra community fighting in Lebanon, the influx of the Palestinian refugees as a result of the Palestinian Question and the struggle between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the state of Israel. After the invasion of South Lebanon in 1978 by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) the Security Council passed Resolutions 425 and 426 of 19 March 1978. These resolutions authorised a force of 6000 men from South Lebanon. Like other UN Peacekeeping operations UNIFIL is oritized and pronounced a failure because its efforts have not produced a solution within a reasonable time. Some of the problems and difficulties that have militated against ‘quick’ solution are examined. Despite these problems and difficulties, the UNIFIL has achieved a measure of success in South Lebanon particularly in the humanitarian sector and the withdrawal of the invading IDF of 1978. Although the dissertation does not cover the second invasion of IDF of 1982, the invasion showed the weakness of the UNIFIL and the new dimension on the part of the super powers to set up multi-national peacekeeping operation outside the UN. While accepting that the Charter provisions and the Uniting for Peace Resolution have so far being used by the UN, there is the need for a clearer provision in the Charter on how the organs, General Assembly in particular, can fulfil their responsibilities of maintenance of international peace and security. In addition, there should be a specialized organ of the UN that is independent of the other major organs charged with the handling of the peacekeeping operations. And on multi-national peacekeeping operations, the super powers should put their resources at the disposal of the UN. And finally the dissertation submits that a political solution to the Palestinian Question is the key to the successful implementation of the UNIFIL mandates and of course the restoration of peace and security in Lebanon, – the utmost goal of the UN peace effort in Lebanon.

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