Lebanon Opposes Changes to UN Observer Force

Israel wants UNIFIL to be more aggressive attacking Hezbollah

Talk of changes to the UN observer force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, look to be in trouble with Lebanon issuing a memo to the relevant states opposing any major changes to the UNIFIL mandate. The push for changes was driven by Israel, with the US threatening to revoke the mandate outright if Israel didn’t more or less get its way.

UNIFIL was meant to keep an eye on the ceasefire in southern Lebanon, but Israel wants it redefined into a more offensive-minded group that roams southern Lebanon confronting Hezbollah militia factions. Since Hezbollah is part of Lebanon’s government, that doesn’t really work for them.

The US previously presented this as an all-or-nothing proposition, that the UNIFIL would be changed or eliminated outright. Lebanon’s response seems to be leaning toward the latter, though it remains to be seen if there is a compromise to be had.

Hezbollah has also criticized the idea of changing UNIFIL’s mandate, preferring the group as it is presently defined, and was critical of US efforts to try to enforce changes.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.