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handle is hein.crs/govejyp0001 and id is 1 raw text is: Con gressionaI Research Service
Inforrning the Iegislative debate since 1914
Updated December 27, 2022
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
has been deployed in the Lebanon-Israel-Syria triborder
area since 1978. The mission was deployed following the
1978 Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon targeting the
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which used
Lebanon as a base to wage a guerilla war against Israel.
Israel maintained a self-declared security zone in southern
Lebanon until 2000, and the formal boundaries in the
triborder area remain disputed. The United States has
supported UNIFIL with the aim of bolstering the authority
of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in UNIFIL's
operating area (see Figure 1) in southern Lebanon, a region
historically dominated by Hezbollah.
Evotion of UNIFIL Mandate
UNIFIL's initial mandate was to confirm the withdrawal of
Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, restore peace and
security, and assist the Lebanese government in restoring its
authority in southern Lebanon (a traditionally Shi'a area
that became a Hezbollah stronghold in the 1980s). Israel
withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon in 2000. The
United Nations subsequently identified a 120 km interim
boundary line between Lebanon and Israel to use as a
reference for confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces.
The Line of Withdrawal, commonly known as the Blue
Line, is not an international border demarcation between
the two states. It incorporates elements of the 1949
Armistice Line and French Mandate-era administrative
boundaries between Syria and Lebanon.
After Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in 2006,
U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701 (2006)
increased UNIFIL's troop ceiling and expanded its mandate
to include monitoring the cessation of hostilities between
the two sides, accompanying and supporting the LAF as
they deployed throughout southern Lebanon. UNSCR 1701
authorized UNIFIL to assist the Lebanese government in
the establishment of an area free of any armed personnel,
assets and weapons other than those of the Government of
Lebanon and of UNIFIL between the Blue Line and the
Litani River, which UNIFIL defines as its area of
operations. UNSCR 1701 also calls upon the government of
Lebanon to secure its borders and asks UNIFIL to assist
the Government of Lebanon at its request.
Implementation of UNSCR i 70 1
According to UNIFIL, Any unauthorized crossing of the
Blue Line by land or by air from any side constitutes a
violation of Security Council resolution 1701. UNIFIL
monitors violations of UNSCR 1701, and the U.N.
Secretary-General reports regularly to the U.N. Security
Council on the implementation of UNSCR 1701. These
reports have listed violations by Hezbollah, such as the
construction of underground tunnels that cross beneath the

Blue Line, as well as violations by Israel, such as regular
incursions into Lebanese airspace.
Figure I. UNIFIL Area of Operations

Notes: Created by CRS. Boundaries from ESRI and U.S. State
Department. UNDOF = UN Disengagement Observer Force.
Size and Structure
UNIFIL is headquartered in the Lebanese town of Naqoura,
14 miles south of Tyre. Its leadership rotates among troop-
contributing states; since February 2022 UNIFIL has been
led by General Aroldo Lizaro Sienz (Spain). As of August
2022, UNIFIL deploys approximately 9,900 troops from 48
countries in a 1060 square km zone roughly a third the size
of Rhode Island. The largest troop contributing countries
are Indonesia, Italy, India, Ghana, and Nepal. (U.S. forces
do not participate in UNIFIL). UNIFIL's mandate falls
under Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter, which allows for the
use of force primarily in self-defense, rather than Chapter
VII, which would enable enforcement by military means.
Since 1978, UNIFIL has reported 325 fatalities. Three-
quarters of these occurred prior to 2000.
Maritime Task Force. UNIFIL's Maritime Task Force
(MTF) operates along the entire length of the Lebanese
coastline and assists the Lebanese Navy in preventing the
entry of unauthorized arms or other materials to Lebanon.
Led by Germany, the force comprises five vessels (one each
from Bangladesh, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, and
Turkey.) In December 2022, Germany initiated the
provisional handover of the Maritime Interdiction
Operations Command from UNIFIL to the Lebanese Navy.
UNIFIL stated that this would eventually enable the
Lebanese Navy, for the first time in 16 years, to take

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