United Nations (1985). The Blue Helmets: A Review of United Nations Peace-keeping. New York: United Nations Department of Public Information.
The other shortcomings of UNIFIL are perhaps more important in evaluating the prospects of the peacekeeping role, because they point out the extreme difficulty of keeping peace when a state of anarchy prevails. The Lebanese civil war, which broke out in 1976, effectively terminated government in most of Lebanon, and various militias emerged to fill the vacuum. These militias secured outside support from various parties (Israel, Syria, and Iran), but they were and are themselves ethnic or religious--essentially tribal--in character. The patrons of these militias have discovered that they have only limited control over them. Peace is almost impossible to preserve when forces are at large for whom no authoritative negotiator can answer. The most that can be said for UNIFIL is, perhaps, that without it the endemic conflict in southern Lebanon might have been even more serious than it has been, and might have escaleted into general war between Syria and Lebanon.
After the 1973 war was ended by truce, another observation element, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Forces (UNDOF), was deployed in the zone of contention between Israel and Syria, neighboring the occupied Golan Heights in mid-1974 (Durch, 1993, pp. 152-62). As its name suggests, its mission more nearly resembles that of UNTSO than of UNEF I or UNEF II. However, the number of blue-helmet troops deployed is considerable in proportion to the area to be patrolled, so its presence on the ground may be regarded as approaching that of a true peacekeeping force.
The first true United Nations peacekeeping force in the region, UNEF I, has already been alluded to. Its zone of operation was the Sinai Peninsula, and its removal under Egyptian pressure in 1967 was soon followed by war. Although this outcome could not be called a failure of the peacekeep