Peacekeeping in South Lebanon

Although the concept of credibility has been identified by the United Nations as a significant factor in successful peacekeeping operations, its role has largely been ignored in the literature on peacekeeping at the local level. In this book, Newby provides the first detailed examination of credibility’s essential place in peacekeeping. With empirically rich analysis, Newby explores the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and its navigation of political tensions in one of the world’s geopolitical flashpoints, a place where the mission’s work is constrained by weak local legitimacy born of a complex political situation. Identifying four types of credibility—technical, material, security, and responsiveness—Newby traces the ways in which building credibility served UNIFIL and has enabled the mission to exercise its mandate despite significant challenges on the ground. Peacekeeping in South Lebanon unpacks the day-to-day business of running a peace mission and argues that credibility should be regarded as an independent construct when considering how a peacekeeping operation functions and survives.


“Newby’s book unpacks what credibility is in peacekeeping and shows why it is an important factor in the success of peace operations.”—The Daily Star

“This book has huge value in contributing to an increasingly utilized—and for me a very productive—trend connecting the local to the international by borrowing from both anthropological observations as well as more conventional IR literature.”—Karim Makdisi, associate professor of political studies, American University of Beirut

“Newby provides a detailed picture of the everyday operations of possibly the most contested and dangerous peacekeeping mission on earth—UNIFIL on the Lebanon–Israel border. She shows that in a context in which its legitimacy is bitterly contested, UNIFIL relies on a carefully maintained credibility among all parties to ensure peace along that volatile border. This book is essential reading for those interested in peacekeeping, international security, and the effectiveness of institutions in an increasingly fractious world.”—Michael Wesley, Australian National University

“How does the United Nations mission in Lebanon operate on the ground? How can peacekeepers build credibility? Why does it matter? These questions are both important and under-explored. Vanessa Newby answers them through an effective blend of thought-provoking theoretical insights and engaging anecdotes.”—Séverine Autesserre, author of Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention

“Newby provides a compelling history of UNIFIL’s efforts, namely preventing skirmishes from escalating on the UN-demarcated Blue Line, strengthening the Lebanese government’s rule in the region, and providing goods and services to Lebanese in need.”—Middle East Journal

“Newby provides a fresh perspective on what are some age-old peacekeeping issues. However, the focus on credibility and the methodology adopted makes this a valuable contribution to scholarship in this field while also providing practical lessons for current peacekeepers.”—Peace & Change


Syracuse University Press