September 1, 2023 | Flash Brief

UAE Condemns Hezbollah as UNIFIL Mandate Renewed  

September 1, 2023 | Flash Brief

UAE Condemns Hezbollah as UNIFIL Mandate Renewed  

Latest Developments 

The United Nations Security Council voted to renew the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year on August 31. However, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined the United States in expressing concern that the resolution did not address the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah’s obstruction of UNIFIL’s operations. While the renewed mandate asserts the peacekeepers’ right to patrol any site in its area of operation, UNIFIL has continued to voluntarily coordinate its patrols with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which in turn coordinates directly with Hezbollah. 

“The UAE also fails to understand the hesitation to name Hezbollah and its [armed] group, who are actively undermining UNIFIL’s ability to conduct its mandate within its areas of operation,” said UAE Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh after the vote. “No amount of accommodation will change the fact that the pursuit of progress in Lebanon through partnership with Hezbollah has only yielded disappointment and misery, not least of all for the people of Lebanon.” 

Expert Analysis 

“Before the vote, Hezbollah said that if UNIFIL was granted freedom, the resolution will be ‘ink on paper.’ The group is already in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701, and doesn’t mind violating the new UNIFIL mandate. On the contrary, Hezbollah believes it has UNIFIL at its mercy and can twist the international community’s arm by targeting UNIFIL personnel if the Iran proxy sees fit.” — Hussain Abdul-Hussain, FDD Research Fellow 

“Celebrating the preservation of language concerning UNIFIL’s independence of movement only underscores the overall silliness of the force and its mandate. Over the past year, while this language was in effect, not only was there no positive change in the status quo, but Hezbollah crossed into Israel, set up an outpost that remains in place, and orchestrated rocket fire into Israel, along with other violations. The LAF has assisted the group, secured its arms shipments, and continued to block UNIFIL. The Biden administration’s response has been to reward both Hezbollah and the LAF, underscoring the farcical nature of the policy.” Tony Badran, FDD Research Fellow 

Hezbollah Restricts Freedom of Movement 

In 2006, UN Security Council Resolution 1701 tasked UNIFIL with assisting the LAF in establishing a buffer zone on Lebanon’s southern border with Israel and keeping it “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons.” Since then, the Security Council has voted to renew the mandate on an annual basis. 

Yet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an August 2023 letter to the Security Council that UNIFIL continues to face restrictions in its freedom of movement to locations of interest. Hezbollah, which essentially controls southern Lebanon, continues to amass weapons and build tunnels and outposts while preventing UNIFIL’s freedom of operations. Hezbollah has a record of violence against UNIFIL, such as a December 2022 incident in which Hezbollah operatives attacked a peacekeeper convoy, killing an Irish soldier. 

Treasury Department Sanctions Hezbollah’ Green’ Front Group,” FDD Flash Brief 

Israel Sharpens Warning to Lebanon Over Hezbollah Provocations,” FDD Flash Brief 

Lebanese Judge Indicts Hezbollah Members for UN Peacekeeper’s Death,” by Natalie Ecanow 

Death of UNIFIL Soldier Reflects Hezbollah’s Continuing Impunity in Lebanon,” FDD Flash Brief 


Hezbollah International Organizations Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Lebanon