Italy’s role in the post-2006 United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL II) is generally considered the crowning achievement of Rome’s foreign policy. Italy has played a major role in promoting and developing UNIFIL II while also surpassing traditional powers in the region, like the US and France, in importance. Elaborating on the “legitimacy-legitimization” dichotomy in international peace-keeping, this article contends that Italy’s prominent role within the mission was decisive in accomplishing the legitimization of UNIFIL II to Lebanese political actors and southern populations. Two factors made Italy the most reliable player to interact with both the society and the government of Lebanon after the Israeli invasion of 2006: a long-standing tradition of “equidistance” (equidistanza) towards the Arab-Israeli conflict, and a positive memory of the Italian contingent, ITALCON, operating in Beirut from 1982 to 1984. This article finally argues that, through UNIFIL II, Italy’s Mediterranean politics gained an autonomous position while simultaneously affirming a proactive role within the UN.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||CAHIERS DE LA MÉDITERRANÉE|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|