United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon

28 June 1958 — 18 December 1958

The Irish Defence Forces first contribution to UN peacekeeping began with a call from the Secretary General for an Irish contingent to serve with UNOGIL. Internal divisions between the different cultural groups in Lebanon and pressures from outside powers had led to serious instability and the need for impartial observers. The Muslim opposition had taken up arms against President Camille Chamoun, a Maronite Christian who had announced his intention to alter the constitution in order to retain the Presidency. 

The rebels were supported by the United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria) under the leadership of Egypt's President Nasser. The Lebanese government complained to the United Nations of the infiltration of arms and ammunition across the Syrian border. In response the UN instituted the UNOGIL mission comprising of unarmed military observers. 

In the six months that Irish personnel served with this mission they were based along the Syrian border, but also patrolled areas such as Baalbek, Tyre and Sidon.  Their duties consisted of monitoring border crossing points and visiting local villages to display an international presence and gain the confidence of the population. The force consisted of 600 officers from 21 countries, the Irish contingent, at 50, being the fourth largest.

Operation Details
Duration 28 June 1958 — 18 December 1958
Operation type    UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment 50 cumulative missions 

 

Visit the Official UNOGIL website

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