Europe and the second war in Lebanon. The first steps of a civil power?

Abstract

The second war in Lebanon, which took place in summer 2006, gave Europeans the opportunity to strengthen their influence in the Middle East. During the thirty-three days of warfare, which partially destroyed Lebanon, the European Union remained on the fringe of international negotiations, whereas several member States were particularly involved in the conflict, be it on a military ground or a diplomatic one. Uncomfortable with the political exercise of crisis management, because it lacked a strong and coherent voice, the Union provided, however, a remarkable support to the country’s stabilisation and rebuilding. The shaping of a “Europe of defence” and the promotion of the image of the Union as a “kind power” were both fuelled by the various capacities the EU mobilized during the war and in its aftermath. Yet, the EU is still struggling to be recognized as real power in regional issues. But it may meet new opportunities to play a role, thanks to the present failures of the American strategy to “reshape the Middle East”.

AFRI 2008 Summary