INTERFET - International force East Timor: Temporary Success or a Model Humanitarian Military Intervention?


  • Winnerstig Mike

Publish date: 2002-01-01

Report number: FOI-R--0404--SE

Pages: 57

Written in: Swedish


The INTERFET operation is usually considered a successful military hurnanitarian intervention. The re- search question of this report is whether it is possible to draw general conciusions from the operation or if the success of INTERFET was an exception that was due to the special circumstances under which it was deployed. The general conclusion of this report is that although a large part of the success of INTERFET did relate to certain special circumstances and conditions, the operation was in fact more successful than what could have been expected. Thus, to an extent it can serve as a model for future similar operations and interventions. The special circumstances related above all to the lack of great power confrontation in the area. On the general level, the operation was substantially supported by a clear but not restrictive UN Security Council mandate and by the responsibility taken by the Iead nation", Australia, and its armed forces. Furthermore, experiences from the operation underline the importance both of good intelligence and the capability of the participating troops to perform both traditional peace support tasks and conven- tional ground warfare, should the latter become necessary. Sweden´s capability to participate substantially in several peace support or humanitarian~rnissions si- multaneously is rather limited. Better intelligence and better intelligence analysis, particularly concerning remote parts of the world such as East Timor, had most likely enhanced the Swedish contribution to the INTERFET operation.