The forgotten forces
Israeli, U.S., and Lebanese officials are all coming closer to a point of convergence on the current conflict. All parties see a multi-national force (MNF), led by the U.N. or NATO as a potential next step after Israel’s campaign in southern Lebanon ends. If an international force does in fact arrive in Lebanon, it won’t ...
Israeli, U.S., and Lebanese officials are all coming closer to a point of convergence on the current conflict. All parties see a multi-national force (MNF), led by the U.N. or NATO as a potential next step after Israel's campaign in southern Lebanon ends. If an international force does in fact arrive in Lebanon, it won't be the first to provide security between Israel and a neighboring Arab state. Two other, often forgotten, MNFs have been in place since the 1970s.
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force has kept the peace between Israel and Syria in the disputed Golan Heights since 1974. The 1,033-member force has a yearly budget of over $42 million. The operation has claimed 42 lives since its inception.
On Israel’s southern border, the Multinational Force and Observers keeps watch to ensure that Israel and Egypt comply with the provisions of their 1979 peace treaty. In 1981 it replaced the U.S. Sinai field mission, which had been a quick fix following the July 1979 expiration of the United Nations Emergency Force II (a remnant of the 1973 ceasefire). Approximately 1,700 troops in the MFO operate on a $51 million yearly budget, financed equally by Egypt, Israel and the U.S.
So what good is a international peacekeeping force? One thousand soldiers in the Golan Heights are not stopping Israel and Syria from warfare, and 1,700 in the Sinai certainly will do little if the cold peace between Israel and Egypt breaks down. But, in a region where neighboring countries refuse to trust each other – with good reason on both sides – a third party can provide the peace-of-mind that seems to actually keep the peace.
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