Changed situation in Golan Heights renders UN peacekeeping mission there irrelevant

It seems the real question that needs to be asked with regard to the role of Filipino troops deployed to United Nations peacekeeping missions in the Middle East is this:

Is it our war?

As the term “peacekeeper” implies, UN “peacekeeping” missions protect peace within their respective areas of responsibility. When there is no longer any “peace” to “keep”, the mission presumably ends and troops from states directly involved in the conflict that have been issued more, shall we say, conventional marching orders then take over.

UNDOF Golan Heights 'peace' mission: Still relevant?
UNDOF Golan Heights ‘peace’ mission: Still relevant?
The situation in the Golan Heights had, in recent days, clearly deteriorated beyond the point where it can still be argued that the UN’s peacekeeping mission there (carried out by the UN Disengagement Observer Force, or UNDOF) remains relevant. The original peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights involved largely enforcing the demilitarisation of the zone that has served as a buffer between Syria and Israel since 1974. But the enemy UN troops faced in this instance involved neither. The Islamist militants they were battling this time was an enemy of both Israel and Syria. Indeed, the survival and ensuing successful pullout of Filipino troops defending their positions there can be owed partly to artillery cover reportedly provided by Syrian troops.

Seen in this light, one can argue that UNDOF’s then Filipino chief of staff (and the force’s second-in-command) Col. Ezra Enriquez decision to defy the orders of UNDOF commander Lt. Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha was the right one. The situation in the Golan Heights, as many observers have noted was “fluid”. And in a fluid situation, the rules become gray. To highlight that point, the new, recently-appointed, Irish deputy commander of the UNDOF (replacing Enriquez who has since taken leave of the position) takes over even as the Irish government mounts a review to “re-evaluate” the role of their troops in the region.

As such, the position of the UN command on this matter, hinged on the technicalities of a mission that no longer fits the changed situation in the Golan Heights, now rings hollow…

According to the note, the COS of the mission — the Filipino officer who resigned — took orders from “Manila and acted with myopic focus only on the contingent, compromising the mission planning to ensure safety of all peacekeepers irrespective of contingents”.

According to Singha, the Filipino troops holed up in Positions 68 and 69 were ordered to surrender to the Islamist militants to ensure the safety of 45 Fijian peacekeepers that had earlier complied to his orders to surrender to the rebels. That these Fijian troops remain missing to this day punctuates the poignancy of a soldier’s plight under a fragmented command and a mission-turned-ambiguous. The Fijians are now clearly being used as hostages by the militants to further their cause…

Fiji commander’s Brig Gen Mosese Tikoitoga said on Tuesday that the Nusra Front has made three demands for the release of the peacekeepers: It wants to be taken off the UN terrorist list, wants humanitarian aid delivered to parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, and wants compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed in a shootout with UN officers.

The Nusra Front accused the UN of doing nothing to help the Syrian people since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011. It said the Fijians were seized in retaliation for the UN’s ignoring “the daily shedding of the Muslims’ blood in Syria” and even colluding with Assad’s army “to facilitate its movement to strike the vulnerable Muslims” through a buffer zone in the Golan Heights.

Even before this crisis, the Philippine government had already recognised the changed situation in the Golan Heights and mounted a withdrawal of its forces there. The UN for its part also needs to start changing the way it sees its role there.

[Photo courtesy DW.de.]
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20 Comments on “Changed situation in Golan Heights renders UN peacekeeping mission there irrelevant”

  1. “Is it our war?”

    There comes a point when we have to decide that we are sick and tired of the slaughter and can no longer stand by doing nothing. It is sheer lunacy for the United Nations to send a ‘peacekeeping’ force into places where there is no peace to keep, then forbid them to create the peace, ordering them instead to watch the brutality unfold without interfering.

  2. UNDOF has faced criticism from contributing nations over its role in the Golan Heights, an area according to the Irish defense minister can no longer be considered demilitarized. The situation there has escalated, and peacekeeping missions there face increasing militant aggression. Expectedly, contributing countries are reluctant to send more troops there unless armaments are increased, command-and-control is strengthened, and the rules of engagement is modified. The Philippine contingent’s duration of stay is long overextended, according to the AFP chief-of-staff.

    I’m not sure about what really went on there. The Filipino commander said they were given orders to surrender, which the UN explicitly denies. Whatever the case may be, I do agree that the UN needs to reevaluate their operational role there.

  3. Question is… will the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)play a future major role in suppressing increasing militant action in the Golan Heights area? The UN peace keeping action with its limited resources continues its minor support role and is hindered by many factors. Our own troops should have links with the IDF. Exchanges not only in information but including increasing operational roles for the UN forces have to be established with the IDF. The IDF have armor, artillery, air assets and even excellent infantry. Increasing support roles should include observation and fire control for artillery and armor, forward air observers for air strikes of air assets, intelligence sharing and joint force ground operations. The UN peacekeeping team just do not have the same effective strike capability as the IDF.

    1. @ TJ : You would not ask for Israeli support if you knew what they think of Filipino’s. Wow, you are an idiot Goyim, aren’t you ?

      1. @VLAD

        Into the same name calling games again aren’t you? Read my opinion again. Mutual support will give the UN Peacekeeping team an edge. I have friends in the Israeli consulate who agree with me. IF you are asking for a reaction from me it will not happen. Try harder in your name calling and I will just laugh at you.

        1. The Israeli think highly of the Gentiles/Goyim, Filipino’s ? YES? DO THEY? You really are a fuckin idiot.
          You do know that,yes?
          I don’t and won’t read your fantastically moronic comment again as I only needed to read it once to know what a retard you are.
          Go ahead and get in bed with the Zionist Israeli’s, just remember:Lay down with dogs and get up with flea’s (and that is if your lucky).

          The Talmud, and how it teaches the Jews to treat other non-jew people’s is soo bad and tells jews to treat non-jews in such a way that if you only knew what they think of Filipino’s, you’d never have anything to do with them! NEVER, TJ, ever again.

          OH and it is complete irony that that is their slogan concerning the holocaust.(NEVER AGAIN) The Jew thinks they are sooo exceptional as to call the murder of their bros & sis’s during WW 2 a holocaust. No other race’s of people that has faced pograms and genocidal massacre’s throughout history has thought so arrogantly highly of themselves to make such a claim.

          BTW, Isreali’s do not need your little battalion of soldiers, they don’t.Trust!

        2. @VLAD

          Try harder little boy. I told you I will not react like you do. I could notify the web administrator to shut you down… But you are too amusing. LOL! Why you want to make enemies of everyone including insulting the Israelis is beyond me. Look up Jews for Jesus. You still don’t get the point nor do you respect the opinion of others.

        3. “I’ll go get my friend Harvey”, and “then you’ll be sorry!”.
          See what happens when someone villainizes the real culprits?

          Just playin with you anyway, get tough Son, you sound like a little girl.

        4. LOOK,it went right over your head. You are not laughing at anyone. You just have no comeback.THEY DONT NEED THE FILIPINO’s,you are dense BOY, DENSE !

  4. The Nusra Front and ISIS are not signatories in the disengagement deal in the Golan Heights, Syria. It was the Syrian government of Pres. Assad and the Israeli government.

    So the UN Peacekeeping Mission, in the Golan Heights is no longer relevant.

    If Israel is attacked by these Rebel Forces. The Israel Defense Force will surely retaliate; and invade the area. It will be like the invasion of Gaza ruled by HAMAS. These Rebel Forces cannot win against Israel.
    PM Natanyehu is a very tough guy. And, the IDF has years of experience in fighting Islamic Militants…

  5. Right. It is between Assad‘s troops versus al-Nustra. ISIS might join in soon. Israeli forces is watching closely, might even help Syrian refugees.

    Meanwhile, Obama and Cameron are still figuring out what to do.

  6. So the modern day crusades continues? It is ironic that the Main Stream Media in the West, is run 90% by Jews.It is a further irony that the issues concerning the Non-jewish people in the West, who are the vast majorities of people in the these NATO countries, are not even being discussed at this summit.What really matters to people in the NATO countries is barely discussed at these meetings,what a shame it all is!BUT mention that an missile with-out a war head/explosive fictitiously landed in Israel, and the whole world is finding out about it.ANY irony in that?
    The skewing of the agenda by the Zionist media is criminal in its intent to subjugate through fear. It is disinformation at its ‘IVY LEE’ best. All while the criminal Neo-Con/Zionist banking cartels handles the rest of the subjugation of the masses.
    Pretty impressive manipulation of the masses,it really is.Its always too late when the charade is uncovered.

    WHERE IS ‘SMEDLEY BUTLER’ WHEN WE NEED HIM MOST?

    1. @ THOM , you really think anyone in this thread, besides the foreigners,knows who Smedley Butler was? and anyway, what he said was never proven in court. BUT he was a Maj.General in the US Marine corps. so I do not doubt what the Man had to say abut G W Bush’s Grand-Daddy.

  7. is it our war? no. but our troops were part of a multi-national effort to keep the peace in a very troubled region. and we are all happy that all are safe, while we pray for the safety others who have yet to be accounted for.

    the situation might have changed radically since the 1970s when the “blue helmets” served in their areas of responsibility without arms, but the mission still remains. regardless of the commander. regardless of the threats. regardless of people’s sentiments.

    we had welcomed international help when we went through Haiyan and other disasters – natural and man-made. some help arrived under poor conditions for and threats to the relief providers. are we not obliged to help others with the same dedication, too? we committed troops to a task force for a mission – and now we want out? because things have changed? because “di natin type yung pamamalakad ng mga ibang di natin kababayan”?

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