It’s been an article of recent considered thought in foreign policy circles that inter state war is being replaced by intra state conflict. Today there was panic when the UN announced that forty three peacekeepers had been ‘detained’ by “an armed group”.
There are an estimated 130 Irish soldiers with the 44th Infantry Group at Camp Faouar on the Syrian side of the UN ‘area of separation’, in the Golan Heights. They are part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) established by Security Council Resolution 350 (1974).
Confirming that he would not immediately withdraw Irish troops Simon Coveney, the Minster of Defence nevertheless said..
“The extent of what has happened over the last 24 hours will cause us to review the overall mission when this immediate issue is resolved,” the Minister told RTE radio.
He said if Irish troops withdrew from the mission it was likely that it would collapse. “I wouldn’t make that decision lightly.”
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Defence Seán Ó Fearghaíl has called on the Minister to make a detailed statement on the condition of the Irish troops, presumably
The critical question (should anyone choose to ask or answer it) is surely: does Ireland have the smart defence resources in order to deal with an intra rather than inter state conflict?