Syria: Does Ireland have the resources to deal with intra state conflict?

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?

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  • Michael Henry

    Ireland can not help Syria with Soldiers any more than America could help IRAQ or Britain could help Afganistan- The CIA helps ( money / weapons )-that armed group that kidnapped those UN Soldiers and so what if that group was involved in the twin towers attack on 9 / 11-

    Surly the command on the ground should make the decision to pull out ( or stay )-and not the minister of defence who is sitting thousands of miles away eating his cornflakes-anyway- I have always had a problem with foreign troops in somebody’s else’s country- built hospitals and forget about playing toy soldiers-

  • tmitch57

    The modern idea of peacekeeping troops was invented by a Canadian politician following the Sinai War of November 1956. The idea was that many Arab countries needed the excuse of foreign troops as an excuse for not going to war with Israel, which they didn’t want to really do because they knew they would get their asses handed to them. So the concept was based on a willing host. The first disaster for the concept was in Katanga Congo, where a company of Irish peacekeepers was taken prisoner by Katangan mercenaries in December 1961. A number of peacekeepers were killed by Baluba tribesmen who were hostile to the Katangan secessionist government. Congo was also a challenge to UN troops in the 1990s. UNPROFOR also had major problems in the Bosnian civil war in the 1990s caught between Bosniaks and Croat and Serb militias. Peacekeeping forces work well in preventing interstate war–at least when the sides aren’t really bent on it, but don’t do so well in civil wars.

  • Mister_Joe

    Your first sentence may well be true but the concept that some people have “the right” to kill others for “political” reasons has been opposed by many for centuries or even millenia.