Era of Peacekeeping has ended for Canada


Jersay
#1
TIBERIUS, Israel (CP) - An era came to an end Friday as the Canadian military formally gave up its 32-year-old peacekeeping mission on the Golan Heights and pretty much ended its longstanding connection with UN peace forces.

Op Danaca, Canada's 190-member commitment to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force on the Syria-Israel border, was Canada's last contribution of any size to traditional peacekeeping. The Canadian Forces said it needs the skilled soldiers from the operation for other jobs, including Afghanistan.

Two token soldiers will be left with the force by summer and Canada's total military contribution to UN peacekeeping - which 15 years ago involved up to 4,000 troops - will be reduced to about 60 soldiers in a half-dozen missions.

The largest Canadian contribution will be 32 people in Sudan. In contrast, Bangladesh has about 9,700 troops on UN missions and Hungary contributes about 8,600.

In all, there are about 68,000 soldiers on UN operations around the world. In Canada's case, there now will be more policemen than soldiers serving with the UN.

"With the end of this mission, you'll be able to fit all of Canada's UN peacekeepers on a school bus," said Steven Staples of the Polaris Institute.

The Golan Heights force was set up after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war to monitor the ceasefire. For a generation, Canadian soldiers have provided logistical and communications services to the operation.

Canada's big contribution abroad now is its 2,300 soldiers assigned to Afghanistan, but they are there as part of a NATO operation, not as UN blue berets.

Jim Fergusson of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the University of Manitoba said it's the wave of the future.

Too often, he said, UN operations - Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia - have been seen as flops because of bureaucracy and politics.

Effective mandates were hard to develop; resources were always scarce and cautious UN rules often prevented troops from doing the job.

"I think we came to realize by default over time that the UN was just not the best way to deliver this," he said.

"I don't think we've given up on the UN per se, but I think what we have implicitly recognized is the failure we attribute to the United Nations in peacekeeping."


More and more, Fergusson said, international peacekeeping missions are being left to ad hoc coalitions or regional security groups, such as NATO or the African Union, with UN approval.

"In a way, what's happened was that there was a recognition that there are functionally more effective, more efficient and politically more realistic ways to deliver peace operations with the UN and the Security Council providing that umbrella of legitimacy over operations and pulling themselves out of the actual delivery."

Peacekeeping has changed, too, he said. The traditional UN role as a disinterested group policing an agreed-on ceasefire between warring sides doesn't apply any more.

It doesn't work with the suicide-bombing insurgents in places like Afghanistan.

"We have to start recognizing that we are at war," he said. "It's not war that our grandparents and parents would recognize from the Second World War, but it's what modern war looks like."

Canada's departure from the Golan was noted with regret by the Canada-Israel Committee

"The fact that UNDOF has been able to maintain relative quiet on the border between Israel and Syria is in part testament to the excellent work and professionalism that Canadian Forces have played in monitoring and supervising the disengagement agreement," the group said in a statement.

Canada was a charter member of the UN peacekeeping movement, sending troops on more than 50 missions over five decades. It kept a battalion in Cyprus for more than 25 years, and sent troops to Yugoslavia, the Sinai, Cambodia, Central America and Africa.

More than 100 were killed over the years, including nine who died when an airborne resupply mission to the Golan was shot down by the Syrians in 1974.

http://start.shaw.ca/start/enCA/News...c=w032447A.xml

I think this is upsetting because I was looking forward to going on U.N missions.

This better not be the beginning of an era where we follow America and go to wars that we shouldn't be involved in.
 
Mogz
Conservative
#2
Quote:

Too often, he said, UN operations - Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia - have been seen as flops because of bureaucracy and politics.

Effective mandates were hard to develop; resources were always scarce and cautious UN rules often prevented troops from doing the job.

"I think we came to realize by default over time that the UN was just not the best way to deliver this," he said.

"I don't think we've given up on the UN per se, but I think what we have implicitly recognized is the failure we attribute to the United Nations in peacekeeping."

That's pretty much verbatim what I posted in another thread regarding the UN. Creepy.


Quote:

I think this is upsetting because I was looking forward to going on U.N missions.

This better not be the beginning of an era where we follow America and go to wars that we shouldn't be involved in.

I'm sorry Jersay, but the UN, as i've highlighted before, doesn't do the job everyone thinks it does. It's a nice idea that works in theory, but in the grand scheme of things, especially in the three block war scenario, it is a waste of time. As for even considering we, as a nation, will begin waging wars for the sake of doing so, I suggest you try to get more in touch with what the CF is, what we value, and what our mission statement is. If you know that info, you'll realize that we as a nation don't go to war for the sake of going to war. Yes we are a war fighting nation, but that doesn't mean we go out of our way to do so. Also remember, just because you don't think the nation should be involved in the war, that doesn't mean you're right. Your job, as a soldier, regular or reserve, is to defend this nations interests. For me, that means that if tomorrow the Government deems it necessary to send troops to Iraq, i'll go. I may not agree with it, but i'll go. Velox Versutus Vigilans.
 
tracy
#3
I read about this a few years ago. They were saying that more and more it will be the poor countries who actually contribute troops to peacekeeping missions while the richer countries will contribute financially. They have the people to spare and we have the money apparently.
 
Mogz
Conservative
#4
Interesting theory. I know that Bangladesh, while not being the richest nation on earth by far, provides some excellent soldiers for U.N. missions. I know people that served with the Bangys in Haiti in the 90's and they had nothing but good things to say about them and their dedication.
 
Jersay
#5
You are right Mogz. But even if I defend national interest I will still go but I don't need to support the actions surrounding the mission.
 
tracy
#6
Interesting Mogz. I've never seen a Bangledeshi soldier before. I heard the Fijians and Indians contribute a good number as well. I don't know how I feel about this.
 
Mogz
Conservative
#7
It's kind of a catch-22 tracy. On one hand you get a wealth of soldiers for cheap, but how does the old saying go "you get what you pay for"? Some nations that have the luxary of a large population, Indian, Pakistan, etc etc, aren't so muc the focus of my worry, as are the poorer nations, i.e. the African ones. I know for a fact that Canada runs peacekeeping schools at several bases with the intent on training foreign soldiers how to do the job properly. If perhaps the "3rd World" peacekeepers were to attend the schools, then maybe i'd feel a bit better about sending them in. With regard to the Fijians, i've never seen them peacekeep, nor heard anything about them, interesting, i'm going to look in to it. I think you and I are both on the same page tracy, pleased with the contribution of the poorer nations, but at the same time apprehensive as to what the quality will be. I guess we'll have to wait it out.

Quote:

You are right Mogz. But even if I defend national interest I will still go but I don't need to support the actions surrounding the mission.

Couldn't agree more buddy. Sometimes we're bound to do things that we don't agree with, it's one of the many mental hazards of the job. As long as you can keep things in perspective and do your job in accordance with your own code of morals, then you should be fine.
 
Johnny Utah
#8
What about in the former Yugoslavia, Bosnia? Surely there still is Peacekeeping Missions there?
 
Colpy
Conservative
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by Mogz

Interesting theory. I know that Bangladesh, while not being the richest nation on earth by far, provides some excellent soldiers for U.N. missions. I know people that served with the Bangys in Haiti in the 90's and they had nothing but good things to say about them and their dedication.

That is good to hear.

My understanding is that the UN pays each contributing nation a stipend for the use of their soldiers. While, to a western country, this does not cover the financial burden of their deployment,or pay their wages, poor nations like Bangladesh actually make desperately-needed foreign currency from this.

If that works, I see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Edited to say.......I know for sure that a year or two ago Bangladesh contributed by far the most troops of any nation to UN missions.

Canada ranked 34th.

Jersay, Canada has not been a peacekeeping nation for a LONG time.
 
tracy
#10
You summed it up for me Mogz. I also don't know how I feel about... well it makes it seem like their soldiers lives are somehow worth less than ours. Like "Oh no, Canadians don't do that, we leave that to the poor people who continue to have lots of babies". It makes me a bit uncomfortable.
 
Mogz
Conservative
#11
Quote:

What about in the former Yugoslavia, Bosnia? Surely there still is Peacekeeping Missions there?

Since the mid-90's the Former Yugoslavia has been a NATO mission because the U.N. mission failed, miserably. Regardless, SFOR is standing down, Canada pulled out in 2004, and the Brits will be winding down this fall. The region is not hostile.

Quote:

My understanding is that the UN pays each contributing nation a stipend for the use of their soldiers. While, to a western country, this does not cover the financial burden of their deployment,or pay their wages, poor nations like Bangladesh actually make desperately-needed foreign currency from this.

Exactly right Colpy, however this system is flawed. When Canada deploys on a U.N. mission we take everything we need, bullets and beans, tents, vehicles, generators, the list goes on. When the Bangys landed in Haiti they had their rifles and their rucksacks, the U.N. provided then with everything else. At the end of the tour, the Bangys took it all home, thus the U.N. lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not a bad thing in and of itself, just not cost effective.

Quote:

Canada ranked 34th.

Jersay, Canada has not been a peacekeeping nation for a LONG time.

Yes, we;ve gotten away from peacekeeping, and I support it. I have no problem with the lads strapping on the blue beret, but only if the situation warrants it. Sadly in the 21st century, not many conflicts have room for peacekeepers. Furthermore we're seeing a decline in Canadian peacekeepers and an increase in others because Canada is one of the few nations on Earth that can deploy to a region like Afghanistan, and survive. We have the infastructure, the training, and the equipment. Nations like Bangladesh do not, so they contribute it a light role. I applaud them for it.

Quote:

You summed it up for me Mogz. I also don't know how I feel about... well it makes it seem like their soldiers lives are somehow worth less than ours. Like "Oh no, Canadians don't do that, we leave that to the poor people who continue to have lots of babies". It makes me a bit uncomfortable.

You have a point I never considered actually tracy. Good point. However I don't feel that Canada, or Canadians in general would deem 3rd World nation soldiers more expendable, at least I hope not. I think it boils down to the state of the World today. Canada is deeply entrenched in Afghanistan, a warzone we'll be in for a long time from the sounds of it. Sadly due to our limited manpower (thanks for the 30+ years of neglect) we cannot maintain our U.N. obligations AND fight a war. We've deemed the War much more important as it pertains to our own national security, and as such we cannot work as peacekeepers until we've ensured our priorities are met. As I said above, the nations that cannot participate in Afghanistan due to a lack up equipment are perfect to step in and fill the light peacekeeping role. I hope you aren't correct, and the Western powers have not deemed poorer nations as expendable.
 
tracy
#12
Mogz, I certainly support prioritizing and right now that means Afghanistan. I just don't think this trend of lessening our troop commitments to UN peacekeeping would be different even if we weren't in Afghanistan. The article I read was before 2001 and this war on terror. Third world countries were already contributing the bulk of troops for those missions back then.

I don't think we mean to see those other countries citizens as expendable, but I think that's human nature to a certain extent. As a group we seem to care more about people who are more like us. It's no doubt why Kosovo and Darfur cause such different reactions.
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Mogz

Quote:

Too often, he said, UN operations - Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia - have been seen as flops because of bureaucracy and politics.

Effective mandates were hard to develop; resources were always scarce and cautious UN rules often prevented troops from doing the job.

"I think we came to realize by default over time that the UN was just not the best way to deliver this," he said.

"I don't think we've given up on the UN per se, but I think what we have implicitly recognized is the failure we attribute to the United Nations in peacekeeping."

That's pretty much verbatim what I posted in another thread regarding the UN. Creepy.


Quote:

I think this is upsetting because I was looking forward to going on U.N missions.

This better not be the beginning of an era where we follow America and go to wars that we shouldn't be involved in.

I'm sorry Jersay, but the UN, as i've highlighted before, doesn't do the job everyone thinks it does. It's a nice idea that works in theory, but in the grand scheme of things, especially in the three block war scenario, it is a waste of time. As for even considering we, as a nation, will begin waging wars for the sake of doing so, I suggest you try to get more in touch with what the CF is, what we value, and what our mission statement is. If you know that info, you'll realize that we as a nation don't go to war for the sake of going to war. Yes we are a war fighting nation, but that doesn't mean we go out of our way to do so. Also remember, just because you don't think the nation should be involved in the war, that doesn't mean you're right. Your job, as a soldier, regular or reserve, is to defend this nations interests. For me, that means that if tomorrow the Government deems it necessary to send troops to Iraq, i'll go. I may not agree with it, but i'll go. Velox Versutus Vigilans.

in the grand scheme of things
three block war scenario
what we value and what our mission statement is
yes we are a war fighting nation
your job is to defend this nations business interests.

We value your call for our customer service dept; press 1
For the grand scheme of things press 2
For the three block war scenario press 3
For values and mission statement press 4
For yes we are a war fighting nation press 5
For your job is to defend this nations business interests press 7
For the pentagon press 6 three times

This call may be monitored to hear what you're saying
 
Mogz
Conservative
#14
Quote:

Mogz, I certainly support prioritizing and right now that means Afghanistan. I just don't think this trend of lessening our troop commitments to UN peacekeeping would be different even if we weren't in Afghanistan. The article I read was before 2001 and this war on terror. Third world countries were already contributing the bulk of troops for those missions back then.

I don't think we mean to see those other countries citizens as expendable, but I think that's human nature to a certain extent. As a group we seem to care more about people who are more like us. It's no doubt why Kosovo and Darfur cause such different reactions.

All quite possible tracy. We have scaled back our UN missions in years past, but simply because we, as a nation, couldn't spare the manpower. The U.S. has never peacekept, and Britian was in the same boat as us. Sadly the Western nations are finding their troops more and more taxed (even pre-9/11) and with the turn of events as of late we're more stretched. As for human nature, I think you may be on to something. We as humans do poses this sort of survival instinct that forces us to be partial to ones own countrymen, however that has never been the Canadian way. We've always worked hard to contribute where ever we could. Simply put, we ran out of juice. Our men were burnt and we simply had to "shut'er down". With nations with huge populations, they simply have more people to put in to theatre and thus have a slower turnover rate. Makes perfect sense to me.
 

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