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U.N. Peacekeepers Vacate Golan Zone Between Syria and Israel

Updated on June 8, 2013

The strategy of the rebel forces attacking the Golan buffer zone between Syria and Israel could be a mistake. No doubt the rebel forces doing the attack seek to create more instability in the region and obtain key crossings where roads cross into either country.

The over 900 man U.N peacekeeping force on the Golan was created after the Israelis had counterattacked during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. This counterattack came only after Syria had almost crushed Israel with its 600 tank assault across the Golan, to which the IDF was not prepared for. The IDF counterattack seemed like a miracle, from the ashes of near defeat, the IDF regathered and crossed into Syria and came within 20 miles of Damascus. Assad's father was Syria's leader at the time. It was only after Russia threatened to use nuclear weapons that halted the advance.

That end the war and the Golan buffer zone was created and manned by the U.N. volunteer peacekeepers. Rebel forces have now attacked the key crossing at Qunietra. The peacekeepers are lightly armed at best. The U.N. force there was from Austria. Unable to repel the attack, Syrian military units intervened to restore the status quo. Four rebel groups, probably from al-Nusra, conducted the attack and the force tried to enter the zone occupied by Israeli security forces with little success. The attack came in the early morning when 200 pickers were harvesting cherries.

Because the attack, Austria has pulled its peacekeeping force out of the Golan. This means, only two other countries have troops there-the Philippines and India. The Philippine force may also pull out since the rebels have abducted several of their men. Austria's pull out will create a vacuum unless more countries are willing to send troops.

While creating instability may be the goal of the rebels, they may be hoping to draw Israel into the civil war to widen it and turn the war one that is against Israel and not Assad, while other rebel units try to take Assad out. There is no doubt that Hezbollah might cross from Lebanon or launch missiles across the border as well. The whole area is rapidly disintegrating as time goes on. US marines (1200) have been deployed in Jordan along with F-16s and Patriot missiles. Assad is receiving shipments of S-300 missiles and soon will get Mig-29M.

It seems like the region will soon engulf others. What began as a quest for freedom in Syria has turned into something far different.


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    • swordsbane profile image

      William Grant 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      It was never a quest for freedom. It was a bunch of different groups that have opposed viewpoints on how to exploit the citizens. The "Arab Spring" has given them the ambition and the excuse to act on their hatreds and imagined persecution. The people.... the REAL people, like in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and now in Syria... they are just trying not to get killed and figure out who is winning so they can say good things about them so they won't be rounded up and thrown in prison after the fighting is over.

      The US isn't interested in the people though. If they were, they would ask them what they think. They would fight against ALL of the militant factions in the area until they stop being militant. They would be concentrating on protecting infrastructure and defending against spillover fire rather than trying to back the winning horse in the hopes that once they win, we'll get some cushy trade deal out of it.

      And we CERTAINLY wouldn't be getting in between Israel and her enemies. The Israelis and Hezbolla both made their beds in the region, both obstinately refusing the other sides concessions, the Israeli's because they thought they had the superior moral righteousness and Hezbolla because they haven't wavered at all from their stated intent to wipe out ALL the Jews in Palestine. Someone has to make them clean up their own mess.