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United Nations Peacekeeping Forces On Israel-Syria Border At Risk Of Collapsing

United Nations peacekeeping forces on the Israel-Syria border are at risk of collapsing, the French ambassador to the UN warned earlier this week. The spiraling anarchy in western Syria is punctuated by routine clashes between forces loyal to the regime of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad and rebels seeking its overthrow. The violence has imperiled the approximately 1,000 United Nations Disengagement Observer Forces (UNDOF) troops in the area, and Japan is planning a withdrawal from the area citing security concerns. Israel has long expressed concerns about the robustness of UN peacekeeping forces, stretching back to the 1967 UN decision to withdraw peacekeepers from the Sinai Peninsula, a move that Israeli veteran diplomat Abba Eban once criticized for having been made with “unparalleled speed.” Coupled with the widespread failure of UN peacekeeping troops in Lebanon, a UNDOF collapse may badly damage the credibility of UN missions.