UNIFIL: Irish force expands to meet shortfall of others

I’m reading the Daily Star – and before there are howls of outrage and thoughts that I have succumbed to the malaise gripping IOMTODAY I should explain its the Daily Star LEBANON.

The Star is an English language publication in the Levant and as Celtic League frequently focuses on the Irish Defence Forces UN commitment in the area its useful for keeping tabs on what the situation is. Its a subscription publication but you can access most articles via ‘pressreader’.

Ironically as PANA (the Peace and Neutrality Alliance) host a major conference at Liberty Hall in Dublin this weekend to focus on the drift towards US/NATO hegemony and the formation via PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) of a European Army it seems there is a drift away by some from UN commitments such as UNIFIL

Ireland has stepped up its contribution to the stabilisation force. As I reported on the most recent departure of an infantry battalion (link):

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1888621814519904&id=805941286121301

Paradoxically as Ireland steps up to the plate other smaller European powers are reducing their commitment with Estonia withdrawing its small force and Finland cutting its UNIFIL contingent by a third. As Finland withdraws 100 personnel Ireland this month will make up that shortfall via a equivalent increase.

Finland will maintain its strength as part of a Franco-Finnish Force Commander Reserve and France as recently as last month restated its commitment. However I’m dubious of French motives in the area which seem predicated on its colonial past.

What the current ‘military musical chairs’ at UNIFIL indicate that while Europe and the US talk grandly of greater NATO commitment and the formation of EU armies the appetite for legitimately sponsored International action via the UN suffers. I hope the PANA conference will address this and send a clear message to both Leo Varadkar and other leaders.

Bernard Moffatt

pp Celtic League Military Monitoring

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