Obama Mulls Pulling US Peacekeepers From Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula
JNS.org – Reports indicate that President Barack Obama is quietly reviewing the future of U.S. military peacekeepers in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula as the threat of Islamic State-affiliated terrorists grows there.
The U.S. peacekeepers serve as part of a larger contingent of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), which was established following the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.
“The U.S. is concerned over deteriorating security conditions in an area of northeastern Sinai where Egyptian security forces as well as civilian and military elements of the MFO, including the U.S. military forces stationed at the MFO North Camp, are exposed to potential risk,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, the Associated Press reported.
Given the growing threat of Islamic State terrorists, some have questioned the need for a peacekeeping force that appears to be a relic of a bygone era. The U.S. peacekeepers are lightly armed and do not have the weapons necessary to confront Islamic State terrorists.
Under Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, relations between Egypt and Israel have improved significantly. The two countries cooperate closely on military and intelligence issues such as addressing Islamic extremism, and Israel has allowed Egypt to beef up its military presence in the Sinai to confront the Islamic State terrorists.