Economic Crisis, Should We Quit UN Peacekeeping Duties?

KUALA LUMPUR: Reading the story below and realising how much the economic crunch are affecting our armed forces, dont you think we should reconsider our commitments to the UN peacekeeping duties? Malaysian Defence believes it is prudent to do so in these trying times, especially when the countries we have peace keepers have mostly returned to normal.

Malaysian Defence understands that the UN pays some/most of the funds for such operations but we have to fork out the cash first to pay for food and other items first before it is reimbursed by the world body. For example, the police even bought new APCs for its troops in Timor Leste. But in these trying times, shouldnt we be paying our attention to our own shores first before trying to help others? What is the use of protecting a foreign country when we cant even afford to sent ships or planes to patrol our borders?

If the economic crisis really goes from bad to worse, we need every sen and men to protect our back yard. Since we can withdraw from the troubled province of Mindanao, which is in our own back yard, what is stopping us from leaving Timor Leste and Lebanon? The Aussies have a big contingent in the former Indonesian province and I do not believe Syria or Hizbullah will start attacking Israel.

Malaysian Defence understands that the Malaysian peace keeping contingent are not big, between 500 to 800 personnel (mostly in Lebanon and East Timor) but supporting them far from away from home are certainly not cheap, money which could be use to pay for the Somalia piracy operations and Ops Pasir commitments.

It may not be a pretty for the PR types but what is more important, us looking good or a more secure border? Malaysia Defence feelings is pretty clear on this one. Feel free disagree….

–Malaysian Defence

Poland troops may leave Chad, Lebanon to cut costs

WARSAW, Poland – Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Jan. 31 that Poland may withdraw its troops from Chad and Lebanon as part of a 3.9 billion euro cost-cutting plan to help ward off the financial crisis.

“We will consider whether it makes sense to continue with certain foreign missions. We will certainly take a decision about Chad and Lebanon this year,” he said.

The government said on Jan. 27 it is cutting spending by 17 billion zlotys ($5.06 billion) from the 321.221 billion zlotys it had planned to spend this year, in response to the global economic crisis.

Poland’s current 400-member mission in Chad is the second-largest in the European Union’s peacekeeping force after France.

Last month Defence Minister Bogdan Klich said the size of its mission could be cut to 300, when the EU’s U.N.-approved mandate expires in March and the mission is passed to the world body.

Poland also has nearly 500 troops in Lebanon as part of the U.N. peacekeeping force (UNIFIL), which is helping to monitor a cease-fire between Israel and the militia group Hezbollah after a monthlong war in 2006.

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About Marhalim Abas 2149 Articles
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  1. From CDF statement during PC last week Friday, we are likely to be in Lebanon longer, he said that MAF planned for 3 year deployment and now in 2nd year and looks like it may go beyond the three year plan

    Marhalim: Obviously the prestige of UN duty outweigh everything, even common sense. They even want to sent a contingent to Gaza..

  2. Gaza contingent is more political rather than UN prestige and only a small medical detachment which won’t cost that much. Come to think of it likewise on Lebanon though probably motivated in part to giving Malaysia an opening in Lebanon economy

    MArhalim: So when Scomi, Brahim and Air Asia are going to invest in Lebanon? On Gaza, its more prestige, yes it will be much cheaper but it will come direct from our already shallow pockets. But the big question remains, will the Israelis allow us to sent a military medical contingent?

  3. Arent UN peacekeeping missions paid by the UN? Thats why countries like Bangladesh can afford to have international peacekeepers.

    Marhalim: Yes, but we need to pay expenses (fuel and other things first) before UN re-imburse them. But then we have to pay from our own pocket to maintain the equipment that we bought for such missions. For example, the KIFVs, the upgrade work (re-engine) was paid by us. Plus, we have to fork out own money if some VIP decides to visit the troops for PR reasons, which happens all the time.

    Furthermore, the UN is always slow in reimbursement. In 1999, the UN owe us some USD20 million in reimbursement for UN duties. FYI, due to the 1997 economic crisis, we quit Bosnia.

  4. Apart from political and other reasons, I think the main plus point of UN deployments is that the troops gain operational experience in operating with other countries. I believe the army learned a lot from its Bosnia deployment. Whether the army learns from the experience gained is another matter. The downside, apart from the high costs, is that the army’s vehicles return in bad shape due to wear and tear. Similiarly, the Brits, Americans and Canadians have found that due to heavy usage in Afghan and Iraq, vehicles are wearing out much earlier due to heavy use.

    According to a former Canadian army officer in another forum, MALBATT left behind quite a number of soft skin vehicles in Bosnia. As mentioned by me earlier, some of the DROPS equipped Leylands, given free by the Brits for use in Bosnia, were seen at a scrapyard in Ipoh some years ago. Also found out at the ATM expo last weekend that quite a number of Pinzgauers have been written off, due to mantainance difficulties. The same source also said the army was having problems mantaining the BV206s. From what what I was told, the main problem faced is not so much a spares shottage but a lack of trained personnel and bad maintance procedures and mindset.

  5. Quit totally? I hope not but selective engagement and maybe smaller contigent should be considered.

  6. Yes Quit totally no need to put our selves at risk while others like Singapore just sit, do nothing but can purchase a lot of equipment.

  7. Not only do the Singaporeans ‘purchase a lot of equipment’, they spend millions of USD participating in multi national exercises. In terms of doctrine and mindset, they are years ahead of anybody. The MAF is onlu jus inducting UAVs into service, the SAF already has a joint UAV command.

  8. Marhalim,

    About the 120mm mortars to be mounted on the Adnans… has a firm order been signed or was only an MOU or LOI signed?

    I just realised that the RMAF never announces any live missile firings. Thats assuming that live firings are conducted at all. After a Google search, I found that the only live firing of a missile conducted in Malaysian airspace that has been reported was that of a R530 launched from a Butterworth based RAAF Mirage in 1981. It was reported though in a US magazine that simulated Adder firings were performed by MiG-29Ns against 75SQ Hornets during Churinga 96.\

    Marhalim: The TDA mortar contract at DSA 08 was an LOI, meaning that they are now negotiating for the final price and other arrangements (Ie intergration) although the signing of the actual contract may well be put-off although I cannot confirm that at this moment. Since the Adnan ACV-S mortar carrier is supposed to be delivered within this year, I guess they have to decide really soon whether to sign the actual contract for the mortars so it can be integrated into the vehicle otherwise it will be all dressed up and no place to go…

    Yes, RMAF is very shy about such firings. On two occasions, they announced live firings (guns) they lost a Hawk 200 and a Machi! They have fired the missiles alright. I can confirmed that the short range IR missiles have been fired from all platforms but for the BVR missiles I have not heard any word on that.

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