The Obama administration is quietly reviewing the future of America’s three-decade deployment to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, fearful the lightly equipped peacekeepers could be targets of escalating Islamic State-inspired violence, the AP reports.
Options range from beefing up their protection or even pulling them out altogether, officials told The Associated Press.
The American forces have helped marshal peace in the peninsula since Egypt’s 1979 historic peace treaty with Israel. Some 700 members of an Army battalion and logistics support unit are currently there. They mainly monitor and verify compliance, and have little offensive capability. Several other countries also provide personnel.
Islamic extremists may claim the US withdrawal as a victory. Regional allies already wearied by a US-led nuclear pact with Iran and America’s limited military engagement in Iraq and Syria could see any step away from the Sinai as further evidence that President Barack Obama wants out of the Middle East. And without the US contingent, it is unlikely the Multinational Force and Observers, or MFO, would be able to sustain itself much longer. Read more.