MFO - Multinational Force and Observers (Peacekeeping, 9 February 1982 to 1 January 2016)

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About This Campaign

Unlike many of the other peacekeeping missions on which Australian forces have been deployed, the Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) is not an initiative of the United Nations. Instead it is an independent organisation established to monitor the peace agreed between Egypt and Israel, following the bilateral Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin in March 1979.

Although both Egypt and Israel had agreed to a UN peacekeeping force being stationed in the Sinai at the Camp David accords in September 1978, it was not to be. Arab opposition in the General Assembly to the presence of a UN force translated into an impermeable block in the Security Council against establishing UN peacekeepers in the region. In a situation considered by some to mark “the real collapse of the Security Council’s role in the Arab-Israeli context”, a non-UN force, the MFO Sinai, was created to monitor peace.1

Under Operation Mazurka, Australia contributes to the MFO both financially and in terms of personnel, and was one of the original contributing nations. Along with New Zealand, Australia provided the Rotary Wing Aviation Unit for the Force from February 1982 to April 1986. This comprised 1,152 personnel in total and was based around 8 UH-1H helicopters with 144 personnel on six-month tours.  5 Army and 2 RAAF officers worked at HQ MFO. From January 1993, Australia had contributed an Army contingent, and from 1994 to 1997, Australian Army Officer Major General David B. Ferguson commanded the Force.2 Approximately 676 personnel in a 26 -strong contingent at HQ MFO.

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[1] Jones, Bruce. D. “The Security Council and the Arab-Israeli Wars: ‘Responsibility without Power.” In Lowe, V. Roberts, A., Welsh, J and Zaum, D. (eds.) The United Nations Security Council and War: The Evolution of Thought and Practice since 1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, 306.

[2] Multinational Force & Observers, “MFO Troop Contributors – Australia,” viewed 04/04/2016,