Operation CALUMET

Operation CALUMET is Canada's participation in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), an independent peacekeeping operation in the Sinai Peninsula. Canada has maintained a contingent in the MFO since September 1, 1985.

Task Force El Gorah

Task Force El Gorah consists of approximately 70 Canadian Armed Forces personnel based at the MFO North Camp and South Camp in El Gorah, Egypt. Led by a Colonel or Captain (Navy), who serves as the mission’s Chief Liaison Officer, the Canadian contingent provides the MFO with some of the more influential members of its headquarters staff, including the Senior Staff Officer Air Operations and the Force Sergeant Major.

The Canadian group further includes experts in fields such as logistics, engineering and training, and a flight-following unit. The flight-following service involves receiving regular position reports from MFO aircraft, issuing traffic advisories and weather reports, and transmitting flight plans. The MFO's observer group uses helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft for extensive travel through the mission area, so the Canadian flight-followers provide mission-critical support.

Since March 2015, the Canadian contingent includes Military Police officers, who conduct police and security duties in the North and South camps of the multinational peacekeeping force. These duties include traffic control, patrols, investigations, inspections, and searches. They are also responsible for crime prevention programs and general security within the North and South camps.

Mission context

Multinational Force and Observers

The mission of the MFO is to:

  • supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace; and
  • employ its best efforts to prevent any violation of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace.

Operating under the slogan  “Observe, Report, Verify”, the MFO employs a large contingent of civilian observers working throughout the Sinai Peninsula, and about 1,360 troops from 12 nations who patrol the zone closest to the Egyptian-Israeli border.

Canadian participation

Canada’s involvement in the MFO began on June 28, 1985, with the agreement to take over the duties of a helicopter unit from Australia and New Zealand. The first rotation of the Canadian Contingent MFO, formed in September 1985, comprised 140 Royal Canadian Air Force personnel and nine CH-135 Twin Huey tactical helicopters from the squadrons of 10 Tactical Air Group, a formation headquartered at CFB St-Hubert, Quebec. Deployments began in February 1986, and the Canadian Rotary Wing Aviation Unit (RWAU) stood up at El Gorah on March 31, 1986.

As well as helicopter operations in support of observer inspections and verifications, the activities of MFO infantry battalions, and other tasks such as medical evacuations and unit training, the Canadian RWAU was responsible for operating the MFO’s air traffic control system.

The Canadian RWAU was withdrawn in March 1990, when the United States assumed the responsibility of delivering aviation support to the MFO. Since then, Canadian participation in the MFO has focused on flight-following, and the provision of staff expertise. On March 23, 2015, Canada assumed responsibility for policing services for MFO personnel for four years.

The Egypt-Israel Treaty of Peace

The MFO has its roots in the September 1978 meetings at Camp David, near Washington D.C., where President Anwar El Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel conducted peace talks with the assistance of U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The meetings at Camp David produced two framework documents, known as the Camp David Accords, that led directly to the Egypt-Israel Treat of Peace signed in Washington on March 26, 1979.

The Egypt-Israel Treaty of Peace has the following primary terms:

  • formal recognition of each nation by the other;
  • the cessation of the state of war that had existed since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War;
  • the complete withdrawal by Israel of its armed forces and civilians from the areas of the Sinai Peninsula that Israel had captured during the Six-Day War of 1967;
  • free passage for Israeli vessels through the Suez Canal; and
  • recognition of the Strait of Tiran, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Taba-Rafah Straits as international waterways.

On July 24, 1979, the Secretary-General of the United Nations formally acknowledged the refusal of the U.N. Security Council to extend the mandate of the second United Nations Emergency Force or to authorize a new peacekeeping force for the Sinai Peninsula. Consequently, Egypt and Israel began a co-operative effort — again assisted by the United States — to develop an alternative peacekeeping solution for the region defined under Annex I of the Egypt-Israel Treaty of Peace, the  “Protocol Concerning Israel Withdrawal and Security Arrangements.” After prolonged negotiations to establish terms of reference that protect the sovereignty of both parties to the treaty, the MFO stood up at El Gorah and Sharm-el-Sheikh on August 3, 1981.

External Links

Government of Canada

International missions

Pertinent documents

Flickr Image Gallery

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