June 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 26 May 2006
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MIDDLE EAST

Golan Heights (UNDOF)

Expected Council Action

The Council is expected to follow its standard practice and simply extend the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights for another six months.

It is also standard for the Council to call for implementation of resolution 338 of 22 October 1973, which refers to resolution 242 of 22 November 1967 calling for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from occupied territories.

Since 1976, the Council president has also issued a complementary statement on how the Middle East situation will remain tense until a comprehensive settlement is reached.

Options
The most likely option is a straightforward renewal of UNDOF’s mandate.

The Council has yet to discuss the impact on UNDOF if there is a new border demarcation in the Sheb’a Farms region.  If real progress is made in resolving this issue, the Council may request the Secretary-General to report on how UNDOF’s tasks would be affected.  However, despite the recent Council action on this subject, which resulted in May in resolution 1680 strongly encouraging Syria to respond positively to Lebanon’s request to delineate the common border, it is unlikely that there will be any developments by June that would affect the UNDOF discussion.

Key Issues
There is no real issue facing the Council regarding the renewal of the UNDOF mandate. All parties see the maintenance of UNDOF as being in their interest.

A possible issue could arise if Syria sought to use the UNDOF renewal to push for an end to Israel’s occupation of the Sheb’a Farms area-and the wider Golan Heights.  Exploiting Israel’s history of non-compliance with resolution 242 is a possible response for Syria as it comes under pressure with respect to Lebanon’s request to delineate the border.  However, Syria may decide that maintaining the status quo in the Golan Heights is more vital at this point.

For historical background and a more complete list of documents relating to UNDOF, please see our December 2005 Monthly Forecast, and to the issue of the Sheb’a Farms, please see our May 2006 Update Report on Lebanon.

UN Documents

 Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1680(17 May 2006) strongly encouraged Syria to respond positively to Lebanon’s request to delineate the common border.
  • S/RES/1648 (21 December 2005) extended the mandate of UNDOF until 30 June 2006.
 Selected Presidential Statement
 Selected Secretary-General’s Report
  • S/2005/767 (7 December 2005) recommended extending the mandate for six months.

Other Relevant Facts

 UNDOF Force Commander
 Major General Bala Nanda Sharma (Nepal)
 Size and Composition of Mission
  • Total authorised strength as of 31 March 2006: 1,033 troops assisted by 57 military observers of UNTSO’s Observer Group Golan; and supported by 38 international civilian personnel and 110 local civilian staff
  • Key military contributors: Austria, Poland, India, Japan and Slovakia
 Approved Budget
 1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006: $43.71 million (gross)
 Duration
 May 1974 to present

Full forecast