June 2022 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 May 2022
Download Complete Forecast: PDF
MIDDLE EAST

UNDOF (Golan Heights)

Expected Council Action

In June, the Security Council is expected to extend for six months the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which expires on 30 June. Ahead of the mandate renewal, the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) is expected to brief Council members in consultations on the Secretary-General’s latest 90-day report on UNDOF, due on 1 June, and the most recent developments.

Key Recent Developments

The Secretary-General’s most recent report on UNDOF’s activities, dated 18 March, noted that while the ceasefire between Israel and Syria was generally being maintained, ongoing violations of the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement persist—including firing by Israeli forces across the ceasefire line, the presence of Syrian forces in the area of separation and the existence of unauthorised weapons in the limitation area on the Alpha and Bravo sides. As such, the report “urge[s] the parties to the Agreement to exercise utmost restraint and comply with the Agreement”.

Israel and Syria have continued to send letters to the Security Council accusing each other of violating the 1974 agreement. In a 4 January letter addressed to the Council and the Secretary-General, Israel wrote that “Syrian violations of the Alpha line and armed presence in the area of separation occur daily”. Syria, in turn, wrote to the Council and the Secretary-General on 9 February, accusing Israel of “launching a two-pronged aerial attack against the environs of Damascus, firing salvos of missiles…from a point south-east of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and surface-to-surface missiles from the occupied Syrian Golan”. In a 10 April letter to the Secretary-General and the Council, Syria also said that on 9 April an Israeli fighter plane had “targeted parts of the central region of Syria before being confronted by the Syrian air defence”.

Key Issues and Options

The key issue this month is the renewal of UNDOF’s mandate, which, at the time of writing, is scheduled to take place on 29 June. The Council will most likely renew the mandate of the mission for the standard six-month period.

Another issue for Council members is the ongoing violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement of 1974. The Council could consider pursuing a statement urging parties to adhere to their commitments under the agreement, while expressing concern about the risk of escalation resulting from these violations and the potential danger they pose to the safety of peacekeepers.

Council Dynamics

The unanimous adoption of resolution 2613 on 21 December 2021, which reauthorised UNDOF’s mandate for six months, demonstrated that the Council remains unified in its view that UNDOF plays an important role in regional stability. There was little apparent disagreement in the negotiations, and no member states felt the need to give an explanation of vote following the adoption.

Despite deep divisions overall on the Council regarding the Syria file, as well as opposing positions held by co-penholders Russia and the US about who holds sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the two countries have considered UNDOF as a separate issue on which they agree.  It is not clear whether the conflict in Ukraine will have any effect on this dynamic during the negotiations on the mandate this month.

Council members India and Ireland have a particular interest in UNDOF, as both contribute a significant number of uniformed personnel to the mission. As at 18 February, UNDOF included 199 Indian uniformed personnel and 133 Irish uniformed personnel.

UN Documents on UNDOF

Security Council Resolution
21 December 2021S/RES/2613 This renewed the UNDOF mandate for six months.
Secretary-General’s Report
18 March 2022S/2022/247 This is the UNDOF report.
Security Council Letters
11 April 2022S/2022/304 This was a letter from Syria to the Secretary-General and the Council.
9 February 2022S/2022/102 This was a letter from Syria to the Council and the Secretary-General.
4 January 2022S/2022/9 This was a letter from Israel to the Council and the Secretary-General.

 

Sign up for SCR emails