US Troops in Sinai ‘Under Siege’ as Egypt’s Junta Presses Offensive

Operations of Observer Force Limited as Fighting Escalates

A lot of people don’t even realize the United States has troops in the Sinai Peninsula, but they do. The Multinational Force of Observers (MFO) is made up of 1,660 troops at present, and about 400 of them are American troops, meant to monitor the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

The US scaled up their presence dramatically in late June, in anticipation of the Egyptian coup d’etat, and expectations of a junta offensive in the peninsula. The offensive has happened, and the US and other MFO troops are struggling to deal with it.

Troops are spending more and more time confined to base and limiting their “monitoring” operations simply to stay out of the way of the ongoing fighting, and has been forced to find new sources of supplies, including digging their own wells on base to ensure supplies of water.

“It would be no exaggeration to say the MFO faced operational challenges this past year that it had not encountered in its previous thirty years of existence,” the report from the MFO noted.

That’s very true, as the Egypt-Israel peace treaty has been extremely stable, and the MFO has traditionally had virtually nothing to do. The sudden fighting in Sinai is also totally outside of their purview, and Israel has been openly supportive of Egypt’s junta. If anything, the “challenges” underscore that the MFO has long since outlived its usefulness.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.