In the name of cultural and gender sensitivities, the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee stated before a Congressional subcommittee that the United Nations needs to deploy more female troops to the “front lines” of the various potential hotspots member nations have sent their soldiers. As reported by the Cybercast News Service on April 16, 2015, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who is also the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee stated during the testimony of the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, that the world body deploying females to likely combat zones was “near and dear” to her.
Wasserman Schultz further queried of Amb. Power, “What else can we do to train more women and put more women in peacekeeping roles at the U.N.?” Narrowing her focus, the Sunshine State Democrat also said, “It is important to have in very specific circumstances a woman on the front lines of the U.N.’s peacekeeping efforts versus men. Not that men can’t do a very effective job. But obviously with cultural sensitivities and gender sensitivities, having more women for a variety of reasons is really important.”
Before the echoes faded from earshot in the House chamber, the Reuters news service reported on April 18, 2015 that an Islamic jihadist terrorist group going by the nom de guerre of Al-Mourabitoun (Arabic: “The Sentinels”) launched a suicide bombing attack against a United Nations compound in the North African nation of Mali. With the Jihadists taking credit on their website for the attack, three civilians were killed and nine soldiers from Niger were seriously wounded. Per their internet communiqué, an al-Mourabitoun spokesman claimed the attack was retribution of Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou participating in last January’s remembrance march in Paris following the Islamic jihadist attack on the staff of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.
With the rise of terrorist groups seeking to establish a shari’a-complaint global caliphate, certain normally quiet UN posting have become quite dangerous. Case in point would be the September, 2014 Golan Heights incidents where al-Qaeda-allied al-Nusra jihadists attacked three separate UN posts, one manned by Fijian troops, the remaining two by Filipinos. Despite their warrior tradition, the troops from Fiji surrendered to the attacking terrorist force.
However, the Filipino soldiers defied the orders of the Commanding Officer of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force. One Filipino base camp stood their ground and kept their weapons until a combined Irish/Filipino armored column relieved them.
According to Philippine Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, “I told them not to follow the order because that is a violation of our regulation, that we do not surrender our firearms, and, at the same time, there is no assurance that you will be safe after you give your firearms.” The Army four-star continued, “Our stand is, we will not allow our soldiers to become sacrificial pawns in order to save the Fijians.”
Meanwhile on the second compound, the 40 remaining soldiers were attacked by an estimated 100 terrorists. The troops from the South Pacific republic fought their way to area controlled by the Israeli Defense Force, keeping both their weapons and their dignity. For their part, the Fijians were eventually released by the terrorists two-weeks after their capture. Reportedly, all 45 Fijian captives were in “good condition” upon their release.