Operation CALUMET

Operation CALUMET is Canada's support to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). The MFO is an independent peacekeeping operation in the Sinai Peninsula. Canada has been in the MFO since September 1, 1985. 

In June 2022, the Government of Canada announced the extension of Operation CALUMET to March 2025.

How many people are deployed?

Approximately 55 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members make up Task Force El Gorah. They are based in South Camp and Forward Operating Base North of the MFO, in Egypt.

What are they doing?

Canada provides key leaders for the MFO headquarters. The Canadian group is led by a Colonel or Captain (Navy). He/she serves as the mission’s Chief Liaison Officer. The Canadian group also includes senior leaders and experts in logistics, engineering and training.

The MFO uses helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft to travel through the mission area. The CAF unit keeps track of their positions. The CAF unit also provides them with information on traffic, weather, and flight plans. It provides critical support to the mission.

Military police officers have been a part of the Canadian group since March 2015.

From March 2015 to March 2019, they had the police and security duties in the North and South camps of the MFO. This included traffic control, patrols, investigations, inspections, and searches. They also worked to stop crime and run general security within both camps.

With the drawdown of the military police contingent, Canada is focusing on delivering key capabilities to support the observation of the Treaty of Peace and Agreed Arrangements, while preserving MFO through the appropriate force protection measures in order to facilitate the continuing peace between Israel and Egypt.

History and context of the operation

The MFO has its roots in the September 1978 peace talks at Camp David, near Washington D.C. The Camp David Accords led directly to the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, which was signed in Washington on March 26, 1979.

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

  • formal recognition of each nation by the other
  • ceasing 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
  • recognition of the Strait of Tiran, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Taba-Rafah Straits as international waterways

On July 24, 1979, the U.N. Security Council refused to extend the mandate of the second United Nations Emergency Force. It also determined that it would not authorize a new peacekeeping force for the Sinai Peninsula.

As a result, Egypt and Israel began to work toward a different peacekeeping solution for the region. They were again helped by the United States. The MFO was established at El Gorah and Sharm-el-Sheikh on August 3, 1981. This was after long talks to establish terms of reference that protect the sovereignty of both parties to the treaty.

Canadian Armed Forces relationship with the Multinational Force and Observers

The MFO mission is to:

  • oversee the respect of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty
  • work to prevent any violation of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty

About 1200 troops from 12 nations serve. They patrol the zone closest to the Egyptian-Israeli border. There are also civilian observers.

Past deployments

Canada has been a part of the MFO since June 28, 1985. At that time it agreed to take over the duties of a helicopter unit from Australia and New Zealand. Canada’s first MFO group was formed in September 1985. It was made up of 140 Royal Canadian Air Force members and nine CH-135 Twin Huey tactical helicopters. They were sent from 10 Tactical Air Group at Canadian Forces Base St-Hubert, Quebec. They established the Canadian Rotary Wing Aviation Unit (RWAU) at El Gorah on March 31, 1986.

The Canadian RWAU handled helicopter operations. It supported observer inspections and verifications. It also supported MFO infantry battalions. Other tasks included medical evacuations and unit training. The RWAU also ran the MFO’s air traffic control system.

The Canadian RWAU left in March 1990. The United States then took over aviation support to the MFO. Since then, the Canadian MFO group has focused on flight-following, and providing staff expertise. On March 23, 2015 Canada took over the policing services for MFO personnel for four years.

External Links

Government of Canada

International missions

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