Growing reports the Fiji regime has been asked by the United Nations to fill the breach in arguably the most dangerous war zone today because other countries have called it quits.
|Fiji troops: In demand but at what price?|
Fresh reports have emerged today of Fiji now being asked to send as many as 300 peacekeeping troops to the Golan heights after a decision by Austria to opt out leaving the U.N. in the lurch.
It's believed Austria's withdrawal leaves the U.N. with just 191 troops from India and 341 from the Phillipines.
Talk of Fiji being roped in to patrol the Golan Heights surfaced several weeks when Filipino troops were abducted, the first time that had happened to U.N. peacekeepers patrolling a cease-fire line between Israel and Syria in nearly four decades.
A former senior U.N. official said peacekeeping observers have become 'soft targets' in Syria's increasingly brutal civil war. He said up until now observers had 'never been challenged by anybody' but with several different factions involved in the crisis this was no longer the case.
A former senior RFMF officer recently told Coupfourpointfive the Syrian crisis would again put Fijian peacekeeping prowess to the fore of international politics but while it was 'very much to Voreqe Bainimarama's home and regional advantage' it could cost Fiji troops their lives.
"Voreqe Bainmarama will use this as leverage to gain more regional and international support for his regime and to legitimize his Draft Constitution.
"Yet it is the reputation of Fijii's peacekeeping prowess through its soldiers that is being exploited, again for political gain.
"Fijians are now renowned internationally as hired Mercenaries. Moreover, Peacekeeping has unwittingly justified a large standing military force now manipulated as a political constituent.
"When one does a cost benefit analysis, the damage done to Fiji's economy by the coups is far greater than the financial reimbursement to the country by the U.N., not to mention other social costs."