Where Have All the Blue Helmets Gone?

Foreign Policy

Where Have All the Blue Helmets Gone?

A look at the Third World troops who fight the U.N.’s wars.

BY COLUM LYNCH | JUNE 6, 2012

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The United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), the first full-fledged armed peacekeeping mission, was established in November 1956 by the U.N. General Assembly after Israel, Britain, and France launched a coordinated attack on Egypt, which had just nationalized the Suez Canal. Their mission was to allow for the withdrawal of European powers from the highly unpopular operation and to monitor a ceasefire between Egypt and Israel. It was the first operation in which U.N. peacekeepers wore the iconic blue helmets and berets.

Above, former U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold reviews a contingent of Danish and Norwegian peacekeepers in Egypt in 1956. While Western powers continued to supply the backbone of U.N. peacekeeping missions, Hammarskjold sought to recruit peacekeepers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

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Colum Lynch writesForeign Policy‘s Turtle Bay blog. Follow him on Twitter @columlynch.

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Posted on June 7, 2012, in Morocco News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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