UNEF: The Yugoslav Contingent

The Yugoslav Army Contingent in the Sinai Peninsula 1956-1967

Bojan Dimitrijevic

Pursuing a policy of social revolution, national liberation, and non-alignment, Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito became involved in the Middle East in the mid-1950s.

Combined with some initial interest in economic and military assistance, this involvement found a positive reception among several Arab states, foremost Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser
Date Published :
November 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Language:
English
Series :
Middle East@War
Illustration :
140 b/w photos, 10 color photos, 6 artworks, 2 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781912866410
Pages : 72
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
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Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
$29.95

Overview
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Pursuing a policy of social revolution, national liberation, and non-alignment, Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito became involved in the Middle East in the mid-1950s.

Combined with some initial interest in economic and military assistance, this involvement found a positive reception among several Arab states, foremost Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser. Close personal ties between Tito and Nasser significantly contributed to the deployment of a contingent from the Yugoslav Popular Army (JNA) within the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in Egypt, following the Suez War of 1956.

Established in a hurry and deployed to Egypt in late November 1956, the JNA’s part of the UNEF consisted of a reinforced reconnaissance battalion. The unit was manned by conscript soldiers and equipped with vehicles provided by the USA within the frame of the Mutual Defence Assistance Program (MDAP).

The story of the unit’s difficult task of entering the Sinai Peninsula right on the heels of withdrawing Israeli forces is the centrepiece of this book. While warmly welcomed by the local inhabitants, through late 1956 and all of 1957, the JNA contingent had the difficult task of reaching the demarcation lines, establishing observation posts, and making sure the cease-fire would be respected by all of the belligerents. For a force that understood itself to have a national-liberation and revolutionary role, rather than being an expeditionary military, the Yugoslav Popular Army thus went through a particularly unusual experience.

The mission of the JNA’s contingent with the UNEF on the Sinai came to a sudden end during the crisis leading to the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War: squeezed between the advancing Israeli forces, it had to be quickly evacuated, leaving all its heavy equipment and vehicles behind.

Prepared with help of the original documentation from a host of archival sources of the former JNA, the book Yugoslav UNEF Contingent focuses foremost on the deployment immediately after the Suez Crisis of 1956. Providing detailed coverage of the much underreported closing chapter of that conflict, it is illustrated by more than 150 original photographs, most of which have never been published before.

About The Author
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Bojan Dimitrijevic is working as a historian and is Deputy Director of the Institute for Contemporary History, Belgrade, Serbia. Educated at the Universities of Belgrade and Novi Sad, CEU Budapest and the University of Bradford, he has also worked as the custodian of the Yugoslav Aviation Museum. During the period 2003-2009, Dimitrijevic served as advisor to the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of Serbia, and as Assistant to the Minister of Defence. He has published over 50 different books and more than 100 scientific articles in Serbia and abroad. His professional interest is in the military history of the former Yugoslavia and Balkans in World War Two, the Cold War as well as wars in the 1990s. This is his second instalment for Helion.

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