Quote of the Day:
“We have now 9,000 re-hatted soldiers in Darfur. That’s not sufficient. That is why we are very concerned about the ongoing deteriorating situation in Darfur.”
-U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The article, Too few troops deployed in Darfur, continues:
Last week a joint U.N.-African Union (AU) mission took over peacekeeping in Darfur from a purely AU force, seeking to end almost five years of fighting. But the swapping of green AU berets for U.N. blue ones is unlikely to bring rapid change.
That is why we are very concerned about the ongoing deteriorating situation in Darfur.”
The so-called hybrid force of AU and U.N. troops replaces a struggling AU mission. The plan is for it ultimately to comprise 20,000 soldiers and 6,000 police, but only a little over a third of those are so far in place.
“I as the secretary-general and the United Nations as a whole … must ensure the rapid deployment of hybrid operations as agreed to the level of 26,000 (peacekeepers) as soon as possible,” Ban told reporters at his first news conference of 2008.
Herein lies the problem with peacekeeping: there are no divisions of troops sitting on the tarmacs of a multitude of networked, of-one-mind-group of nations that are ready to deploy at a moment’s notice to the hotspot of the week. Individual countries have individual self interests, and the diplomatic prodding and wrangling necessary to accomplish this has been demonstrated to us over the past few years. Peacekeeping nowadays is tough duty, because forces have to be flexible, and in uncertain areas, must be prepared to shoot people. That requires a disciplined, experienced, and professional force to be committed to near-combat ops, for a very long time at high expense. There just aren’t that many countries that that have it in their national interest to commit to these missions, morality aside. Commit untrained troops, and you get sex-crimes, and rampant corruption, and your country’s military ineptitude is on display for the world to see. Commit no troops and you have stood up to “imperialism,” or whatever the international cop-out is for the week. There are trained troops that could do this job, but they are going to be from the US, Britain, Australia, and some key European allies that have not completely disassembled their defense establishment –that’s it.
Also, don’t think for a moment that Osama Bin Laden’s call for a jihad against any peacekeeping effort isn’t influencing nations to stay out of the fray. Most AU countries can sit in the “nonaligned movement” of the war on terror, and they want to keep it that way.
CAIRO, Egypt: Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden called for a holy war against a proposed peacekeeping force in Sudan’s war torn region of Darfur in a message that appeared on jihadi Web sites Tuesday.
… Bin Laden called on those living in the areas surrounding Darfur, particularly the Arabian peninsula, to drive out any foreign forces in the region.
“It is the duty of the people of Islam in the Sudan and its environs, especially the Arabian Peninsula, to perform jihad against the Crusader invaders and wage armed rebellion to remove those who let them in,”
So there you go. It doesn’t matter what color the peacekeeper’s hats are in Darfur, because unless they are ACU, it isn’t going to change anything, and that isn’t likely to happen any time soon.