Darfur Crisis: Too Few Peacekeepers

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.

Recall:

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.

Comments

  1. mindy abraham says:

    I hope something can be done about this soon. In this day and age genocide should be a dead word-not being done anymore.

  2. Steve says:

    "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."

    Dear Charlie —

    I respectfully submit that your neighbours in the Great White North also have troops capable of this mission. While actually sending them would require a reshuffling of other commitments, just at the moment the same would seem to be true of most of the other sources you list … :-) :-(

  3. LtCol P says:

    Steve: The boys at The Torch would agree! And they would be a good addition.

    Charlie: That's ACU *or* MARPAT!

  4. billmill says:

    Why not use outfits like Executive Outcomes? I realize this brings us to use the evil mercenary word but why not? Something I could never understand is outfits like Executive Outcomes are condemned because they are private soldiers, but not an eyebrow is raised when our own contractors like Blackwater, DynCorp and others who due the bidding of foreign governments are given a pass. From my TDY’s to the Kingdom in the 90’s one thing is for sure, the RSAF would not fly if not for the ex-pat Brits and Americans working for the contractors.

  5. John Minehan says:

    Complex situation, Darfur. Even more complex with the South breaking away. COL John Garang, Ph.D.'s death in '05 made the whole thing more difficult, as the tentative settlement was in large measure predicated on his talents and influence.

    Darfur, if you study it, looks like it has elements of the Johnson County War, with the Government of Sudan as the WSGA; the Janjaweed as the Red Sash Gang and the Fur and Maspit as the sod busters.

    Contrary to most popular ideas, the conflict is not religious (both sides are Muslim) nor is it racial (the pastoralist Arabs and their farmer neighbors the Fur and Maslit often used to intermarry). It is more like the conflict in the film Shane: cowboys versus sodbusters.

    There has been speculation that the Government of Sudan has used the Janjaweed like the Government of Serbia used Arkan and his Tiger Militia.