August 1, 2007

Spectators At The Genocide

The UN will finally intervene in Darfur, thanks to a unanimous Security Council vote last night, but it will have a restricted mandate that will essentially do nothing. Up to 26,000 troops, primarily African, will deploy to Sudan over the next several months under the command of the UN, but will only have authority to use force while not "usurping" the Sudanese government:

The full force, the largest authorized by the U.N., will take about a year to muster and could cost $2 billion, said peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno. He added that a substantial number of troops will arrive before year's end.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the resolution "historic and unprecedented" and said it would help "improve the lives of the people of the region and close this tragic chapter in Sudan's history."

The resolution is the culmination of a 9-month-long fight with the Khartoum government over sending troops to Darfur, where Arab militias known as janjaweed have systematically attacked civilians and rival tribes since a rebel uprising began there in 2003. The government is accused of arming the militias, but it denies any links to the groups. ....

The final resolution narrowed the circumstances under which the troops can use force: to protect themselves, aid workers and civilians. It also pledged that the force would not usurp the responsibilities of the Sudanese government.

In addition, there was no mention of sanctions in the event Sudan did not comply, and the resolution said that the force could monitor illegal weapons present in Darfur, but not disarm rebels or pro-government militias, as originally drafted.

The problems in this agreement should be readily apparent to anyone who has paid attention to UN deployments in the past. They have suffered from an unwillingness to take action even when not restricted by these kinds of engagement limitations. Leaving the rebels and the militias armed and unmolested means that the UN forces will get dropped into a hot zone, where they have traditionally done more damage than good, as the remaining residents of Srebrenica can attest.

And let's not forget the track record of using African troops as peacekeepers under the UN banner. Almost every deployment has resulted in allegations of rape and molestation, with troops turning local women into prostitutes in exchange for protection and basic food and water. The UN has promised action to end this disgraceful performance for over three years. Will they keep the troops in line in Darfur? Or will this turn into another Congo, or for that matter, Burundi, Haiti, Liberia, and a host of other perverted debacles?

The new force will replace the current deployment by the African Union of 7,000 soldiers, who have gone unpaid for months. They have done little to slow down the genocide, but considering the lack of support, that may not be terribly surprising. The rules of engagement for the AU were even more restrictive than the UN's mission now. Neither mission looks terribly well suited for stopping a genocidal civil war, and given the Janjaweed's affiliation with the Sudanese government and their jihadist nature, the UN force will almost certainly be no more effective.

This agreement is a Band-Aid for Western sensibilities. It allows us to think that we're doing something significant, providing cover for the Sudanese government to continue their policies of genocide. We've just become spectators at the gruesome event. Some may argue that this is a first step, but it looks a lot like a meaningless gesture.


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Comments (8)

Posted by Otter | August 1, 2007 8:31 AM

The UN forces will do little more than stand back and watch- with a little rape and pedophilia on the side- while arabs / muslims, invited in from neighboring countries, take over the land that hundreds of thousands of Christians and animists have been driven from.

Done deal.

Posted by pilsener | August 1, 2007 8:37 AM

"Some may argue that this is a first step, but it looks a lot like a meaningless gesture."

I contend that the above sentence now describes the entire UN and its functioning.

Posted by swabjockey05 | August 1, 2007 9:05 AM

Unfortunately, Otter, the UN "troops" will be doing a lot more than standing around watching....and I'm not talking about the inevitable child abuse and rape they'll be inflicting upon the hapless population.

They'll also be collecting their relatively big paychecks...compliments in large part to US Taxpayers who will pay the largest part to fund UN operations. These kinds of "operations" are a cash cow boondoggle for poor country's military personnel. The wages/benefits they get paid while on a "UN Mission" are many time exponentially higher than their normal salary. Regardless of the “effectiveness” of the mission…they get their paychecks either way…with zero accountability for their actions…or the “effectiveness” of the mission.

Posted by mojo | August 1, 2007 10:41 AM

The UN is a cold-war dinosaur that hasn't the brains to die. Why are we still giving money to these morons?

Posted by ERNurse | August 1, 2007 10:54 AM

Yeah, right. The ONLY reason the UN would intervene in Darfur is because their blue-bereted stormtroopers want new sexual conquests.

Posted by LarryD | August 1, 2007 11:16 AM

Arguably, by providing (false) image of "Something is Being Done", this will only enable the genocide to continue.

Which will make the UN an accessory.

Posted by naftali | August 1, 2007 12:50 PM

We need to get out now, immediately, no residual force. We need to hold hearings, get to the truth. You all know what I'm talking about.......the UN.

Posted by patrick neid | August 1, 2007 4:54 PM

it can't work otherwise my prediction 3 1/2 years ago will be proved wrong when i said the problem will be solved when everyone is dead. we are almost there. i need just a little more time. i'll send them a letter and maybe they will drag their feet for a promised ten year old.......