government continues to get away with murder. Although not as rapid as the
Rwanda mass murder in 1994, Darfur will end up with just as many dead. It's
Rwanda in slow motion. It shows how difficult it is to halt large scale
atrocities like this. It requires a lot more than passionate pledges of
June 16, 2007: It's well
and good that Sudan has agreed to let the UN and AU deploy a "hybrid"
peacekeeping force. However, international perseverance remains in doubt. What
happens if and when international peacekeepers get into a heavy firefight with
Sudanese military forces and rebel forces? What happens with peacekeepers cause
"collateral" civilian casualties? Will international leaders flinch? Given the
chaos of Darfur, there's a good chance peacekeepers could engage in combat
action against "unaffiliated" tribal militias as well. The big word is
credibility. Consider the problems plaguing the AU's force. AU peacekeepers
have complained of "uncertain" mission instructions - lack of clarity on Rules
of Engagement (when to use force). Operational leadership has been virtually
non-existent, which is one reason logistics support has been so badly managed.
Financing for the AU mission has also been iffy. There are still equipment
issues (including lack of light armor, wheeled vehicles, and air assets).
Communications systems have proven to be grossly inadequate. But that's the way
the Sudanese government has wanted it.
The UN's "light support
package" (LSP is the acronym) was designed to improve the AU peacekeeping
forces command and control capabilities by improving planning and
communications. It was also supposed to include 36 light armored vehicles, but
according to UN sources, those vehicles have not been given to the AU force. As
of the end of May the UN had sent 42 military, 32 police and 25 civilian
personnel to help with the planning and communications issues..
The UN's "heavy support
package" (HSP) is a much more serious effort with 300 additional police and
2,250 military personnel supported around 1,100 civilians. It would be the
"bridge force" to the full scale "hybrid" force Sudan agreed to let the UN and
AU deploy by the end of 2007. The military personnel would handle an entire
range of mission infrastructure needs: communications, logistics, engineering,
transportation, and medical services. There will also be an aviation
June 13, 2007: Sudan
refused to participate in an international conference on Darfur. France
proposed having a conference in Paris. The Sudan government said it had not
been "consulted" about the conference. Look for more initiatives like this from
France's new government. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has put resolving
Darfur near the top of his policy initiatives.
June 12, 2007: At the end
of a two-day meeting with African Union (AU) and UN representatives, Sudan's
government agreed to allow deployment of a "hybrid" peacekeeping force in
Darfur. The AU and UN would share responsibilities for directing the operation
(hence the term "hybrid). The precise number of troops has yet to be
determined, but the UN has plans for a force ranging in size from 17,000 to
21,000 (which is probably why some sources refer to a force of 19,000).
In August 2006 the UN
Security Council voted to expand the UN's current peacekeeping mission in south
Sudan to include Darfur. In Fall 2006 the UN produced the concept for a
"hybrid" force to be deployed in three phases.