Sunday, October 14, 2007

Darfur - Peacekeepers Without a Peace to Keep

The New York Times has a short piece entitled, 'Peacekeepers Without a Peace to Keep'.

The article continues the debate on how damaging the attack on AU peacekeepers in Haskanita will be in the short- and mid-term. While this take on the incident isn't new, the author does start to pose some more critical questions about whether military intervention in Darfur is already too late?- Or, is it too early?


A recent statement by the AU force commander captured the challenge facing peackeepers- 'AU outnumbered, outgunned in Darfur'. It is easy to make calls for peacekeepers to enforce the 'Responsibility to Protect', as Roméo Dallaire does: '...the troops must “go inside the camps, do night patrols and snap inspections, essentially go wherever they need to, without the Sudanese Army or police blocking them.” He said they also need to go after “every one of those splinter groups” and they’ll need the proper gear to do so.' How realistic are these calls?

A number of uncomfortable comparisons in the article are made between Darfur and Somalia. Yet perhaps a better comparison would be the early days of UNPROFOR in the former Yugoslavia? The lack of political will in FRY crippled even relatively well-equipped peackeepers. Can UNAMID hope for better?