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May 03, 2005

More AU?

I've been meaning to comment on the expansion of the AU's peacekeeper force in Sudan for quite awhile, so here goes. Blogosphere commentary has broken along two lines: the Justin Logan pitch which says, basically, that this is much better handled as an intra-African matter, we should offer logistical support but not involve ourselves militarily, and thus the infusion of cash and increase in size of the AU's forces is the best of all possible worlds. In the blue trunks, however, is Brad "whiny little humanitarian" Plumer, who thinks the AU is reluctant to seriously involve themselves, unwilling to put forth the necessary numbers, and should be supported by a NATO deployment.

Well color me a whiny little humanitarian. The AU's forces are almost comically inept, and I say only almost only because they often veer towards criminally inept instead. Their past failures are legion and their total unwillingness to act until long into the atrocities is woven into the fabric of any recent African disaster you care to look into. Remember that the AU has been hanging out in Sudan during this whole process, seeing and hearing no evil, but allowing plenty to be done in their presence. And while I'm pleased that their hands-off mandate is being scrapped and replaced with a license to protect civilians, that they're only heading in that direction now should tell you all you need to know.

As Brad rightly points out, Sudan is a big place. A France-sized place, in fact. Since no one's talking regime change, we're not looking at an invasion here, so the success of any intervention is going to be contingent on the belief among the Janjawid and Sudanese government that it will succeed and can't be safely ignored. A 7,000 man AU force isn't going to perform that function. A NATO deployment, even if it was just a small, supplementary force, probably would (much like Britain's 1,000 person deployment to Sierra Leone essentially ended the chaos there). And for that reason, I can't get too excited over this development. It's a halting, stumbling step in the right direction, but we need more than that. As we wait, and as we cheer the international community's slightly better response, the genocide continues. So I'd caution against a wait-and-see attitude to the AU's too-small deployment, and I wouldn't let up on the outrage. Much more is still needed, and while outright NATO invasion isn't the only path forward, it's a hell of a lot better than this one.

Update: Tom Malinowski has a must-read op-ed on the subject in today's WaPo. Pay close attention to his argument that the small, positive steps we're taking are allowing us to claim fulfillment of our moral responsibilities without actually doing anything to end the genocide. Also watch his run-down of why NATO support will be hard to round-up. I don't know about you, but all I could think when reading the piece was "Coalition of the Willing"...

May 3, 2005 in Africa | Permalink


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From Brad Plumer (who Ezra called a "whiny little humanitarian" - in a good way. This is opposed to the, "let the AU deal with it" crew.):Over the past few weeks, there have been emerging signs that the Bush administration... [Read More]

Tracked on May 3, 2005 6:22:16 PM


The LA Times' Ken Silverstein tells why the US won't support more action in the Sudan to halt the genocide.

Short answer: we are in the 'intelligence bed' together with the Sudan, and war on terra is more important to BushCo. The Sudanese chief of intelligence, Major Gen. Salah Abdullah ‘Gosh’, recently visited the Pentagon to exchange goodies with Rummy. The UN Commission of Inquiry named Gosh as one of 51 people identified for prosecution by the International Criminal Court.

So, whether we should take the AU route or the AU/NATO route in Darfur is sort of immaterial. We have chosen a third way: stand aside and let the genocide roll.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | May 3, 2005 7:11:39 PM

Civil Society organizations (CSOs) have been very effective throughout the 1990s to influence the outcome of key UN summits, which have set important social development, human rights and poverty eradication targets. CSOs have engaged in many countries in poverty eradication strategies through, for instance, the PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers) process with the World Bank and multilateral donors.

Different lessons can be learned from national engagements and global mobilizations to monitor and implement poverty eradication and social development targets. Moreover, it is of special interest to learn from the engagement strategies and participation experience of civil society in different countries. In particular, the cases of Uganda and Bangladesh were reported. Both Mr. Warren Nyamugasira, as Executive Director of the National NGO forum (Uganda) and Mr Arifur Rahman, as Coordinator of the Unnayan Shamannay / Social Watch Bangladesh (Bangladesh) shared their experiences with the participants. Finally, the workshop focussed on civil society strategies to engage with the campaign to implement the Millennium Development Goals

Posted by: sonnerie mobile | Feb 14, 2006 5:53:22 AM

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