Muddy Notebook

February 10, 2008

Peacekeeping forces in Darfur and Lebanon

Filed under: Uncategorized — carolynthewriter @ 9:01 pm

Here is a thought I’ve long had: Why was it so possible to build a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon after the Hizbollah-Israeli conflict than it has been to build one in Darfur? It seemed as though forces built up relatively quickly there, with the number standing at 13,264 military personnel as of last November, according to the U.N. The Darufr force is at about 8,200. And I don’t think the hostility and oppositional obstinence shown by the Sudanese government is solely the cause though of course Khartoum’s attitude is a big factor. There have been political moments when U.N. nations might have been able to dump in large numbers of personnel and equipment as soon as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had said he would support a hybrid U.N.-A.U. force. But they have moved in slow- and no-motion in giving such a mission personnel and equipment as basic as helicopters to transport people and supplies in to Darfur. I think it’s safe to say Sudan gets less attention because it, like most countries in Africa, are not perceived to be of as great as strategic importance as Lebanon and the Middle East. Thus has the lesson so quickly been lost that unstable nations not only pose a huge threat to the citizens suffering in them, but also to the world as a potential harbor for terrorism. It would be nice if helping the Darfuris were reason enough for Western nations to take speedier action. But it is only when a factor such as fighting terrorism is thrown into the factor that the West takes more notice.

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