Last week, a UN force was approved to monitor and keep the peace in Darfur. This force was supposed to relieve the weary African Union forces, which have become inadequate. The UN approval of peacekeeping troops was great news. The AU mandate expired at the end of September, and many wondered if Sudan would reassemble their own army in the western part of the country, causing more harm and death to the thousands of refugees.
But we can't celebrate just yet. The UN resolution stipulated that Khartoum had to approve the force. And, of course, Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, immediately voiced his opposition to what he considers an invading army.
And, the latest reports show that the Sudanese government is rearming itself, waiting for the AU to leave, and betting that the UN will stay out.
Once again, we've got a sticky situation.
In less than six months, we've had two documents (May's peace deal and last week's UN resolution) that could ring hollow. Even worse, a lot of the 'official' diplomatic procedures have nearly run their course.
A few things need to happen:
- NATO needs to step up and use its clout to send a non-Western led force into Sudan and keep the peace.
- al-Bashir and crew need to stop systematically killing people.
- Washington needs to take a stand, be vocal as hell, and show that where injustice exists, the US will be there to combat it.