Peacekeeping: The African Peacekeeping Army Forms

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February 16, 2006: Recognizing that half of the world's peacekeeping problems are in Africa, in 2000, the members of the newly formed African Union agreed to create a standing African peacekeeping 'army." The goal was to have five or six such brigades, multi-national peacekeeping brigades of 3,000-5,000 troops each, ready for operations by 2010.
These will be permanent active multi-national brigades, with specialized staff and tactical training to maximize their effectiveness as peacekeepers. Each brigade is intended to be mono-lingual, with French, English, or Arabic as the most likely languages of command. will be So far two brigades have been created, and will begin operations shortly, an ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) brigade and a Southern African one. East African and Central African brigades are in various stages of formation.

Recently most - but not all - of North African members of the AU, have decided to form a combined peacekeeping brigade as well. The proposal is for a combined Egyptian-Libyan-Algerian-and Western Saharan brigade. The headquarters, logistical elements, and one battalion is to be provided by Egypt, with Algeria providing two additional battalions and Libya a third. Western Sahara is to provide a reconnaissance detachment. Now this seems like a good idea. But there's a problem. While it has member status in the AU, neither the United Nations, the Arab League, the United States, nor a majority of the countries in the world recognize the existence of Western Sahara (officially the "Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic" -- SADR). That's because Morocco claims the territory, and effectively controls virtually all of it, the SADR effectively being a self-proclaimed "government in exile" sponsored by Algeria.

 


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