Sudan: African Peacekeepers Can't Hack It

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January 17, 2006: The UN Security Council believes that the AU forces in Darfur "lacked the means" to carry out the peacekeeping mission. Sudan, however, said it rejected any UN take-over of the peacekeeping mission. The major rebel group in Sudan, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), praised the idea. The AU has been totally dependent on US and European logistics support to move personnel and equipment into staging areas in Chad. Any UN force would require the same support. However, a "UN mission takeover" is code language for introducing European or Asian contingents into Darfur. (Take your pick: Germany, France, Japan, Pakistan, India or similar names -- in other words, high quality infantry troops.)

January 15, 2006: In a curious report, the Sudanese government accused the South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF) of reneging on the peace agreement. The SSDF ended its rebellion in the late 1990s and became a de facto ally of the Sudanese government. The SSDF allegedly controls significant parts of Sudan's Upper Nile and Jonglei regions. It also has force in Bahr- el-Ghazal. This means the SSDF has forces in or near oil-producing areas. What makes the allegations particularly interesting is that the Sudanese government says that the SSDF has "joined" the SPLA. The SPLA is now supposed to be part of the Sudanese government. At this point it looks like the best explanation is local war lords are demanding a cut of the oil cash and the political allegations are part of the internal maneuvering.

Chad denied that it is arming anti-Sudan government rebels in Darfur.

January 14, 2006: The African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Darfur is running short of cash. The AU may have funds for another three to six months of operation.

January 13, 2006: Government forces have launched a series of attacks in and near the town of Hamesh Koreb (eastern Sudan, northeast of Khartoum). Rebel forces in the region were at one time allied with the SPLA. Over the past several months, NGO and government sources have reported small-scale firefights in the area. At least 1000 Sudanese troops were involved in the operation.

 

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