News Crisis in Sudan - a UN failure?

For the last two decades, Sudan has been in a state of complete anarchy. The Muslim government has been determined to be responsible for the deaths of over 2 million people in that country, more than 1/2 a million in the last 2 years alone.

How many of these people could have been saved if a nation had unilaterally sent in their military to restore order? Due to the fact that up until recently no UN action has been taken, this crisis has been held up as an example of failure of the UN model.

The question for debate: in such a clear case of human tragedy, is going to war unilaterally justified if it saves the lives of innocents? Or should we retain our international responsibility to consensus, no matter the cost?
 
A

Art

Here is a useful link detailing the history of the current crisis in Sudan;
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3496731.stm

Although it is an unmitigated mess I do not believe sending in large scale forces would in any way resolve the situation and would only add UN peacekeepers to the roll of the dead. The best the international community can do is protect certain vulnerable areas, a task currently being undertaken by a coalition of African forces and impose severe financial sanctions on the perpetrators.
It is hard to think of a single instance where foreign troops have interceded successfully in a civil war. Spectacular failures have been Vietnam and Afghanistan - (first the British, then the Russians)
n.b. I have deliberately excluded recent US interventions to avoid the usual controversies.
 

Hurkyl

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A common criticism I've seen raised of the theory of financial sanctions against a government is that it tends to translate into stagnation or decline of the country's economy, infrastructure, and quality of life.

(In other words, it's destroying the country in order to save it)

It would be nice if there is a response to these criticisms -- I don't think I've heard one.
 
A

Art

Hurkyl said:
A common criticism I've seen raised of the theory of financial sanctions against a government is that it tends to translate into stagnation or decline of the country's economy, infrastructure, and quality of life.

(In other words, it's destroying the country in order to save it)

It would be nice if there is a response to these criticisms -- I don't think I've heard one.
South Africa is a good example of where sanctions were successful in bringing about peaceful change.
The key to the effective use of sanctions is that they need to be carefully targetted such as at the personal wealth of the 'bad' guys and military embargos. Few if any African countries have munition producing capabilities. The weapons used in these 3rd world conflicts are supplied by 1st world countries and so the first and most obvious step is stop weapons manufacturers from selling their products to 3rd world countries. This results in 2 major benefits; first it significantly decreases the capacity of would be oppressors to kill their victims and secondly if at some point outside military intervention is required it makes the task a whole lot easier.
 
Art said:
Here is a useful link detailing the history of the current crisis in Sudan;
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3496731.stm

Although it is an unmitigated mess I do not believe sending in large scale forces would in any way resolve the situation and would only add UN peacekeepers to the roll of the dead. The best the international community can do is protect certain vulnerable areas, a task currently being undertaken by a coalition of African forces and impose severe financial sanctions on the perpetrators.
It is hard to think of a single instance where foreign troops have interceded successfully in a civil war. Spectacular failures have been Vietnam and Afghanistan - (first the British, then the Russians)
n.b. I have deliberately excluded recent US interventions to avoid the usual controversies.
yes, but in both vietnam and afghanistan you had another opposing superpower supporting the opposite side, so it really didn't stand a chance. what wound up happening was an escalation.

but if a single nation were to step in, i believe that militarily enforcing a peace can work. examples would be US intervention in haiti and afghanistan (the recent conflicts there).
 
Art said:
Although it is an unmitigated mess I do not believe sending in large scale forces would in any way resolve the situation and would only add UN peacekeepers to the roll of the dead. The best the international community
then what is the role of the peacekeeper if not to make peace? are we to only send them in after a major force has alread gone in and mopped up the heavy fighting? if so, then that is what i am arguing for as well. if not, then that would be failure of the UN to stop conflict. take your pick.
 
A

Art

quetzalcoatl9 said:
then what is the role of the peacekeeper if not to make peace? are we to only send them in after a major force has alread gone in and mopped up the heavy fighting? if so, then that is what i am arguing for as well. if not, then that would be failure of the UN to stop conflict. take your pick.
UN peacekeeping forces are usually deployed in areas at the invitation of the combatants who have already agreed a ceasefire and are looking for international military overview to ensure terms are adhered to as they do not trust each other; hence the term peacekeepers. What you are suggesting is a force of peacemakers which is an entirely different concept and which for reasons previously stated, in my opinion would more often than not simply inflame the situation.
 
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Art said:
UN peacekeeping forces are usually deployed in areas at the invitation of the combatants who have already agreed a ceasefire and are looking for international military overview to ensure terms are agreed to as they do not trust each other; hence the term peacekeepers. What you are suggesting is a force of peacemakers which is an entirely different concept and which for reasons previously stated, in my opinion would more often than not simply inflame the situation.
ok, then i guess what i am suggesting, the role of peacemakers, is outside the scope of the UN then?
 
A

Art

quetzalcoatl9 said:
ok, then i guess what i am suggesting, the role of peacemakers, is outside the scope of the UN then?
The UN has no troops of it's own. It relies entirely on the services of member countries who decide where and how their nationals will be deployed. To-date it has been involved in 60 peacekeeping missions since 1948.
It currently has 66,000 people (military and police) on duty in 16 troublespots around the world and is stretched to the limit. To extend it's peacekeeping mandate to include peacemaking would require the political will of the member states backed by the men and materials needed to exercise the fresh mandate.
 
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Art said:
The UN has no troops of it's own. It relies entirely on the services of member countries who decide where and how their nationals will be deployed. To-date it has been involved in 60 peacekeeping missions since 1948.
It currently has 66,000 people (military and police) on duty in 16 troublespots around the world and is stretched to the limit. To extend it's peacekeeping mandate to include peacemaking would require the political will of the member states backed by the men and materials needed to exercise the fresh mandate.
now you are dancing around the issue. you know full well that the UN has deployed peacemakers in the past. And yes, we all know that the members of the UN supply the troops, but they fly the UN banner when they are used in that capacity and thus become "UN troops".

but, since you are essentially saying that the UN is incapable of a peacemaking capacity, then it is up to an individual nation (most likely the US - given that they have the largest military and can afford it) to take the responsibility themselves for restoring order, as the US did in Haiti, for example. the only alternative is to let human tragedy continue, and certain no one would like to see that, right?

i think that alexandra was right: noone is interested in this discussion at all (except for myself, Hurkyl and Art). it is so much easier to just start a "bash America on Iraq" thread and watch it fill with pages...
 

Hurkyl

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you know full well that the UN has deployed peacemakers in the past.
My memory's fuzzy, and/or lacking: examples would be nice!


It currently has 66,000 people (military and police) on duty in 16 troublespots around the world and is stretched to the limit.
Is that why things don't happen, though? Does the U.N. say "We'd really love to help out, but we don't have the manpower?", or just not bring these things up at all?


Is there a good reference for the U.N.'s history on Sudan?
 

Astronuc

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Hurkyl said:
Is there a good reference for the U.N.'s history on Sudan?
Current UN Mission in Sudan and background - http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmis/ [Broken]

UN Peacekeeping Operations - Current and Past - http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/text.htm [Broken]

IMO - Not only has the UN failed, but so have the industrialized nations for allowing the situation in Darfur to evolve to the point where 10's of thousands died.

For more background see - http://www.everything-science.com/components/com_smf/index.php?topic=5198.0 [Broken]. I need to update it.
 
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A

Art

quetzalcoatl9 said:
here is one example of the UN sending peacemakers to Africa:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/945324.stm
Check your article again, the information is in there. The UN were there in the role of peacekeepers to monitor a ceasefire not to impose one.

quetzalcoatl9 said:
I know that peacemakers were also sent to Kabul in 2001.
Again they went as peacekeepers to observe and confirm that both sides were honouring their agreement with no threat of military action if they did not.

quetzalcoatl9 said:
And here is a blurb on a proposed peacemaking mission to Haiti, which didn't happen and the US wound up having to do it for them:

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/press/releases/haiti290204.htm
Same as above. Oxfam may well have pressed for UN involvement but the UN does not step in the middle of firefights.
The fact is the donor countries who supply the UN troops do so on condition that there is minimal risk of death or injury as politicians find it hard to justify to their electorate why their national servicemen and women should die for a cause that is not transparently in the national interest.
As an example T. Blair suggested he would consider sending forces to Sudan and was instantly attacked by all sides of the political spectrum. Needless to say that idea was quickly dropped.

To my knowledge I can think of only a few instances where the UN have intervened prior to a cessation of hostilities and even then only when one of the combatants asked them to. These are the Congo, Korea and Cyprus none of which you could call a resounding success.
 
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Art said:
Check your article again, the information is in there. The UN were there in the role of peacekeepers to monitor a ceasefire not to impose one.
really? from the article:

"They are the peacemakers of the world and we Ethiopians are committed to peace.

"This was a war we didn't want and we need the UN peacemakers to help us restore peace," he said.

it is true that a cease-fire was declared - but when isn't there? there were also cease-fires in Sudan. There's a ceasefire in Iraq now too, yet hostilities continue - so where is the UN to help?
 
A

Art

quetzalcoatl9 said:
really? from the article:

"They are the peacemakers of the world and we Ethiopians are committed to peace.

"This was a war we didn't want and we need the UN peacemakers to help us restore peace," he said.

it is true that a cease-fire was declared - but when isn't there? there were also cease-fires in Sudan. There's a ceasefire in Iraq now too, yet hostilities continue - so where is the UN to help?
That quote is from an African student not the UN!!!!!! I doubt he would have a clue as to the difference in the meaning of the two terms. In fact he obviously doesn't as the UN were definitely not there to impose a ceasefire.
 
you didn't address the second part of my post - i admitted that a cease-fire was declared.

my point is: when isn't there? that is how the death-toll continue to grow - fighting, cease-fire, fighting, cease-fire, etc. with no one there to kick some rear-end when things get out of control.

quetzalcoatl9 said:
it is true that a cease-fire was declared - but when isn't there? there were also cease-fires in Sudan.
see? i said it.

so...in your opinion, Art, the UN should not be involved in these affairs. Since I don't want to put word in your mouth, you have said:

Art said:
Although it is an unmitigated mess I do not believe sending in large scale forces would in any way resolve the situation and would only add UN peacekeepers to the roll of the dead[snip]
It is hard to think of a single instance where foreign troops have interceded successfully in a civil war.[snip]
Fair enough. I think that you make a compelling argument.

But this is where I turn things around and say: so what is the point of the U.N. if not to resolve such matters? And to take it even further: the rest of the world should have no gripes if the US takes matters into their own hands with or without international approval.
 
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A

Art

quetzalcoatl9 said:
you didn't address the second part of my post - i admitted that a cease-fire was declared.

my point is: when isn't there? that is how the death-toll continue to grow - fighting, cease-fire, fighting, cease-fire, etc. with no one there to kick some rear-end when things get out of control.



see? i said it.

so...in your opinion, Art, the UN should not be involved in these affairs. Since I don't want to put word in your mouth, you have said:



Fair enough. I think that you make a compelling argument.

But this is where I turn things around and say: so what is the point of the U.N. if not to resolve such matters? And to take it even further: the rest of the world should have no gripes if the US takes matters into their own hands with or without international approval.
I wasn't aware the US was considering sending troops to the Sudan? Can you provide details?
 
Art said:
I wasn't aware the US was considering sending troops to the Sudan? Can you provide details?
if we do, will you still complain about it? would you support it? because i'm sure that factors into the decision making process.
 
A

Art

quetzalcoatl9 said:
if we do, will you still complain about it? would you support it? because i'm sure that factors into the decision making process.
Do I take it from this reply that there are no plans for the US to intervene militarily in the Sudan?

p.s. Flattering as the idea is I doubt very much the US admin. are waiting for my yea or nea. :smile:
 
Art said:
Do I take it from this reply that there are no plans for the US to intervene militarily in the Sudan?

p.s. Flattering as the idea is I doubt very much the US admin. are waiting for my yea or nea. :smile:
i would imagine that public sentiment does play a role, although maybe not to the extent that you would wish to see.

for example, were it not for the risk of public outcry, riots, protests, etc., I am convinced we would have a draft re-instated by now.
 
A

Art

quetzalcoatl9 said:
i would imagine that public sentiment does play a role, although maybe not to the extent that you would wish to see.

for example, were it not for the risk of public outcry, riots, protests, etc., I am convinced we would have a draft re-instated by now.
I just read in an interview with D. Rumsfeld the army are taking their uniformed guys out of their office jobs and pushing them into action. I imagine this will not be popular with a lot of them. :wink:
 
It's been a while since I have read up on this. I started when I read a thread on another forum where the poster was implying that the US should have been more interested in sending a "peacemaking" mission to Sudan rather than waging war against the dictatorship in Iraq.
From what I remember it's just a complete mess. There isn't a particular group you can name as the "enemy"(<-used for simplicity's sake) or organization to be dislodged. To make peace someone would more or less have to occupy Sudan and police the country while investigations and trials are run. From what I remember it seems like their entire power structure would have to be purged and perhaps even rebuilt. Even then two of the major factors in the violence are racial and religeous differances which you can not eradicate so easily. Just getting rid of the interests that are instigating the violence may or may not help the situation.
My personal thoughts were that China, seeming to be the most interested nation with power to do anything, should be the ones to step up to the plate. As far as I remember they are Sudan's biggest oil customer but have not been involved in fixing the situation. Perhaps it serves their government's interests better to leave things the way they are.

It could also be that the information I gleaned was incomplete or that there have been futher devlopments since I last read about this so I am not entirely married to my current position.
 

Astronuc

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OP-ED COLUMNIST

Heroes of Darfur
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

For three grueling years, Eric Reeves has been fighting for his life, struggling in a battle with leukemia that he may eventually lose. And in his spare time, sometimes from his hospital bed, he has emerged as an improbable leader of a citizens' army fighting to save hundreds of thousands of other lives in Darfur.

Pressure from that citizen army helped achieve a breakthrough on Friday: a tentative peace deal between the Sudanese government and the biggest Darfur rebel faction, brokered in part by U.S. officials. We should be skeptical that this agreement will really end the bloodshed — past cease-fires and promises have not been honored — but also rejoice in a glimpse of sun over the most wretched place in the world today.

If the violence does diminish — and that will take hard work in the months and years ahead — part of the credit will go to Mr. Reeves, a scholar of English literature at Smith College who has used an arsenal of e-mail messages, phone calls and Web pages to battle the Sudanese government and American indifference. He was the first person I know to describe the horrors of Darfur as genocide, and he financed his quixotic campaign by taking out a loan on his house.

. . .

President Bush has been more active lately on Darfur, and without the administration's relentless pushing the peace deal on Friday would have been impossible. But by and large, there has been a vacuum of leadership on Darfur over the last few years, and ordinary Americans — particularly young people — have tried to fill it. I don't know whether to be sad or inspired that we can turn for moral guidance to 12-year-olds.
Despite a potentially fatal illness, Reeves is still active in his crusade to pursuade the world to help the people in Darfur.
 

Astronuc

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Crisis in Darfur

World rallies for peace in Darfur
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5353332.stm

Protesters demanding an end to conflict in Sudan's Darfur region are staging a day of demonstrations around the world.
Activists are rallying in several capitals, calling on Sudan to allow UN peacekeepers into Darfur, where tens of thousands of people have been killed.

In London, there was a rally outside the Sudanese embassy and multi-faith prayers outside Downing Street.

Khartoum has dismissed the protests, saying those taking part have been misled by the international media.

Up to two million have been displaced in three years of conflict in Darfur.

The US and France have both said a genocide is taking place, with the US directly accusing Khartoum of responsibility.

On Saturday UK Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote to leaders of the European Union, calling the situation in Darfur "unacceptable" and urging them to take a common stand on the issue.

'Misunderstanding'

Rallies were expected to take place in some 30 cities around the world.

Among those involved are the South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, who headed the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda during that country's genocide in 1994.

Speaking ahead of the protests, Sudan's junior foreign minister, Ali Karti, said the demonstrators were misunderstanding the situation in Darfur. "Unfortunately, the people there in the West, in Europe and the United States are moved by the media and the media is unfortunately moved by political agendas," he said.

Khartoum says it is defending the territorial integrity of Sudan against rebels backed by neighbouring Chad.

. . . But Steve Ballinger, a spokesman for Amnesty International, rejected Mr Karti's interpretation of events.
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/events_details.asp?ID=186 [Broken]

See my journal entry on Darfur and Democratic Republic of Congo. In the DRC, nearly 4 million people have died during the last 5-6 years as a result of ongoing conflict. This is the worst humanitarian catastrophe since WWII, 60+ years ago.
https://www.physicsforums.com/journal.php?do=showentry&e=639 [Broken]
 
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