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NATO Response Force to Darfur? A Global NATO for more Burden Sharing?

Recently the Atlantic Review wrote about NATO's difficulties to get more troops for Afghanistan. Would globalizing NATO help?
Ivo Daalder, a senior fellow at Brookings, and James Goldgeier , professor at George Washington University, write in the September/October 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs is freely available at Brookings (pdf-file):
With U.S. forces stretched thin in Iraq and European states failing to invest enough to participate significantly in operations far away from home, NATO is struggling to fulfill even its current commitments. And while the alliance has increasingly recognized the necessity of operating far from Europe—or "out of area," in NATO parlance—it has been limited by the requirement that its member states be North American or European. NATO leaders are expected to address this problem at a summit in Riga, Latvia, in November. They will consider a proposal to redefine the alliance's role by deepening relations with countries beyond the transatlantic community, starting with partners such as Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. (...)
If the point of the alliance is no longer territorial defense but bringing together countries with similar values and interests to combat global problems, then NATO no longer needs to have an exclusively transatlantic character. Other democratic countries share NATO's values and many common interests -- including Australia, Brazil, Japan, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and South Korea -- and all of them can greatly contribute to NATO's efforts by providing additional military forces or logistical support to respond to global threats and needs.

Howard LaFranchi, staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor, writes about "NATO's 21st-century task: going from 'Europe' to 'global'":
The fact that the transatlantic alliance has gone in less than a decade from doubts about its purpose to requests for its participation in even the most intractable international disputes - from the Darfur region of Sudan to the recent Mideast war - suggests the pact's transition is considered a success. "It's no longer 'What's its purpose?' when the topic turns to NATO, but rather 'How can we best use it?'" says NATO spokesman James Apathurai. "That's a big transition."
But officials say the transition from "Europe" to "global" is still incomplete, with major challenges remaining in areas ranging from capacity for intervention to efficiency and member financial commitments. Some observers worry that demands on NATO are surpassing its abilities and jeopardizing its transition process. The Afghanistan assignment, which involves 16,000 NATO-led soldiers now and a projected 25,000 by the end of the year, has the leadership of some member countries holding their breath, as NATO forces face increasing attacks and an entrenched enemy.
Peter Beinart, author of The Good Fight: Why Liberals---and Only Liberals---Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again (Amazon.com, Amazon.de), writes in TIME Magazine (HT: Bill) that genocides (Rwanda and Darfur) "come at inconvenient times." "Genocidal dictators are generally not impressed by tough talk", helping Darfur is complicated and would be a long-term committment. Yet, in his conclusion he advocates a NATO invasion:
The U.S. military is buckling under the strain of Iraq. NATO has all it can handle in Afghanistan. Barely anyone wants the U.S. and its allies to attack another Muslim country--except for the black Muslims of Darfur, thousands of whom were seen this summer chanting "Welcome, welcome, U.S.A." Yet a ground operation in Darfur is well within NATO's capacity. The newly created 25,000-member NATO Response Force, which reaches operational capacity this October, is made for situations like this. It can deploy in five days, fight its way into a hostile area, and stay for a month before needing to be resupplied. That would be long enough to decimate Darfur's militias and secure its refugee camps before handing the job over to U.N. peacekeepers.
So far, only the boldest politicians will even whisper about such things. It's easy to see why. NATO intervention would be aimed at saving Muslim lives, but that wouldn't stop al-Qaeda from screaming about the West's recolonization of the Islamic world. Bringing stability to a region as complicated and brutalized as Darfur could take years, if not decades. U.N. peacekeepers still patrol Kosovo today, and that's an easier case.
You could fill volumes detailing the geopolitical reasons America should abandon Darfur to its fate. The argument for military action, by contrast, rests on just two tarnished words. Last week a small crowd gathered in Kigali, Rwanda. "If you don't protect the people of Darfur today," said a man named Freddy Umutanguha, "never again will we believe you when you visit Rwanda's mass graves, look us in the eye and say 'Never again.'" Try offering a geopolitical answer to that.
So, Beinart says on the one hand "NATO has all it can handle in Afghanistan", but on the other hand he thinks NATO's new Response Force should and could go for a month long combat mission to "decimate Darfur's militias." He is quite optimistic in assuming that UN peacekeepers would be able to deploy within a month and could continue the job NATO started. Mark Fiore has a sad and funny animation about "Never Again." I think Beinart's entire article in TIME Magazine is worth reading (like all articles recommended in the Atlantic Review) because he captures the predicament the United States and Europe are in: We have to help, but we don't have enough military ressources and we don't want to make matters worse for the long-term by sending too few troops without much of plan into a combat mission and we are scared of a quagmire and are haunted by the failures and the defeat in Somalia and the daily images from Iraq. However, the relief effort to stop the famine in Somalia could be considered a success since many many lives were saved. The failures came afterwards. Likewise NATO could provide some much needed security for the refugee camps in the short term and impose a no-fly zone over Darfur etc. It is key to put more pressure on the Sudanese government and on China and Russia (who support the Sudanese government). Peace negotiations  have to continue. More African Union forces with a tougher mandate and better rules of engagement are needed. It is doubtful, however, whether they are willing to actively pursue the militias and government forces and risk being torn into a messy conflict.

Contrary to Beinart's claim: Not UN peacekeepers, but NATO troops still patrol in Kosovo, primarily Europeans. (Perhaps he meant that they operate under a UN mandate.) Lieutenant General Roland Kather, German Army, took over command of KFOR on September 1st. On that day also Ambassador Joachim Ruecker from Germany took over as Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The German Bundeswehr has 2,901 soldiers in Kosovo (KFOR) and 850 in Bosnia (EUFOR). I could not find out how many American troops are still serving on the Balkans. Anybody know anything?

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Atlantic Review on : Europe Loses Afghanistan and America Looks at Nice Pictures

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"The American ambassador to Kabul has accused European members of Nato of jeopardising the future of the alliance by refusing to send troops to Afghanistan, or banning their forces from entering areas with heavy fighting." writes the British Tel

Atlantic Review on : Opinions about the NATO Summit in Riga

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The leaders of 26 NATO member countries meet in the Latvian capital Riga from 28-29 November to "chart the way ahead for the Alliance" operations, transformation and partnerships." Here's a round-up of opinions on the eve of the sum

Atlantic Review on : Opinions About the NATO Summit in Riga

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The leaders of 26 NATO member countries meet in the Latvian capital Riga from 28-29 November to "chart the way ahead for the Alliance" operations, transformation and partnerships." Reuters has learned that "a U.S. plan to forge

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Anonymous on :

"According to Arabic language al-Sahafa, the Egyptian government and the Saudi Arabia are exerting efforts to persuade Sudan to accept the deployment of the international peacekeepers in Darfur. Sudan would receive guarantees that the UN forces would not be used against the government officials, and the US would give pledge to lift economic sanctions imposed on the Sudan since 1997, the report said. One wonders why it has taken so long to offer Khartoum such obviously needed guarantees." [url]http://sudanwatch.blogspot.com/2006/09/egypt-wants-guarantees-to-persuade.html[/url]

Don on :

"The U.S. military is buckling under the strain of Iraq." Beinart indulges in hyperbole. The US military is under stress right now and should not undertake another major mission - like Darfur. Several entities can be accurately described as 'buckling' - including large parts of the NATO alliance and major portions of the the Democratic Party. NATO buckled virtually immediately and may be recovering a little whilst the Democrats were more stalwart early on and have been buckling lately.

Don on :

Beinart has been desperately hoping for a reconstitution of the Cold War era security-concious Liberal Democratic Party. Unfortunately the trends are going the opposite direction and the Democrats are reliving another part of their history - the collapse of the Cold War Liberals during Vietnam. Look no foruther than the Senate Election in Connecticut for evidence of that. They have read Joe Lieberman out of the party in favor of a billionaire political novice - replacing one of their best leaders with a would-be John Kerry. Leiberman will probably still win the election but his influence will never be the same. The Netroots (Nutroots?) crowd has delivered a lesson and knees are buckling all around....

Chris on :

Don, the Democratic primary elections in Connecticut are about as instructive as any other primary election in a mid-sized state. Please don't draw large conclusions from such. To do so is to, well, indulge in hyperbole. More, the US Army needs about $50 billion to re-equip its force. Recruiting has met its goal, but standards have been lowered. Today's LA Times has a lengthy story worth your attention on why the 1st AD and the Stryker Brigade (172nd) are staying in Iraq. Also, the 3rd ID is slow to deploy, they need another month. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-troops26sep26,1,4149783.story?coll=la-headlines-world Maybe this is not buckling, but this is a force under duress. There is absolutely no surge force left in the infantry at this point. I'm all for a new alliance. I think Japan should change their constitution (which we wrote some time ago) and take up arms. We've altered our relationship with South Korea at this point, which is a compliment to their military. We should not, however, call these alliances NATO. Russia does not like that organization and it would be prudent diplomacy to not enlarge it at this point.

Don on :

Chris, I would agree with you if the Connecticut primary were an isolated case - but it is not. The backpedaling began a while ago. Kerry backpedaled on the war, now Hillary Clinton is doing it. The most prominemt Democratic senator who didn't backpedal was none other than Leiberman. It therefore is no coincidence that Leiberman was targeted by the pacifists - and succumbed in the primary. If Beinart is looking for Cold War Liberals from this bunch he;s looking in the wrong place.... The Democratic

alec on :

No, I'm sorry, I usually won't resort to curse words -- but Joe Lieberman is a piece of shit. He deservedly lost the primary because he has been far too willing to 'build bridges' with the GOP and cast aspersions at his fellow Democrats for criticizing this President. Joe Lieberman may be a 'Democrat', but he sure does act like a neo-Conservative. He doesn't share the Democrats views, so he shouldn't be in their party one way or the other.

Don on :

Ummm, no. Joe Leiberman was the single candidate in the 2004 field of Democratic candidates who was likely to be elected President. Politics is the art of building bigger tents. PARTICULARLY when your party is out of power! Which (may I point out) the Democrats are right now.# You need to appeal to some groups of voters not currently in your tent. Ned Lamont voters are nearly all Democrats. Leiberman appeals to many in the middle and even people who normally vote for the GOP. If you wish to grow your party you do not throw such people out of the tent - for fear that their supporters will leave also....

alec on :

What? Your telling me JOE LIEBERMAN was the most electable candidate? You think anyone below the Mason-Dixon line is going to vote for a jew? Also, Connecticut is a deep blue state -- you don't need a tent builder in that state. And Lieberman proved you can't have one either, because they don't represent the electorate.

Don on :

Ummm, yes. I've lived in the South and yes I think people would vote for Leiberman there. But I was thinking more of places like Florida and many of the swing states in the midwest primarily. The South is pretty Republican normally. But if you think the South is important (as it is) then what was the Democratic Party doing nominating anyone but a southerner? The party has elected three presidents since JFK. From Texas, Georgia, and Arkansas. Not from Louisberg Square in Boston. That tell you anything?

Olaf Petersen on :

The EU rapid reaction force will be in full shape not earlier than 2010... The African Union wanted to make the Sudanes President their general-secretary, but then stepped back. The African Union demanded more international financial contributions for their forces in Sudan...maybe Sudan only tries to justify these demands. Hard cheese!

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Yes, but this post is about NATO's Response Force, not the EU Rapid Reaction Force.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

What influence does Black Hawk Down have on the American psyche these days? What is important before sending young men and women into combat is the "parents test": If the soldier dies on a mission, can you look into the eyes of their parents and honestly tell them that sending their son/daughter in harms way was worth it? I think (hope) that before the US decided to start "Restore Hope" in Somalia, many polticians, military commanders and journalists advocating this mission were asking themselves this question and the answer was YES. However, what about now? In hindsight? Can you still look into the eyes of parents who lost their sons/daughters in Somalia and tell them it was worth it? I mean, look at Somalia now... Sure, the relief effort saved tens (hundreds) of thousands of lives, but Black Hawk Down happened afterwards. Americans are much much more optimisitic than Germans (or Europeans in general). Americans have a can-do spirit. This attitude got you into Iraq with a relatively small force to spread democracy in the Middle East. Germans are much more pessimistic. We worry all day and don't get much done. I believe the US cannot leave Iraq anytime soon. It's the china shop rule. You are now responsible for Iraq. If you leave and civil war breaks out and/or Saddam-like warlords rule various regions of Iraq and one of them provides a safe haven to Al Qaeda, I am going to blame the United States for "breaking" Iraq, making matters worse (Iraq was less dangerous under Saddam) and leaving Iraq too soon. Democrats will put the blame on the Republicans for starting the Iraq war. And Republicans will put the blame on Democrats for withdrawing too soon. I, however, would blame both parties and their voters. That's just my humble personal opinion, of course. Likewise, I believe if we invade Sudan and the conflict escalates and the misery intensifies, than the China Shop Rule applies and we would have a responsibility to stay until the situation is stable and better than before our invasion. However, I doubt whether the European and American public have the stomach for a long-term committment. I fear they would not accept casualties in a long-term mission. The Parents Test would be negative. The public thinks it was not worthwhile to send young men and women in harms way and into a conflict they could not end. And consequently the troops will pull out, while Darfur is still a mess and the mass murder continues. I think America's enemies were emboldened when the US stopped the hunt after Aidid immediately after losing the Battle of Mogadishu and then pulling out of Somalia a few months later. We don't want this to happen in Darfur again. The mistakes in Somalia exactly 13 years ago still discourage Americans and Europeans from sending troops to Darfur, I believe. Darfur might be different and certainly the military has learned from Somalia, but politicans don't want to take that risk again. I believe. Restore Hope did not have proper equipment for the battle of Mogadishu and there have not been (still aren't?) enough armored vehicle in Iraq... The Bundeswehr complains about lack of proper equipement as well... Thus I am hesitant to send NATO to Darfur. And I would understand, if the African Union is not keen on fighting either... However, Darfur is on their continent! The African Union and the Arab League should take care of Darfur.

Chris on :

It is interesting that you bring this up. Supposedly, UBL said that he saw the cowardice in American troops during Black Hawk Down. Strange cowardice, as these troops wanted to go looking for Michael Durant (the one held hostage) after a lengthy seige and a perilous dash out of the city. Bin Laden saw the political weakness that can afflict any western power enamored with air superiority. The idea that the United States is politically unwilling to accept casualties is incomplete. If anything, Americans don't enter wars well. Shelby Foote said that the north fought the American civil war with one arm behind its back. American forces entered WWI in 1917. Entered WWII only after Pearl Harbor, and the state of our military was woeful at that point. Korea and Vietnam were costly stalemates (and the latter a political defeat). Somalia began as a peace keeping mission. So did the Marine presence in Lebanon in the 1980s. Democractic governments can wage effective conventional warfare with popular support if the war is explained effectively to the population and if there is accountability among the military and political leadership. These influences were lacking in Somalia and Lebanon while the American military presence was there. These influences are undermined by an incompetent president at present.

alec on :

Exactly. To me the problem with the way the Sudanese problem has been addressed is their are no teeth. The EU and America are dogs with a lot of bark but no bite. And yes, I'd say a portion of this is because of American involvement in Iraq and the fraility of the EU/NATO to commit troops. And the man behind the stage is China, who is and will be continue to be unwilling to retract its support until the conflict tampers with the supply of Sudanese oil to China.

Bill on :

My blogger buddy Abdurahman Warsame, a Somali national who was raised in Australia and now lives in Qatar where he studies and works for Aljazeera (it's a long story, O.K.?), has an interesting piece on the Arab vs. African perspective to the Darfur Crisis. Have a look at his Sep 26th post about the Washington Post blog "PostGlobal: Discussion on Darfur" and also read his Sep 5th post "Discussion on Darfur at Aljazeera Center for Studies". Here is the URL to the first post: http://civilexpression.blogspot.com/2006/09/postglobal-discussion-on-darfur.html Fortunately none of us bloggers and blog readers have to worry about sending NATO forces and/or UN Peacekeepers to Darfur. That's a decision that our respective leaders have to make. So let's hope that they make the RIGHT decision and make it quick. In regards to whether we should go in or should not go in or whatever, try this Parent's Test: I am an only surviving parent, a mother, of a family who has suffered from atrocities carried out against the people of my village in Darfur back in May 2004. Almost everybody in my village has been killed, brutal killings and the women and girls were gang-raped and tortured before they were killed. All that I was able to save was my 12 year-old son and myself, and we both have been living in this miserable, stinking, IDP camp on the Sudan-Chad border for more than 2 years now. All that I ask for is for someone to help us to get out of these miserable living conditions out in the middle of a desert wasteland and to help us rebuild what life we have left on our own land, back in Darfur. Many big people from the UN and the USA and the EU and AU have come to our camps and then left, promising us that our lives would get better and that we will receive more security against the Janjaweed and the GOS militias and military and so forth and so on. So we continue to wait and pray that something called "the international community" will come to help us, to rescue us from certain death. We just sit and wait and pray and hope that someone will come soon... Make sure that your parents, your Moms and Dads, understand the stakes when they make their decision to send their precious sons and daughters into harms way to save another human being like that mother that I have described above. Make sure that they understand that someday it may be their own children sitting in desperation waiting on someone to come and save them from certain death, because they didn't reach the right decisions back in 2006 about Darfur or Somalia or some other festering sore of a conflict sitting at the gates of Europe and the Middle East. I pray that the American people, my people back home in the States, have already got the message loud-and-clear and are not afraid to act to stop this genocide.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

To continue your thought experiment: Okay, the Marines fly in, protect the IDP camps camps for a couple of months, then a black hawk gets shot down and the Marines leave Darfur. The Janjaweed then attack the IDF camps and the mother and her 12 year old son get murdered. The president calls the parents of the black hawk crew and tells them that their kids saved other people's lives for a couple of months only. Will they accept that? What are the parents and husbands/wives and children of the US servicemen and women who died in the Battle of Mogadishu saying NOW? Do they still think that Operation Restore Hope was a good idea and worth the life of their kids/fathers/mothers/husband/wife? "Fortunately none of us bloggers and blog readers have to worry about sending NATO forces and/or UN Peacekeepers to Darfur. That's a decision that our respective leaders have to make." Sure, but every citizen who is advocting to send troops in harms way should consider the consequences. Our respective leaders pay attention to opinion polls and CNN effect and to the big media, whose journalists read blogs and use material in blogs for their articles. In 2003 a large majority of Americans were in favor of the Iraq war. Now a small majority of Americans considers the Iraq war a mistake, but they say that they "support the troops." Well, why have they been in favor of the war in 2003? Did they educate themselves about the dangers of the Iraq war in 2003? Or were they overly optimistic due to can-do spirit and trusted those politicians and those media outlets who did not listen to experts and underestimated the dangers of going to war? IMHO "supporting the troops" means to try to learn what the military can and what they can't achieve in places like Iraq or Darfur. And it means to try to assess the dangers of the mission. The Battle of Mogadishu and the retreat has hurt the US reputation. The civil war in Somalia continued for many years. Anyway, what does "I support the troops" mean practically? Is it more than a nice phrase that is supposed to give moral support? Is everybody with a "I support the troops" bumper sticker donating to Veterans associations and for post-traumatic stress disorder therapy sessions? I am not totally against sending NATO to Darfur, but I am hesitant, because I support the troops and I don't think we have the military ressources for a long term committment in Darfur and I think Darfur is not just a conflict between the evil government and poor civilians. Thanks for the interesting link. In addition to the criticism of the useless and awful Arab League, I found this interesting: "The West isn’t entirely honest in its motives, it seem they only act on human rights issues if and when their interest is affected. Next door to Sudan is Uganda were the Acholi people have been facing genocide for the last 10 years from the Lord's Resistance Army on one side and the government’s concentration camps on the other (an issue repeatedly raised by people like Olara Otunnu ) but it seems the Sudanese oil and resource is at least part of the motive to act on Darfur ." [url]http://civilexpression.blogspot.com/2006/09/postglobal-discussion-on-darfur.html[/url]

Chris on :

"IMHO "supporting the troops" means to try to learn what the military can and what they can't achieve in places like Iraq or Darfur. And it means to try to assess the dangers of the mission." I have to paraphrase, as my preferred translation is at home... No one who does not understand the dangers of deploying the army can understand the potential benefit. - Sun Tzu

alec on :

I support the troops means you're either a conservative, or a liberal who is afraid of being called a traitor. One small tid-bit: I live in Washington, a world that seems completely run by alterior motives, and I was informed of the following paradox by someone slightly more perceptive then I. All of the Orthodox Jewish synagagues have 'Save Darfur' posters. Why? Because Arabs are committing the atrocities. And why will the Arab nations barely address or acknowledge there is a problem? Because it's being carried out by Arabs. So there is tribalism 101 for you.

Bill on :

I don't get this Blackhawk Down analogy? Can you explain what you mean and reference some credible material why the US-led UN missions to Somalia from Dec 1992 to March 1994 has created so much "Angst" in the American public that people are afraid to support sending U.S. military logistics and support forces to Darfur? There were over 26 countries involved in these missions to Somalia (UNOSOM I & II). Are the citizens of those countries also suffering from a Blackhawk Down syndrome when it comes to resolving conflicts in Africa? Blackhawk Down (the film) actor Brendan Sexton III gave a speech at Columbia University in February 2002 before the invasion of Iraq that supposedly addresses this perceived syndrome. ZNET published the speech at their site: http://www.zmag.org/content/ForeignPolicy/sextonblackhawk.cfm ZNET also published an op-ed by the U.K. Guardian newspaper columnist George Monbiot on the Blackhawk Down phenomenon: http://www.zmag.org/content/ForeignPolicy/MonbiotBlackHawk.cfm But the most thorough analysis that I have found to date was delivered by Lt. Colonel Frank G. Hoffman (USMC-Ret.) to the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings in January 2004. Read the summary article "One Decade Later: the debacle in Somalia" at the Military.com website: http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,NI_Somalia_0104,00.html BTW: Former President Bill Clinton gave a great smackdown interview on Fox Network News last Sunday that was the talk of the U.S. sector of the blogosphere. In the interview, he talked about the 1992-1994 U.S. mission to Somalia and the Blackhawk Down incident. According to President Clinton, it's mainly MSM media hype and bias and general BS. Checkout this Classic Clinton interview video yourself over at the Think Progress blog: http://thinkprogress.org/2006/09/24/clinton-video More blogosphere coverage on the Clinton vs. Fox News smackdown can be found at Nielsen BuzzMetric's Blogpulse Newswire: http://blog.blogpulse.com/archives/000738.html

Bill on :

Think I was being over-dramatic with that comment above? Read the latest blog post on Darfur at the Washington Post's new blog PostGlobal. International Community Paralyzed by Khartoum - Sep 25, 2006 by Ranon Farrow - Yale Law School and Genocide Intervention Network http://blog.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/needtoknow/ And I quote from the PostGlobal post... Sudanese President Omar El Bashir and his allies in the Arab League have indeed cultivated an image of unified opposition, calling the proposed U.N. peacekeeping mission "an effort to re-colonize Sudan" and placing picketers shouting anti-U.N. slogans to greet foreign officials visiting Khartoum. But they cannot hide the realities on the ground. Who, among the tortured people of Darfur, is united with Bashir? Not Hawa, who greets visitors to her remote mountain encampment of Finna with a sign, painstakingly painted in English, that reads "Welcome, Welcome, U.N." Not the hundreds of men and women who join her waving similar banners, chanting "we need protection" and "help us, United Nations." "Without protection, we will all die," Hawa told me when I visited Finna in July. "I have already lost everything." Like most in Finna, Hawa fled to the mountains after her village was ravaged by Khartoum's terrible Janjaweed militia. She was raped and beaten by two men who broke into her home. "They cut me, here, and here" she said, gesturing towards the livid scars that line her arms and legs. Hawa was left for dead. Her husband and two sons were marched away from the village at gunpoint. She never saw them again. Hawa fled to the relative safety of the mountains, but even here Janjaweed patrol the outskirts of the camp, and fighting between government and rebel forces makes daily survival uncertain. "There is no safety. Everyone is praying that the U.N. will come to protect us." Across Darfur, from refugees in squalid camps and rebel fighters otherwise locked in deadly opposition, I heard the same desperate plea for U.N. peacekeepers.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Think I was being over-dramatic with that comment above?" No, I don't. I was very dramatic as well. We are just dramatic in different directions. Your dramaticism is based on facts that are really happening today. My dramaticism is based on what could happen in the future, if we go in without much planning, enough troops, enough public support for a dangerous long-term mission. Consider my comments as playing devil's advocate.

Jay McGinley on :

[Darfur Fast restarted today, Day 57 since 7/4; Day 122 Vigil started 5/14] Your level of dialog and writing is so rare in its potential to help to Darfur. Thank you. My usual caution, and two newer ones. 1. How long, if 50 of us were standing and talking in a group, and immediately across the street from where we were we saw an elementary school collapse with children inside, how long would it be appropriate for we as citizens to stand around and talk about (or "blog" around) what the fire department, or what the rescue squads should do if and when they deployed, etc? 2. WE are the message. If we citizens sit and talk we broadcast that "talk," which is cheap, is what Darfuries are worth. YES, the value of your talk is dear, truly. Very high quality. But talk next about how to get us, we world citizens, INTO THE WAR OF MANDATING, IRRESITABLY TO OUR GOVERNMENTS TO STOP THE GENOCIDE NOW? And then, visibly, viscerally, obviously, recklessly? act to do it?! [still hoping for feedback/help/participation on http://standwithdarfurwhitehouseii.blogspot.com/2006/09/october-5th-start-darfur-fast.html] 3. Is there really reason to think that sanctions and the like, and getting China to stop obstructing, are not EXTREMELY LIKELY and readily available to stand Bashir down? Seems obvious to me. ICC, travel restrictions aggressively applied freezing assets, no-fly?, get China to back off obstruction (oh, I said that.)

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Jay, what do you think about Restore Hope in Somalia 13 years ago?

Andreas Kiaby on :

OK... I'll try to reframe this discussion. Make it a little more action oriented. I think it is relevant to this discussion anyways. I was at a meeting today with one of the directors of the crisis group. He was very good. His pint was, that conflict prevention - or in this case intervention - only happens when there is political will. I here refer to the above discussion about the will to engage and the will of the public. Well. Most analytics conclude their analysis at "there is no political will, and meanwhile Darfur is dying". So let us ask this questions; How can we build political will? See my website for more about Evans and his speech here in Oslo, Norway. Andreas - The Oslo Blog

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ Andreas I think there might be enough will for a short term deployment of a relatively small number of NATO troops, but that's it. They will pull out after a few months and the killings start again. Maybe I have exaggerated the difficulty and dangers of sending troops into Darfur against the will of Khartoum's government. Has anybody seen a contingency plan or an analysis by military experts about the likelihood to effectively make a difference in Darfur and about the risks for the NATO troops? Have any military pundits been interviewed in our media about such a mission? The media screams that "the UN" or NATO has to save lives, but has anybody asked military experts how this mission would look like, if Khartoum strongly opposes it. Are we facing a Somalia like scenario plus Al Qaeda and the terrorists who want a break from Iraq?

Andreas Kiaby on :

This is what I just saw: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N25308925.htm Then there is the crisis group, who made some fair reports and that speech I mentioned before made some sketchy outlines. Check my website. Otherwise no. No plans. But Evans mentioned today the possibility of a no-fly zone with about 20 fighter-planes and a realistic number of troops.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Andreas, I think analysing a potential invasion of Darfur is action oriented. I read the speech you linked to on your blog. Gareth Evans spoke a lot about conflict prevention. He did not advocate an invasion against Khartoum's will, did he? In his speech all he seemed to say was: "We are now very much involved in similar campaigning, particularly in the United States, as the situation in Darfur again deteriorates, but there is an acute reluctance, both inside and outside the Security Council, to apply the kind of pressure – involving threats of both targeted and general sanctions, disinvestment, and threats of International Criminal Court prosecutions – which on all past experience is necessary if Khartoum is to be responsive." [url]http://www.redcross.no/article.asp?ArticleID=15189&oppslag=1[/url] What did he say in the Q&A? Gareth Evans and his crisisgroup are experts and apparently even they don't call for an invasion against Khartoum's will.

Andreas Kiaby on :

Okay... now we are speed-talking here. Let me flip through my notes. Well his reluctance for entering Darfur was based on 5 criterias, and a Darfur intervention failed on the point of balancing consequences. We simply cannot with a fair degree of certainty say, that an intervention will lessen the human suffering. So what he did advocate, or at least saw as viable and sensible actions was: 1) Continued pressure by the ICC, explicitely stating that if further crimes are proven all hell will be released unto them (speaking of furious prosecutions) 2) Personal sanctions backed by a tougher security council resolution. These sanctions will have significant impact, even if only backed by europe and the US 3) Economic/arms sanctions on the country, wider than just personal sanctions 4) dis-investment 5) no-fly zone to stop the bombings of civilians Well. that is just what I remember on the top of my head and scribled in my notes. lastly, I do agree that discussing an intervention is action-oriented. But I also believe that there is a lack of will, and we need to build that first. Andreas - The Oslo Blog

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thank you, Andreas! Excellent reporting directly from "the source" himself! Shall we build the will to pursue those five points? Or do you want more? We could work together on such a list and put them on our blogs and ask our fellow bloggers to put them on their blogs. That would creat political will. Re the first point: I think "all hell" is bluffing and the Sudanese government knows it. Thanks for the Alertnet article. Good that they finally started talking about contributions for a UN mission, but there is still a long way to go: "Participants at the closed-door session said Norway had offered 250 logistics experts and together with Sweden, a battalion of engineers. Tanzania, Nigeria and Bangladesh pledged infantry soldiers." [url]http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N25308925.htm[/url] A "battalian of engineers" sounds like a lot. Or is a battalion of engineers small than a normal battalian?

Andreas Kiaby on :

More news from Reuters (http://www.akiaby.dk/?p=305#comment-344); 105 UN military personel transfered to bolster the AU force. Sweden and Norway promise 500 troops to an UN mission. Your point about the ICC bluffing: There is no bluff. It is very hard to hold back the ICC prosecutor when it starts working. And even the president would like to travel around one day. ICC is like a bulldog, since it does not have any political obligations. It is a prosecuting body and only the security council can delay the case, and it has to renew the delay every year for the rest of eternity...

Jay McGinley on :

Restore Hope in Somalia? Not familiar. I'll try to research and respond. Andreas, my gratitude for focus on "raising will" and "action orientation." In part because her book rings true in my life experience with organizations, I find Samantha Power's "Problem from Hell" pretty much a bible. For me, fair "bottom line" conclusion of her book is (my synthesis): THE BATTLE TO END GENOCIDE HAS ALWAYS BEEN LOST ON THE FIELD OF PUBLIC OPINION. CITIZENS OF THE US/WORLD HAVE NEVER STOOD UP. WE HAVE NEVER RAISED THE PUBLIC WILL. With Darfur we really do not have a logistical, military, political, finesse, China, Russia... problem. IF WE RAISED MASSIVE PUBLIC WILL, these other issues really become extremely manageable. If we do not raise the will, these other problems will kill Darfur, just as they have killed every previous population suffering Genocide.

Jay McGinley on :

On the subject of uninvited intervention, my sense from reading is that: * Extremely undesirable. Quagmire. * UN-NECESSARY! FULL COURT PRESS WITH SANCTIONS/ARM TWISTING! ICC, DEAL WITH CHINA/assure their preferential oil access, SANCTIONS... AND BASHIR CAVES IN. No? Sure there should also be threats out of the media, behind the scenes about regime change unless.... Then the troop slide in.

Jay McGinley on :

My friends, the limits to my ability to contribute are confronting me rapidly. You are all very knowledgeable. I don't what to step beyond my abilities. But I am happy to share this: * Maybe I am just a simple minded one-note kind of guy. But maybe not. Yes, it is the "will" issue I raise again in the context of the debacle in Somalia 13 years ago. The "parent" test? We need to raise enormous popular will so that the "parent" test is passed. * "Will" again I raise to you! (I'll not be offended when you tire of me). How easy for the US, British and other politicians to placate folks like me by forcing military into Darfur without the proper support, analysis, plan, political aspects... Somalia repeat. (Note: This is a reason for we the people to avoid being too aggressive in putting forth policy recommendations We must not blur responsibility. Our job is to state what we want - our Will - end the Genocide now, and make peace stick long term. The Government's job is to execute effectively, and tell us what they need from us.) Yes, if we work all the politics, sanctions, arm twisting perfectly there will still be huge military risks. Massive "will" up front is the price for the operation done right. * Wow. I always forget this utterly crucial issue. The Darfur Peace Agreement is morbidly inadequate. It must be hugely enhanced in favor of the large Darfur tribes, or there is absolutely no basis for an attempt to bring peace - short or long term. Why not just abandon this mess? I believe that Darfur is of Biblical proportions / planetary importance. Huge. Why? In relative terms, the humanitarian, moral downside for these 4,000,000 at risk people is monumental in comparison to the relatively low cost, complexity and risks of we ousiders fixing it. I said relative. We are not going to get an easier Genocide / mass atrocities (whatever) to stop. We must step up to this one so that we gain the necessary competence for the next, more difficult one. Or, we will be on the wrong side of the learning curve with no hope of catching up. Similarly, we need to learn to raise the "will" sufficient for this one, for the same reason.

Jay McGinley on :

Andreas, to your 5 points. Sorry if I am not keeping up, or off point. 5 good points. In addition: * CHINA. China is the primary sanction-like factor of a sort. Remove them as a support of Sudan, their opposition to international will and we've moved mountains; fail and we're done, finished, failed. China must be assured that their preferential access to Sudan oil is secure They must be sufficiently spotlighted for their support of Genocide that they decide to protect their world image. Whatever else must be done to move China from obstruction to support of peace and humanity - yes, for their selfish political / economic reasons. * DPA must be enhanced in favor of the two large tribes. Minnawi represents just 4% of the population. That he signed the DPA is of little or no indication of the validity/equitabilty of the DPA's allocation of national wealth to Darfur. He is not a nice guy, is not out for the people. * More than I realized a month ago, Bashir is fighting for his mortal and political life. A. He rightly fears that the west's end game is "regime change." B. He is not of limitless political power within Darfur. He fears that if he does move the DPA more to the favor of Darfur, he empowers them and shifts power dangerously away from his base - too much so. Also, although it seems clear that Bashir has no moral scruples or principal, there is a very significant Muslim Fundamentalist group that wants to purify Sudan by eliminating the impure Darfur Muslims. Bashir runs afoul of this at his peril. Finally, two additional factors: * The Arab block. Less of an obstruction than China, but of similar effect. As a heroic man from Sudan was telling me today, to be black African is to be seen as being and having the rights of a slave - by Arabs - no rights at all. The Arabs - Libya, et all, must be moved from supporting Bashir to twisting his arm. * India and Malaysia - like China for economic reasons, they are a lifeline that Bashir feels confident will protect him from international sanctions. This comfort must be removed.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ BILL > I don't get this Blackhawk Down analogy? Why not? ;-) Beinart mentions the disaster in Somalia as the reason why the US did not intervene in Rwanda a year later. I think it is also the reason, why the US isn't intervening in Darfur now. I was asking a question about the influence of Black Hawk Down on the American attitudes today. I describes what my impression is. Do you have a different impression? > There were over 26 countries > involved in these missions to Somalia (UNOSOM I & II). Are > the citizens of those countries also suffering from a > Blackhawk Down syndrome when it comes to resolving conflicts > in Africa? They all do to some extent and Darfur is paying the price. However, the US suffers the most, I believe: Germany contributed a little to UNOSOM in 1993. Now, Germany contributes a lot to the Congo mission. The US does not contribute to Congo at all. Moreover, I believe the US hasn't participated in any UN peacekeeping mission after UNOSOM. Please, correct me, if I am wrong. > But the most thorough analysis that I have found to date was > delivered by Lt. Colonel Frank G. Hoffman (USMC-Ret.) to the He writs: "Admiral Howe explained how the U.S. commitment was circumscribed to a very narrow mission: "We are going to put a Band-Aid on this thing, basically. We are going to stabilize it." The mission was boxed in merely to feed the starving people, create conditions for relief to flow, and transfer the operation as soon as possible to the UN. Admiral Howe admitted that the United States was "perhaps naïve." It believed, he said, that "the U.S. would be a bridge to kind of a regular peacekeeping group."" [url]http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,NI_Somalia_0104,00.html[/url] That's similar to what Peter Beinart suggested NATO should do in Darfur. Also: See Chris' excellent comments further up in this thread. > Blackhawk Down incident. According to President Clinton, > it's mainly MSM media hype and bias and general BS. That's how the cookie crumbles. That's why hardly anybody in the MSM is saying that the Marines should invade Darfur. The US government is not contemplating to send a significant number of troops to the UN mission in Darfur, right? You have not said either that the Marines or the US Army should go into Darfur now to save lives, did you? Clinton is correct in saying that the US did not pull out of Somalia immediately after the Blackhawk Down incident. However, the US stopped the hunt after Aidid immediately after this incident and then pulled out of Somalia five months later.

Bill on :

O.K. Jörg, I'll go back and study your references (and mine) some more before coming out of my corner for the next round. BTW: The U.S.A. has contributed quite a lot in helping to stabalize and support the transition to democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and you know that fact very well. Money, expertise, you name it and the U.S.A. has been in the lead. Germany has provided some financial aid, assisted with the EU's police training program for the Kinshasa police force, and Germany has provided the services of a key UN official (what's his name?) working as UN Special Envoy William Lacy Swing's right-hand man at MONUC. Don't get so overzealous about the EU's contribution of a small contingent of military forces to Kinshasa shortly before and during the elections. To date they have done practically nothing to curb the election violence and deaths in the capital of the DRC, let alone setting up security ops to protect civilians in other major cities of this vast country. In addition the German force commanders and German Defence Minister are threatening to pullout of the DRC in November, shortly after the runoff election for president scheduled for October 29th. If this is not a case of cut-and-run before all hell breaks loose down in the jungle, then I'm the reincarnation of Martin Luther! Relax Dude. EUFOR-RDC forces haven't done squat other than profile for the cameras and provide Congolese citizens with a false sense of security down in Kinshasa. Read more at MONUC's site: http://www.monuc.org/news.aspx?newsID=12510 DJIBOUTI, Sept 25, 2006 (AFP) - German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said Monday that EUFOR, the European Union Force in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should not have its mandate extended after it ends on November 30. "I believe that the deadline will be upheld and the mandate will be able to be fulfilled during the four-month period set by the EU," said Jung, who began a tour of Africa Sunday in the small Red Sea country of Djibouti. Germany is in charge of the thousand-strong force's operations in the DRC, and has 310 soldiers stationed in the huge central African country's capital, Kinshasa, plus 430 in Gabon as reservists for the EUFOR mission. A further 320 German soldiers are in Djibouti as part of the US-led anti-terrorism operation "Enduring Freedom". Hmmmm... 320 Bundeswehrsoldaten in Djibouti? That's quite a build-up of German forces in the area since 2003? What's up? You guys expecting serious trouble may erupt soon at the Horn of Africa? Somalia? Sudan? The Red Sea and Gulf of Aden oil routes to Europe gettin' shakey again?

Jay McGinley on :

Americans would be a magnet for Muslim extremists. This option should not be ruled out. National Review back in June had a wonderful piece arguing that US troops is a final option. But isn't it obvious that US troops is not the option. Real sanctions, pressure, arm twisting and UN troops from Arab and African countries suplemented by NATO and US?

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