African Union forces extended. grrreat.
Last week it was announced that the African Union forces in Darfur will, in fact, be able to stay past October 1st. Sudan was threatening to kick them out; now they have a mandate through the end of the year. Humanitarian disaster averted, perhaps, but still a really really bad situation and U.N troops are absolutely needed. This just bought some time, although it will be a time of more suffering.
Someone asked me the other day if this might be a bad development, because now there will be less of an immediate international initiative to get the U.N. troops in. Well, here's what Sudan guru Eric Reeves says in his latest quasi-weekly tome, this one titled "A Spectacle of Impotence at the UN: Darfur Security Remains Solely with AU":
Khartoum’s genocidaires, despite factitious threats to “expel” the AU, never had any intention of doing so; the regime discerned all too clearly that such expulsion, and the complete security vacuum in Darfur that would have ensued, was the only possible catalyst for international action. Absent that catalyst, Khartoum was confident---and deservedly so---that there would be no more than further exhortation, even in the face of the most outrageous defiance.
Is he right that the international community will not get a U.N. force in somehow? I hope not. On Wednesday, Rice had mostly the right things to say, arguing that a U.N. force is still urgently needed and that the U.S. is going to push to make it happen (see piece in Thursday's Post). Tick, tock.