It is easy to dismiss the efforts of the African Union mission to bring peace to Darfur. The 7000 or so troops are no longer able to protect themselves, much less the civilians and humanitarian workers they are supposed to be helping. On December 31 the mission comes to an end. For now most of the soldiers seem contect to hunker down and serve out their time until the United Nations cavalry arrives in the form of the hybrid force. (Of course most the soldiers will be the same – just with the blue hats of the UN).
The build-up to this handover has been dominated by one sentiment: Africa has failed to find a solution and needs the UN to sort out its mess.
A nice post on the SSRC website by Abdul Mohammed goes some way to redressing the balance and points out how the AU’s efforts were stymied from the very start: These soldiers deserve to be honoured for the sacrifice they have made. Their comrades in arms deserve to be honoured for continuing to remain in their posts, despite lack of equipment, an insufficient mandate, lack of good intelligence about what surrounded them, and in many cases, with mounting arrears of pay. AMIS was faced with mission impossible, and it is a tribute to the soldiers of AMIS that they tried as hard as they did to make that mission work.