Darfur: an African union peace-keeping crucible?
The African Union has been acclaimed for its leadership role and engagement in addressing the Darfur crisis. International consensus is almost emerging in favor of substantial increase of the presence of the African Union Mission in Darfur, including expansion of the size of its monitoring force and a clear mandate for its troops to protect civilians. Rapid expansion of the African Union mission requires a corresponding increase in its peace-keeping capacity through provision of equipment, logistical, financial, material, and other resources. Confidence in the AU’s ability to change the course of events in Darfur partly stems from fact that it has managed to overcome some of the constraints that paralyzed the Organization of African Unity (OAU) that it replaced in 2001. The AU has responded proactively to today’s worst humanitarian crisis, unlike the OAU that stood by with the rest of the international community and watched as the 1994 genocide in Rwanda unfolded. By taking bold steps to stop fighting and stem the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, the African Union has raised its profile, but the crisis has also presented the first real test for its viability as a credible force in peace-keeping in Africa. Indeed, Darfur has become the crucible for the African Union’s future role in peace-keeping.