Global Politics

Keeping out peacekeepers

There's a deep suspicion that the timing of the coup attempt in Chad by Sudan-backed militias was no coincidence. This peacekeeping expert suspects it was a deliberate attempt to thwart the deployment of European peacekeepers to Chad. He says Sudan has been effective at thwarting deployments into Sudan as well. He says this week's fighting highlights how dangerous inserting peacekeepers can be in places where there's no peace, as in both Chad and Darfur. One potential effect of the chaos in Chad is to make contributing forces even more reluctant, for both the Chad force and the larger one in Sudan. This peacekeeping official says other countries are watching and they'll be less likely to contribute military assets if they think the situation is going to fail. He says Khartoum understands that fear, but analysts are hoping this next step may be one too far, especially for China. China has always protected Sudan at the UN Security Council. A Security Council agreement allowed France to help shore up Chad's government but did not mention Sudan's involvement. Sudan denies any charges. This analyst thinks the Security Council needs to more. New pressure on Khartoum might improve the slow pace of the peacekeeping force in Darfur but the fate of the Chad force rests primarily with France, as this analyst says. France wants the Chad peacekeeping force to succeed but it also wants Chad to stand on its two feet. How France proceeds will have ramifications for both the region and for the future of peacekeeping.