January 3, 2014
Pham Quoted on UN Failure in Africa
There are now more U.N. peacekeepers in Africa than at any time in history — roughly twice as many as in the early 1990s.
As of the end of November, more than 70 percent of the 98,267 U.N. peacekeepers deployed globally were in sub-Saharan Africa, according to J. Peter Pham, executive director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. [...]
It was only after violence quickly spread across South Sudan in mid-December that the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to nearly double the force to a little more than 14,000. But the peacekeepers’ mandate is framed in terms of development, “as if the problems of South Sudan were merely due to the lack of material aid, as opposed to rooted in deeper conflicts,” Pham said.
“While one has to be realistic — and acknowledge that the U.N. and the African Union are not panaceas and not every conflict can be foreseen, much less prevented — one should also ask what the purpose of deploying some 7,000 troops from more than 60 countries to South Sudan at the cost of close to $1 billion a year is, if they are not keeping the peace,” Pham said.