Monday, March 25, 2013

DR Congo The UN why bloody bother ?

New Vision reports

UN battles resistance to DR Congo intervention brigade.

UNITED NATIONS - Resistance to a planned UN intervention brigade for Democratic Republic of Congo could hold up a Security Council vote approving the first "targeted offensive operations" by UN troops, diplomats said Thursday.

A draft resolution has been sent to the 15 council members setting out the unique mandate for the proposed force as part of a new drive by UN leader Ban Ki-Moon to bring peace to the strife-torn region.

But doubts raised by key contributors to UN peacekeeping operations mean the vote may be delayed until next month when Rwanda, DR Congo's arch-rival, will be council president.

I have noted the irony of the Rwandan position regularly on this blog.

Countries such as Pakistan, India and other major UN troop contributors have expressed fears that the intervention brigade will make regular peacekeepers a target for attacks, diplomats said.

What they mean is doing the job that the world pays them to do might make them targets for attacks. If they won't do the job they should not bloody well be there.

The resolution would set up the 2,500-strong intervention brigade for a one-year trial to counter the M23 group and other armed bands that have brought deadly havoc to eastern DR Congo, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

The draft, obtained by AFP, would order the force to "carry out targeted offensive operations, either unilaterally or jointly with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner."

The ability to do this is needed and if they were doing it effectively I suspect rebels would might think twice about pissing them off.

The resolution calls on the UN force "to prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize these groups, and to disarm them" as part of the campaign to end threats to the DR Congo government's authority.

It would be the first time that a UN peacekeeping force has been given such a strong mandate.

Remember this is an African force within the command structure of the UN but working as a unit. Operationally they will theoretically be independent. 

Ban has pressed for the creation of the intervention brigade as part of the regional peace plan that was signed by 11 African countries, including DR Congo and Rwanda last month.

The 11 promised not to interfere in the affairs of their neighbors and Ban this week named Mary Robinson, the former Irish president, as Great Lakes region special envoy to pursue political efforts to end the DR Congo conflict.

Temporary council members Pakistan and Guatemala have raised security fears about the intervention brigade. Both have troops in the UN mission MONUSCO.

"We have to see what kind of unit (it will be), how it will relate to the overall mission," said Pakistan's UN ambassador Masood Khan.

I guess he missed the numerous discussions that have been held on this issue by the ICGLR. This seems to be little more than another attempt to throw a spanner in the works.

Russia and China have raised doubts about the principle of the intervention brigade. The United States has reservations about whether the brigade will be tough enough for the intended mission.

Actually I suspect the great powers interests are economic and there are fuck all principled objections.

Troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Mozambique have been touted as the likely candidates to launch the intervention brigade, diplomats said.

M23 became a major threat in November when it briefly took Goma, capital of the resource-rich region. UN experts accused Rwanda and Uganda of backing the group.

But battles between rival factions of M23 and the surrender of one faction leader, Bosco Ntaganda, to the US embassy in Kigali have weakened the rebel force.

"The troop contributing countries question whether the brigade is really necessary. The latest events with M23 have been perfect for them to criticize a project that they never really wanted," said one UN diplomat.

Isn't it amazing the reasons that are found to nothing. Have we not let down the people in the Eastern DR Congo enough. The world owes them peace and security.
But another Security Council diplomat said "the latest developments with M23 do not remove the argument for the intervention force" which was a key part of Ban's regional peace accord.

"The M23 remains strong and there are other groups which are a threat. The DR Congo government strongly wants the force and other countries in the region agree with them. The case for the intervention force is still strong," said the envoy.

It seems likely that M23 will once again be integrated int the the Congolese army again. The problem is FARDC are probably the least professional army in the world. Integration will buy time for the Africa Brigade to establish its self.    

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