Monday, October 01, 2007

Why Would Darfur Rebels Attack AU Peacekeepers?

BBC: Darfur rebels 'behind AU attack'

What’s this? The rebels are behind the attack on African Union troops that are supposed to be protecting them? What’s up with that?

Professor Seth Weinberger has some truly excellent analysis over at his blog, Security Dilemnas.

But it's altogether likely that the rebels do, in fact, want the peacekeepers out. The rebels are those Darfur who have decided to take up arms against the Sudanese government in hopes of achieving greater political autonomy and protection, if not independence, for Darfur. The presence of peacekeepers, while perhaps sufficing to minimize or prevent the attacks against civilians that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more, will not serve to advance the larger political goal. If anything, the peacekeepers will serve to entrench the status quo by freezing the battlelines and political demands in place. They certainly will make it more difficult for the rebels to attain their larger political goals.

To sum it up, African Union troops make sure the status quo in Darfur does not change. That’s not the rebels’ goals. They want change, and the African Union isn’t helping them.