Wednesday, July 20, 2005
This panel discussion focuses on the role of the African Union in Darfur, Sudan. Panelists discuss the mandate of the African Union and identify ways to improve the effectiveness of the force. The panel considers if adding to the size of the force will improve effectiveness or if a change in mandate to include civilian protection will provide greater security for the people of Darfur. Additionally panelists discuss what the African Union can achieve realistically and the benefits of providing help from the United Nations, the European Union and NATO. The panel includes Charles Snyder, Victoria K. Holt, Michael Smith, Lt. Col. Joseph Nzabamwita and Sarah Martin.
JERRY FOWLER: Thank you very much for coming this afternoon. My name is Jerry Fowler, and I am the Staff Director of the Committee on Conscience here at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The mission of the Committee on Conscience is to address contemporary genocide and threats of genocide. It is part of the memorial function of the Museum. We seek to honor the victims of the Holocaust by speaking out and calling attention to contemporary genocide and contemporary threats of genocide.
Today we are going to have a fascinating discussion about the role of the African Union in Darfur, specifically the role of the African Union monitoring force. We are very happy to be presenting today’s program in cooperation with the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping. We appreciate the assistance that the partnership provided in putting together today’s panel.
I will not say too much by way of introduction, but I think what really motivated us to put together this panel and to have this discussion is that there has been a lot of assumption that the solution to security problems in Darfur is to increase the size of the African Union force that is on the ground. Some people say we also need to change its mandate to include more explicit civilian protection language.
It occurred to us that a lot of these positions, at least on the part of some people, including perhaps ourselves, was motivated without having a real understanding of both what the African Union is doing now, what it can realistically achieve, and what is needed; in other words, there are a lot of unexamined assumptions. We wanted to spark a discussion that would examine the assumptions that underlie that basic viewpoint. Thus, we have convened this incredibly distinguished panel. I will briefly introduce each of the members and then go on with the discussion.
Starting at my immediate right--I always say Ambassador Charles Snyder --
CHARLES SNYDER: I still work for a living.
JERRY FOWLER: Mr. Snyder is the senior representative on Sudan at the State Department, has an incredibly distinguished career in public service, has served as the acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs at the State Department, as well as principal Deputy Secretary of State. Even before going to the State Department, he had a whole previous career, with the United States Army, which is somewhat relevant to today’s discussion.
He has been one of the leading actors inside the United States Government in dealing with Sudan for a number of years, predating the crisis in Darfur. He was very involved in the discussions and efforts that led to the comprehensive peace agreement, which, just within this month, resulted in the inauguration of a new government of national unity in Khartoum.
Proceeding to my right, Sarah Martin is an advocate for Refugees International. In the last year, she has made several trips to Africa, including to Darfur. She comes with experience on the ground visiting internally displaced people inside Darfur. She is a graduate of both George Washington University and the University of South Carolina.
Next to her is Michael Smith. He lists himself as an independent analyst; you wonder what to make with that. He is, like Mr. Snyder, a former member of the United States Army and a graduate of West Point. Recently he has served as a United States Planner for the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, assisting in planning the African Union mission on Darfur. Prior to that, he worked with the ECOWAS deployment in Liberia, and he has extensive experience in dealing with Africa and peacekeeping deployments.
To his right, we have Joseph Nzabamwita. Joseph is a defense attaché at the Rwandan Embassy. He is a lawyer by training and has served in various functions with the Rwandan defense forces and in the Rwandan Ministry of Defense.
Finally, at the far end, we have one of the perhaps most widely acknowledged experts on peacekeeping, Victoria Holt, from the Stimson Center. I found, in talking around town, asking about peacekeeping questions, the name that inevitably comes up is Tory Holt. She has an extensive background, including the State Department and the Hill. She was also Executive Director of the Emergency Coalition for United States Financial Support of the United Nations, and has directed the project on peacekeeping in the United Nations at the Centers for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation here in Washington.
We are honored to have this panel, and I think that it should lead to a very intriguing discussion. The format that we wanted to follow, because we have such a large panel, is to go straight to some questions that I hope will draw out some of the issues related to the question of what the African Union mission can achieve in Darfur. Instead of having prepared remarks from each of our panelists, I am going to pose a series of questions and then hopefully spark a discussion among the panelists. Ultimately, we will open it up to questions from the audience, because I know that there are many of you that have a lot of questions that you would seek to have answered.
I wanted to start with Tory Holt. Could you give us -- broadly speaking -- a sense of context of peacekeeping in Africa? Who has done it in the past? Who can do it? The African Union is a relatively new organization; to what extent is it able to develop the capacity that is necessary to do effective peacekeeping? To the extent that there are gaps between capacity and need, how can that be filled?
VICTORIA HOLT: Thanks very much. I am very flattered to be on this expert panel. I know everybody here, and you are honored to have them before you.
I am going to go back to what Jerry mentioned about the African Union and if its mandate should be changed and expanded. I think I will start with the question I think we should answer today, if we could, which is, what is the mission of the African Union, because once you know the mission, it will drive what it needs to accomplish its job. It is pretty basic.
I do not think we have a consensus long-term on that mission, and there are two components of that. First is a generalized mandate for peacekeeping, and then there is specifically something called “civilian protection,” which I think most people here are familiar with, but I am going to talk about what that means in peacekeeping, broadly. I am going to touch briefly on who has done it, who can do it, and where the gaps are between expectations and capacity.
Who does peacekeeping? Basically, five organizations can do interventions for peacekeeping: NATO, the European Union, the United Nations, the African Union, and ECOWAS. In general, NATO has not been in Africa. It is now supporting the Sudan mission with logistics and other support, and we will hear about the details today. The European Union is fairly new to peacekeeping and the first mission it has done in Africa was its three-month deployment, when it authorized the French to lead a mission called ARTAMUS in the Congo in the summer of 2003. That was pretty close to a protection mission in a very small area, but it was not ongoing beyond three months.
So where do we go? We have to look at the United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS. Let me start briefly with the United Nations since it is synonymous with peacekeeping. They are currently doing eight missions in Africa, and African peacekeeping takes up 75 percent of the peacekeeping forces that the United Nations deploys around the world, and that is military forces, observers, and civilian police. This is important because the United Nations is also stretched beyond what we have almost never seen, with the exception of what was going on with the former Yugoslavia in the mid 1990s, right around the time that we were worrying about Rwanda. We see a stretched United Nations system; stretched by its own capacity, and I will cycle back to that.
What about the African Union and ECOWAS? ECOWAS is the West African group on peacekeeping particularly in Liberia, starting in 1991, and has done a number of missions based in West Africa and is seen, in general, to have been in the lead in peacekeeping capacity. The African Union is fairly new, created in the last few years. Its first formal peacekeeping mission was in Burundi in 2003. Its predecessor, the OAU, did observation missions and mediation missions. Some could argue about the definition of peacekeeping, but the way we are talking about it today, they did not really do peacekeeping.
Why is this important? What is the capacity then of the African Union and ECOWAS? I will just kind of mix them together, although the focus today is the African Union. They have strong political ambitions. They have clear political leadership. They have willing countries that will provide forces, and they have got some know-how, because they have participated in United Nations missions, as well as their own. They are, however, missing some key components of capacity if you are looking at peacekeeping, logistics, transportation, and funding. Their headquarters support, while many able people work there, they both had about two dozen when I visited last year in their management planning who organized everything. In comparison, the United Nations had 600 people in their Department of Peacekeeping Operations who have been doing this formally since 1992, but basically since the founding of the United Nations, and the United Nations is stretched. So we cannot consider the African Union or NATO.
I am just going to go ahead to the mission mandate question, because we have talked a lot about civilian protection and what that means. What does that mean particularly in peacekeeping? I am just going to throw out two rough definitions of what civilian protection can mean.
The Responsibility to Protect Report that the Canadian Government sponsored as an international commission basically said that in cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass death, and mass killing, if a country cannot protect its people, then the world needs to intervene. If we have tried everything and it has not worked, then we should send in a military force to protect the civilians of a region. I would call that the “responsibility to protect mode.”
If you are doing that kind of mission, however, it is not a peacekeeping mission. It is an intervention, preferably with a Security Council resolution. It can only, in my view, really be conducted currently with what is a militarily capable force; and if you look around the world, and you want to do it quickly, it is going to have to be NATO and western militaries. There is only a handful that could do it quickly for a place the size of Darfur.
There is another definition of civilian protection. It is a task within the United Nations-mandated mission or, within this case, an African Union mission, and it can range from acting as a policing capacity, protection of borders, convoy protection (whether for humanitarian food or for a camp), and residual security. By the very presence of the soldiers, they might provide some protection, but it is not the equivalent of protecting everybody in a region. I want to come back to that, because peacekeeping was never designed to protect everybody. Peacekeeping was mainly designed to provide temporary security and support to a political agreement. If you actually look at mandates for missions, civilian protection only really came up in 1999 and has been included in most United Nations mandates since then, but the United Nations is still figuring out how to guide its true contributing countries and what it means.
It is ridiculous to expect the African Union to have doctrine in training and have an idea of what that means (though they have probably worked out a lot of it in the African Union mission in Sudan). It is not even something that the United Nations or NATO has figured out. If you want the African Union mission to include civilian protection, we need a good definition of what it means, and then we need to think about the capacity we need to do it. It is certainly not their fault if they cannot do something in an area that size, with an organization that is not built to have a capacity even close to the United Nations, let alone some of the western militaries.
JERRY FOWLER: I want to follow-up on this phrase that you used -- a militarily capable force. Sometimes, to laymen, soldiers are soldiers and if they have guns and helmets, then they are soldiers and it is a military force. You suggested that militarily capable force is something that is really only available through NATO. Can you just tease that and explain what you mean by that and what the significance of that phrase is?
VICTORIA HOLT: Yes, and that is not a perfect phrase. That is too off-the-cuff, and I also would defer to Michael, who knows this better. What I am trying to suggest is that militaries are not all militaries and certainly peacekeepers are not all the same. What I mean are well trained units that are able to deploy on short notice, who have the equipment and the enabling forces to both get them into the mission from their home base and sustain them on the ground while they are there.
Some of this is not very exciting. It is everything from tents and cooking kits to medicine and clean water and oil for the Jeeps and mechanical units to help keep their trucks running. In other words, there is a whole contingent that goes along with it. It also means training in use of their firearms and understanding of rules of engagement. For example, what is the mission mandate? How is that translated down to the individual level? Does the mission leadership have a concept that marries up with the peacekeepers on the ground?
It is sort of a vague term, Jerry. I am not giving you an expert definition here, but what I am meaning is a package of people who are well trained to carry out a mission and know how to follow the command chain, know how to operate on the ground, and have the equipment to sustain themselves.
I know that when some of the African Union forces deployed into Burundi, not everybody had enough food and water. You cannot presume, even though they may be skilled troops that they come well equipped to do everything they are asked to do.
JERRY FOWLER: I would suppose that it is one thing to have a national military that has got a set amount of capability, but it is another to put together forces from a lot of different militaries and have them operating together. Joseph, could you give us an idea of what the current status of the African Union force is, its numbers, where the troops are coming from, and how they are working together? I know a big contingent is coming from your country, Rwanda, but that is not all of it. How is that working on the ground?
JOSEPH NZABAMWITA: Thank you, Jerry, and I thank Sarah for giving us a broad perspective. I will also try to provide some more details from the ground, as you phrased the question.
The current status of the force in Darfur must take into account that the embassy is trying to be very integrated. We are trying to make sure that you have a big force on the ground present, the logistical base, expanding and restricting support requirements in order to build a robust and deterrent posture based on the dynamic organizational structure, efficiently managing the system, and command and control, so at least we should be able to execute the mission.
As to the current status of the force, we are now at a situation whereby AMIS-1 has been fully deployed with a force of 3,320 personnel. We are in the act of deploying the second phase of AMIS, whereby it is envisaged that by September 5, we should have a force of 6,171 military personnel (that is including 1,560 civilian police) on the ground. As of today, the figures I have are that there are now on the ground a figure of 3,583. Now, within districts, we have Nigeria, which completed the deployment of its first battalion among the three battalions that Nigeria is going to deploy, which was deployed by July 13. Rwanda started deploying three of her battalions beginning July 17. That is when 95 military personnel were airlifted from Kigali to Al Fashir. The following day, July 18, 78 military personnel were airlifted, and by today, another equal figure was also airlifted, having now a total of 261 out of a figure of 1,756 that we should be able to deploy by the beginning of September.
Basically, Kigali is now the logistical base. We have a multinational operation that is taking place, providing airlifts to the African Union force, and hopefully, by the beginning of next month, we should be deploying on the ground two Rwandan battalions. Nigeria, as I told you, has already finished deployments and we have other troop contributing countries that include Kenya, which has contributed a military police force. We have Senegal. We have South Africa that has also contributed both military personnel and civilian police. And, of course, we have Gambia.
The force is deployed in about ten sectors, whereby you have the first quarter with almost 396 personnel now, including 139 military observers, 38 civilian police, 26 international staff, and 11 Cease Fire Commission officers. We have at least 571 military observers on the ground now. We have 603 civilian police out of about 800 that is required, and a total of 3,583, as I said.
By the end of the second phase, we should have a total force of over 7,000. This will be followed by the deployment of the third phase, which would be a military force of 12,000, which should include both police and civilians combined.
This is how the situation is on the ground and I would say that even though the African Union is at its heyday period, at least there is something that is now taking place on the ground, compared to when AMIS was beginning in October of last year.
JERRY FOWLER: Can you comment a bit about the way in which the force is being deployed on the ground with regard to protecting civilians? The original purpose of the force was to monitor a cease fire. So when there were reports of violations of the cease fire, the force would go to those places and document what was happening.
And we had Brian Steidle here, who was on one of the monitoring teams. He was very frustrated, basically, going and watching villages being destroyed. Some of the reports that I am seeing now, however, are to the effect that the force is being deployed more to protect civilians, to accompany women who are going out to collect firewood. To what extent are those reports true? What percentage of the activity of the force is represented by efforts to protect civilians as opposed to the monitoring?
JOSEPH NZABAMWITA: You may recall that when Rwanda was deploying its first contingent in October, my President said that he felt that this force should be deployed specifically to protect civilians, and that should have been in clear terms. The force that is deployed works under the clear mandate of the African Union, irrespective of whether it is as a clear mandate to protect the civilians.
The force that is deployed, conducts its mission through the mandate. They are there specifically to monitor and resolve complaints with the humanitarian cease fire agreement and, of course, other agreements that might come into force. They are also there to assist in the process of confidence building between the warring parties. The other component of the mandate is to contribute to a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian relief and to support the return of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) and refugees to their homes. They are also there to contribute to the improvement of the overall situation in Darfur. This mandate must incorporate the protection of the civilian population. It includes investigation of the cease fire violations. They conduct patrols, which promotes confidence, and specifically, offers protection to the civilian population. Through the patrols and now, the enhanced mandate of AMIS, which includes a 24-hour police monitoring of the IDPs, the civilian population is protected.
Now, whether this is in clear terms I think is worth debating here, but, of course, with the mandate, those are the challenges.
JERRY FOWLER: Thank you. Michael, let me just pick up on that in terms of this idea of the capacity of the force to undertake fairly complex operations of protecting civilians, some of the issues that were raised by Victoria in her original remarks, and especially this idea of militaries from different countries working together and operating together in a fairly, complex force. Where do things stand with this force and to carry out this mission?
MICHAEL SMITH: I think that Joseph has catalogued very well the different tasks that the force is supposed to accomplish, and though things are calm there now, which we are all happy about, I still have to conclude that given the geographic size of Darfur, AMIS does not presently possess the capacity to effectively execute its mandate. It will approach effectiveness in executing its mandate as the force grows to about 12,300 personnel that they have articulated recently.
Joseph mentioned a couple of the tasks, and some of them are captured under the notion of proactive monitoring. Proactive monitoring is a new concept. Most of the observation missions have the observers go to a place where an incident had already occurred and then report on that incident. That is not a very good thing. They cannot capture the human rights abuses. The proactive monitoring requires a force to be much more active in preventive activities, such as patrolling, as Joseph mentioned, both by air and by ground, and, most important, presence.
Presence is the thing that most contributes to security, as we found out from the March visit of the African Union and some of the international community. In places where AMIS was located, the amount of violence and incidents was drastically reduced or non-existent. Presence is imperative. Just a couple of hundred people or two or three thousand was never going to be enough in an area with that geographic spatial distribution. Darfur is always going to need a large number, and I think that 12,000 is not a bad number, given the tasks that Joseph outlined.
The protection task that has been mentioned is limited to only protecting people who are in imminent danger in the immediate vicinity, within the capability of AMIS. That can be very frustrating, because it does not give you the cache to do the sorts of things that you might want to do to prevent war crimes, crimes against humanity, or worse, from occurring.
I would like to give you the sort of concept to answer the question more fully of what is the capacity of the force now and can it do its tasks later. Let me mention very quickly, when we were doing the planning for the African Union response to Darfur, what we were thinking about. The first thing that we were thinking about--and by we, I mean it was a group of 19 people from the African Union, the EU, the United Nations, Canada, France, Germany, a couple of individual officers -- was that the observers were emphasized over the protection force. This was an emotional discussion about who should have greater priority in the area of operations, the observers or the protection force. Bottom line, it was the observers who were the reason for being there, and the protection force was there only to protect the observers, so that we did not have things happen like in the Balkans or Sierra Leone, where the observers were captured by the belligerents.
Another very key thing that continues to operate today as we speak is that the Government of Sudan has not relinquished its responsibility to protect its civilians. Even if that seems disingenuous, that is still the operative principal; they are primarily responsible. They will not allow the deployment of a force that is going to take on what they perceive to be their responsibility.
You already know about African solutions adding to the problems, so that tells you just about where your troops and your other capabilities are going to come from. Right now, the African Union wants to separate itself from the OAU and show that Africans, if given the chance, can solve their own problems. When we were first looking at the area, we were trying to figure out, first, where the IDP camps were located. There were about 65 or so. Before we started figuring out where troops would go and how many troops we would need, we looked at the location of the IDP camps, the belligerents, and the places to where we want the people to go back home. Those were the things that looked at as we planned.
Sectors were then developed and within those sectors, we tried to figure out how frequently each of those nodes I mentioned earlier would be visited and seen by the observers and protectors. Some of the end states that Joseph mentioned, like people ultimately going home, would happen, so that people would feel protected and actually be protected. In all of this, however, we were limited by the Government of Sudan’s constraints and what they would bear within Darfur. Initially, in October of 2004, we could only deploy 3,320 people total. That was 815 police, 1,703 protectors, MILOPS 450 or so, and so forth.
In all this process, I wound up with two comments. One is on assets and constraints. In the process, a very heartening thing has been the fraternity that one sees within the African nations themselves. There is a true desire to help brothers out in these countries that are deploying soldiers and other assets. There is a true desire, I think, to help, and that is good. The support of the international community, for the several months that I was at the African Union headquarters, was palpable and fantastic, and I think that we were definitely trying not to see Rwanda or Srebrenica happen again.
The African forces lack -- through no fault of their own -- the things that Victoria was talking about that would make them capable such as, doctrine, training, force structure, material, strategic deployment capabilities and so forth.
They are actually capable individuals with what they have been trained to do and they are eager to do the job properly, if given these enablers. They are capable, but they do not have everything that they need.
Another asset was Article 4-H of the African Union’s Constitutive Act. I want to say it is an asset, but at the same time, it was a limitation, because right now, in the African Union, they have the authority, as the African Union, to go into a country if there are war crimes being committed, genocide or crimes against humanity. What I will mention is that the political will is just not there to go into a country without the permission of that country to come in and help get it right. There are probably some good and bad points about that.
As Victoria mentioned, the African Union mission and planning capability is just not good enough. At the African Union headquarters, if you expected to see a lot of people with maps on the walls, to make this whole thing happen, you would not see that right now. You would see something far less than that, but they are working their way toward the necessary capability, but for the near future, they will need assistance in that area. They lack the money. They lack logistics. There is not a systematic way to collect intelligence for these operations. Finally, the small arms keep moving back and forth, and as long as you have the small arms proliferation, you still have these threats.
In summary, the African Union does not presently possess effective capability to do its mission throughout the geographic breadth of its mandate, but as it approaches the 12,300 or so, they will be much closer to achieving that.
JERRY FOWLER: Thank you, Mike. Just to clarify, when you say that when they achieve the 12,300, which ostensibly would be this third phase of deployment that Joseph referred to, which would occur sometime early next year, what would they be able to do with that number? What mission would they be able to accomplish with that number? Secure IDP areas where IDPs are not now? Establish a sense of security in the countryside?
MICHAEL SMITH: I think the real guy who knows this is Charlie Snyder. In fact, it was his office that sent me over there and that I worked in afterwards. If you look at where all the IDP camps are, where you want to be between the adversaries, where all the population clusters are, and where you want people to go back to, now, with the 12,300, and with mobility assets, armored personnel carriers, helicopters, et cetera, now you can be everywhere.
The real key is presence, because if people see that you are there and you can respond in a timely way, then they will (and we studied this very extensively) get up from where they are, and they will physically feel safe moving back to where they are and re-occupying the place that they have come from. They feel safe that you will protect them while they are there. What you get is that presence, both through the physical number, 12,300, and the mobility assets.
JERRY FOWLER: Sarah, you have been in the IDP camps relatively recently. What is your sense of the situation on the ground in terms of the protection that is currently being provided? Did you get a sense from people inside the camps what it would take for them to feel secure? Do they have faith in the ability of the African Union to create a sense of security?
SARAH MARTIN: Thank you very much. Actually, this is one of the things that we talked about most with the internally displaced people and the refugees. What would it take to make them feel safe enough to return home? What they were seeing from the African Union on the ground was not enough to make them feel safe to move home. In fact, even though the Government of Sudan is responsible for protecting its citizens, we all know that it is not, and I can give you an example.
Abu Shouk is a camp up in North Darfur that many people visit; I believe Secretary of State Rice is there right now. The people there, however, and particularly the women, feel trapped inside this camp, because right outside of the camp are Government of Sudan police officers and Government of Sudan soldiers. Every time the women leave the camp to gather firewood, they are preyed upon. They are raped, abducted, and nobody seems to be able to do anything about that. This is where the African Union comes in. The African Union has been able to, in a limited capacity, provide security.
We keep talking about the African Union presence. The presence is important, but what we found is that the different contingents are interpreting their mandate differently. You can have a very strong mandate that prioritizes protection of citizens, but unless the soldiers on the ground understand exactly what that means and how to do that, it is not going to provide much protection at all.
We talked with different international humanitarian agencies on the ground that treat women who have been raped and what they said is where the African Union has been doing patrols for firewood gathering, women do not get attacked. It is not consistent, it is not from place to place, and it is not prioritized.
The bigger question is what it would take to make the internally displaced people feel safe enough to return home. Even with 12,000 African Union troops on the ground, it is not going to be enough. The people had their trust broken with the Government of Sudan. They do not believe the Government of Sudan will stop preying upon them, and they have told us time and time again, “We are not leaving these camps. These are the only places that we are safe.” It is going to take a more robust engagement.
I have just returned from the Congo recently, where there has also been an issue of interpreting the mandate. When United Nations peacekeeping troops or African Union troops actively fight the belligerents and do something more than just have a presence there, the people will begin to trust that they can go home and that peace will come around.
JERRY FOWLER: You just said that when troops fight the bad guys, basically, that that inspires trust, but no one has talked about that up until now. What are the prospects that there are ever going to be active operations by the African Union force against the Janjaweed, much less against Government of Sudan military, or, if necessary, against rebel units?
CHARLES SNYDER: The truth is, in these situations, how these things develop, the African Union forces, the more aggressive ones, the ones that are trying to perform under the mandate -- probably the Rwandans, maybe the Nigerians -- will encounter a situation in which they are provoked and will make a decision to follow-up and engage the Janjaweed back to its base. They will not deliberately go out looking for this fight. It will happen on the ground as a result of them having been there for a while and being confident in what they know about the geography, being confident in their own commander, being confident for the first time, partially because NATO and the European Union have lifted them in. If they get way in over their heads, there may be a 911 phone number that they can use that they did not have earlier. For all those reasons, this will happen almost in an unpredictable fashion. There will be an X factor. Literally, something will happen in front of a Rwandan company. The company commander will react, the Janjaweed will react, and the battalion will then react.
In the meantime, we will be putting pressure on the government in Khartoum to actively assist the Rwandans and so on. It will happen in an unpredictable fashion, but I think it will happen, given the nature of the Janjaweed forces.
One of the unintended consequences of the larger African Union force is that where they are present, the violence is going down. The violence overall is going down because the camps are becoming more stable. Does that mean the Janjaweed are now concentrating in areas out of sight, preying on the population that has not moved into the camps? Will they, when confronted with even more control on the ground, decide to test this force, the issue of the force’s capacity? To some degree, we are anticipating that.
One of the things that is going in with this new enhanced phase two force is that the Canadians are supplying 150 Grizzly armored cars. This is a significant step up in the military technology on the ground and says that this force is heavier than it was. Phase three, when it comes, would even have more of that. I think the Janjaweed at some point will test them.
One of the things that is also changing -- and we are not looking at strictly the African Union force to turn this around – is a result of what happened on July 9 when John Garang joined the government. This has consequences. By August 9, there will be a true union government in which many of the cabinet ministries are occupied either by the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement or by other northern parties not associated with the national congress party. The Army will begin to change. They wanted to pull their forces back out of the south and they are doing that already. Why does that matter? For one thing, the forces in the south are more disciplined. The cease fire in the south has held for over two years.
Regardless of what we think of Khartoum and whether or not we think that their forces have been ordered to do these things, if you get a more disciplined force on the ground for the government, you are much more likely to be able to hold them accountable. These troops have proved that they can follow orders and maintain a cease fire in a hostile territory, and clearly, the south is hostile territory for them. These units will have a more stabilizing effect and they are pulling back into Darfur. There is an underlying change there. John Garang’s men will join something called joint integrated units.
It will take us six months -- and when I say us, I mean the West, the United Kingdom, the French, ourselves, the Germans and others -- to train these forces, but the first force -- this joint integrated force, this first 20,000 men trained -- at least half of them will be deployed as replacements into Darfur.
Again, you are changing the entire environment and it is in that sense that we are hopeful and believe that the African Union force in increased numbers will make a difference, because these other factors are changing at the same time. The ultimate mark of folly is to do the same thing and look for a different result. If we were just depending on the African Union by itself, we would be setting ourselves up for folly.
Other factors are changing and among them are these joint integrated units, and we have done this before where these units have been effective. It has been done in Angola. I think the experts will say that the Angolan Army is one of the better ones in Africa now; they are mostly joint units. It will make a difference. We have practical experience in the Middle East.
One of the things that got lost in one of the early Lebanon crises in the mid 1980s was that there was a reorganization of the Lebanese Army, in which Christian and Muslim units were integrated, and that Army stayed coherent for over a year. It was only when the major political parties began to go back into that pattern that the new army started to come apart for political reasons. Right now have a new union here. I am telling you to believe what sounds unbelievable on its face, but there is a body of evidence out there that this thing works. The key is to hold the political agreement together, because military force without a political environment deploys for no purpose and loses its orientation. It is deploying for a purpose and in a time line. If we get to the 15,000 men (that will be at the edge of what I think the African Union capacity is these days), the African Union will have taken a major step toward being responsible for peacekeeping on its continent. We, the outsiders who claim to want to help the African Union, will have learned more and more about what it is they need and how best we can help. We learned from that first failed deployment. That first group never got to 3,300, like they said. There are now, as my comrade points out, 3,583. But the quota of the original 3,300 was never filled. The police units, for instance, never got up to snuff. We figured out what went wrong that time, why the deployment took so long, the planners, like Mike Smith here, have taken all that into account in the new plan.
There is reason to believe, despite the difficulties we had the first time, that this second force will make a difference, not only because of itself, but because the political environment is changing. How stable that is, we will see. This just started July 9, but there is reason to be optimistic for now.
JERRY FOWLER: I have to follow-up on this idea that the African Union may have a 911 number that they will be able to call to get assistance. Can you flush that prospect out a little more?
CHARLES SNYDER: It is a lot like the African Union mandate. If you make the African Union mandate explicit and say that they have to protect civilians, that it is their primary objective, you will never get that mandate through the African Union. There are plenty of other people, not just Sudan, that do not want to see an African Union force in their country with such a mandate. Therefore, to demand an explicit mandate from them like that will never happen. It is better to solve the problem practically, which is what the African Union has done. The African Union, by having the right commanders on the ground, having people like the Rwandans and Nigerians, who will be aggressive, the South Africans, who will be aggressive, have put people who will execute the mandate under the guise of rules of engagement. Under the rules of engagement that they have, they can protect themselves. If am armed man is 50 feet from me and he is firing his weapon at a woman, he is a threat to me. That is the way they interpret it, and I have to do what I need to do to eliminate that threat, to get myself and the people I am trying to protect out of the situation. That can include pursuit. That can include a several day operation, if that rule of engagement is interpreted aggressively.
NATO has, for the first time, assisted the African Union. We are flying their men in. We are flying equipment in. The Canadians have provided military equipment to this force, Grizzlies. We have all put officers on the ground, in headquarters and other places. There is a new level of commitment that is there. There is a new level of understanding of what is going on on the ground. Six months ago, nine months ago, if you had brought this to the NATO headquarters, to the European headquarters, planners rightly could say, “God, I do not understand this place. I have never operated in this place. I cannot do that. Give me three weeks, give me a month, give me four months.” A lot of those questions have been answered now. “I know what the ground is like. My men have been on the ground. They know what the rebels’ capacity is.”
If we ever got into a situation in which the African Union asked for help, whether that is an air strike from the French forces, that have five Jaguar jets, the French part of the deployment for the European Union, in which NATO said to France we would support that. We will provide backup. You go do that. All those things are now possible. They are not agreed to in advance, they would never be agreed to in advance, but that is not the way these things happen. Just like this units for the first time will fight, it will be in response to a specific situation. If you try to get us to agree to this, we will find 43 reasons why we cannot do it now, why we cannot preemptively agree to it. We do not have the authority. In the crisis, however, circumstances have changed and it is possible, probable, to get somebody to act. In the case of the French, they proved at ARTAMUS that they will act and they will act maybe in all our names this time. They are members of NATO.
There is a real possibility of reaction to bail these out. Otherwise, not only are we going to be accused of having stood by and watched genocide happen yet again, we are going to be accused of being feckless militarily. We put these people in harm’s way and when the flag went up, we were not there. We knew, because we are practical military people that they could not handle this at this level, because none of us expected the violence to go this way. None of us, for instance, expected the government’s units to attack the African Union. Far-fetched scenario, but that is an example of the kind of unplanned for scenario in which a different answer could result.
I am not saying NATO or the EU has a commitment, but I have been doing this long enough that things have changed in a very practical way, and the same colonel could have said, “Listen, boss, I have no idea about this and how this will play out.” He cannot say that anymore. He can say, “I can build you an option or two options, or three options, and I can do this and I can do that or I can do this,” if you have the political will. So there is a sea change, but you need to have that context. Just like the African Union is moving along finessing the mandate arrangement, I would submit to you that the 911 number is a finessed arrangement at this point, but there is a big difference between where we were six months ago and where we are now. NATO has had this debate. NATO has acted. The EU and NATO worked out how they play together in Africa. Neither one of them is happy with how it is working, but nonetheless, troops and supplies are being delivered. Things changed and they have changed in a practical way.
JERRY FOWLER: I wanted to push a little bit on the idea of how fast this phase two deployment is going to happen and take the point that Charlie made that a lot was learned in the phase one deployment. As a skeptic, how feasible is it really that the whole phase two is going to be completed by the end of September, and then phase three by January or February of next year?
JOSEPH NZABAMWITA: Let me give it a try using Rwanda as an example. At least there is a commitment from Rwanda to have all the troops that you have pledged. The first we completed in training were on the first battalion, now with the support from the United States Government. This battalion is being deployed according to time table African Union and the second battalion is completing its training and we are very confident that if the requirements on the ground can support the troops, then we will be able to complete the deployment of the second battalion by the beginning of August.
By September 5, we should have deployed the third battalion. Using Rwanda as an example, we are very confident that there is the commitment and the time table that has been set by the African Union, will have to be met, and the second phase of the deployment will be complete.
This applies also to Nigeria, because Nigeria deployed its first battalion by July 13, which was a far shorter time than was actually expected. We also expect that two other battalions will also be deployed in due course.
You have the support and the military personnel. We are very confident that this second phase deployment will be complete, at least using the two countries as examples, because they are the bulk two contributing countries.
If phase three is to be accomplished, then there is a lot of planning that is required, and this planning should be in full swing at least by the end of September. I do not have any of that information in any further detail, but at least let us complete the phase two deployment, which I am very confident that, according to the time lines of African Union, according to the logistics that have now been relocated, you have three C-130s, over a 144 U.S. Air Force personnel. I am confident that phase two will be completed in time.
MICHAEL SMITH: Let me add a point to what the Colonel said. I think this first phase, the 7,900 is likely to be on time. We can account for the other two Nigerian battalions. We know what battalions they are. Our experts have looked at the Nigerian’s supplies and their ability to use their C-130s and European money to self-deploy their troops. They have done it, in fact, ahead of the schedule they set for themselves. The French have designated their forces. They are on the ground already training. The Senegalese troops will come as part of this. The Senegalese battalion can move anytime it wants between now and August. They are scheduled to move in August. So that battalion is on schedule.
The South Africans are kind of the long pole in the tent in the sense they have not designated a unit yet, but they have commitments in Burundi and other places. They are trying to figure out which unit to use. They were supposed to deploy at the end of this period in the September time frame. I am 80 percent sure we will make this deadline.
On the issue of the third phase, I think it is well to remember that it is not the African Union and the European Union and others that have decided to come up with an arbitrary plan of 12 or 15,000. The basis of all this planning is really an effort by the United Nations over a year ago, led by General Kofi Annan, the United Nations DPKO. It is the United Nations that came up with the original deployment formulas for how many men were needed to do this job of protecting X number of refugee camps. This is a world standard plan. This is not something that has been dumbed-down, as some people have accused us of doing, to what was available. This is to a United Nations standard.
This past piece of 7,000 men will test the limits of African capacity. Rwanda has done the lion’s share for the size of the country. The Nigerians, given their other commitments, have done a lot. The Senegalese may have a little more they can do. The South Africans and some of the other Southern Africans may be the ones that have to fill in the other gaps, as long as the African Union continues to hold that none of the neighbors should play.
One of the problems you have in Sudan is, like it or not, some of the largest African armies are neighbors. So you are handicapped in a peacekeeping environment from using that. In circumstances in which this is working, however, the Declaration of Principles that the Abuju rebels have agreed to have not been followed by a wealth sharing and a power sharing agreement. The cease fire is holding.
The African Union may then actually be willing, under those circumstances, to get to the 15,000 by violating the neighbor rule. They might allow an Egyptian battalion as opposed to a medical unit or a technical support unit or a couple of Egyptian battalions to come in. They might let a Libyan or Ethiopian battalion to come in. The Ugandans want to chase the large resistance army; maybe they will let them bring in one or two extra battalions. There is a way to get to this 15,000, even with the existing display of forces. A rule would have to be changed. Otherwise, the southerners will have to step up.
This is not a dream that cannot be manifested on the ground. I think it is possible, but it will be very hard. The capacity is costing a lot of money. It is costing the Africans manpower, but it is an expensive operation. The United States has already spent 150 million on the first phase of this. We are going to spend another 100 million. We have built the camps where these soldiers are going, where the policemen are going. We have done most of our assistance in kind because that needed to be done. Nobody can go anywhere if the camps are not done. So we did it with our own contractors, but designed to the African Union standard. Similarly, with other people that have helped, they have done very specific things. They have flown people in some cases. The French and others have provided training. This has been a major cooperative effort.
There is a distinct possibility that some of the North Africans that have not played could also be factored in. The Tunisians have a large army. They have not played so far. Why is that? One of the problems we have here is this is perceived as an Arab attack on an African population. You are trying to reassure these people. So that the degree you can avoid bringing in North Africans right now, you do not want to do that, for psychological reasons, to do with the camps. Again, if you fast-forward and the scenario is more favorable, there is nothing to say, to complete this, the Africans cannot use North African troops in an environment in which things are working.
Among other things, there would be no police advisors. North African troops would not be stationed at a camp. They would be patrolling the roads. What you would see is more African faces around the camp and more policemen. This can be managed, but, again, we have got to walk in steps. Phase one was kind of a bad attempt to walk. Phase two, I am very optimistic. I think we are proving we are walking. In phase three, we will be running, given the capacity that the African Union has. We have a sporting chance of getting there, but it will be hard.