go to top

Diplomatic Fallout: Can the U.N. Rebuild its Force in South Sudan?

Monday, Dec. 30, 2013

After two weeks of slaughter in South Sudan, UNMISS, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country, faces three possible scenarios: fragile success, prolonged agony and decisive failure. In the first and best scenario, the mission will manage to hold together militarily long enough for more-or-less sincere political talks to end the violence. In the second, it might muddle through in the face of half-hearted negotiations and spasmodic but serious violence, trying to save as many lives as possible. The third, worst-case scenario would involve the fragmentation and rout of UNMISS after repeated attacks on its bases, personnel and convoys.

The mission’s fate could reshape debates about the U.N.’s capabilities and limits. For most of 2013, UNMISS was overshadowed by the trials of other blue helmet missions, notably the long-running operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the new force in Mali. This month’s outbreak of fighting between supporters of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his erstwhile deputy, former Vice President Riek Machar, has presented the Security Council and U.N. officials with a brutally urgent new set of priorities. Even if UNMISS makes it through the current crisis, it will take a major political and military investment to restore its longer-term credibility. ...

Want to Read the Rest?
Login or Subscribe Today.
Get unlimited access to must-read news, analysis and opinion from top experts. Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 9,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.

YES, I want to subscribe now.