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A woman holds hands with her daughter at the Zamzam camp for internally displaced people in North Darfur, Sudan, June 11, 2014 (Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran for UNAMID via AP).

Darfur Highlights the Challenge of Shuttering U.N. Peacekeeping Missions

Monday, July 23, 2018

Ten years ago, stories about endemic violence in the Darfur region of Sudan often made headlines in the West. The conflict there continues sporadically but is all but forgotten today. This month, the Security Council agreed to slash the number of peacekeepers in the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, or UNAMID, by almost half, with a view to closing the mission entirely in 2020. The decision created barely a ripple beyond the council.

Nonetheless, the drawdown of UNAMID potentially marks a turning point for U.N. peacekeeping operations. As I have previously noted, the mission is one of five big blue-helmet operations in volatile countries in Africa that now represent the bulk of the organization’s peacekeeping work. The others are in the Central African Republic, Mali, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC. All five face recurrent violence. None has a clear exit strategy. But Security Council members, notably the U.S., insist that these missions cannot continue indefinitely. So how will they end? ...

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