Does the United Nations have to go back to square one in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
Mounting violence in the DRC threatens to put one of the organization’s longest-running large-scale peacekeeping operations in an unsustainable position. At a time when U.N. officials and diplomats in New York are talking about limiting blue helmet operations in the face of U.S. budget cuts, the organization faces a security test in the DRC that could highlight why it really needs more military resources, not fewer.
There have been U.N. peacekeepers in the DRC since 1999. The first international personnel were deployed to oversee the end of a civil war that had claimed, by some estimates, 3 million lives. Stabilization was a stop-and-start affair. In the early 2000s, rebel forces frequently threatened to overwhelm U.N. contingents.