n African Security Review - Progress and prospects : the African standby force : essay

Volume 12, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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The African Union is preparing for its enhanced role in the maintenance of peace and security by establishing a Peace and Security Council that is tasked with identifying threats and breaches of the peace. To this end, the AU has recommended the development of a common security policy and, by 2010, the establishment of an African Standby Force capable of rapid deployment to keep, or enforce, the peace. The ASF would comprise of standby brigades in each of the five regions, and incorporate a police and civilian expert capacity. G8 leaders have pledged support for the AU proposal through funding, training, and enhanced co-ordination of activities. For its part, the AU will need to undertake a realistic assessment of member capabilities, to clearly articulate its needs, and to set realistic and achievable goals. The latest plan for establishing a rapidly deployable African peacekeeping force will require something that similar proposals have lacked: the political will to fund and implement a long list of recommendations. Success will ultimately be judged by the AU's future responses to situations of armed conflict. Even if such responses are largely symbolic in the short term, a sufficient display of political will among African leaders could inspire the confidence needed to galvanise international support.

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