n African Security Review - Challenges and constraints : AU's critical assignment in Darfur : feature

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In the wake of heightened media and political pressure about the Darfur humanitarian catastrophe, the African Union (AU) hurriedly deployed its monitors in Darfur, to be augmented later by a protection force to safeguard the monitors, albeit without adequate pre-deployment and logistic assessment. Without doubt, the Darfur crisis has become the AU's major preoccupation for the past year. The deployment of the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) since June 2004 has presented many challenges to the AU and its partners. A restrictive mandate, inadequate troops to cover Darfur, serious operational, logistical and capacity shortfalls have combined in an inextricable way to present the AU's mission to some observers as spineless and ineffective. The UN and partners have acknowledged the lead role of the AU in Darfur, and have been very supportive with assistance in these critical deficient areas. How the AU will take advantage of this favourable environment and optimise the benefits from its partners will be crucial to its success in Darfur. The article emphasises the need for the AU to strengthen its capacity and expertise at all levels of command through technical cooperation and appropriate assistance from the UN and partners. The entire world is waiting to see how Africa delivers on this critical assignment.


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