The People’s Republic of China used to veto any and all serious United Nations resolutions on strife-torn Darfur, because Beijing needs Sudanese oil.While people of Darfur suffered, international pressure mounted on China, which had to buckle under to refrain from vetoing a Security Council decision to send a 26,000 strong peacekeeping force to the troubled area to end the genocide the Sudanese government troops are committing there.Beijing was forced to, for it does not want the 2008 Summer Games it is to host to be branded as the Genocide Olympics.
But it’s not much of a concession on the Chinese part.For one thing, China doesn’t have to contribute any contingent to the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force.The force, the world’s largest of its kind, will have soldiers from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan as well as the African troops Sudanese President Omar Bashir wanted.
The peacekeepers who will be there before the end of October will have a much larger authority than their predecessors so that the genocide may be effectively prevented.The African Union deploys 7,000 peacekeepers in Darfur, but they have miserably failed to stop the Sudanese massacre of Darfur people.Whether the new larger peacekeeping force can successfully discharge its UN mission is open to doubt.
Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan may dispatch their contingents to Durfar.But can the African Union spare more than 10,000 additional soldiers to help keep peace there?The United Nations adopted Resolution 1774 in July to organize an 8,000 strong peacekeeping force for war-ravaged Somalia.The African Union was to contribute 4,000 troops.But only Uganda has sent 1,500 poorly trained, equipped and motivated troops, who are no match for battle-tested Somalia militias.The carnage is going on and intensifying in Somalia, which has been torn apart by civil war since 1991.
Even if the new UN-AU force were in place in Darfur, there is no guarantee that it would be more effective than the one it is expected to take over.The United States and the United Kingdom have stationed their “peacekeeping” forces in Iraq.The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has its force in Afghanistan.They have been in place there for years, but real peace has yet to return to the two Moslem countries.
Like President Chen Shui-bian, Mashir is adept at making concessions under pressure but then reneging on his promises once that pressure eases.China knows it full well.So Beijing didn’t veto the peacekeeping resolution in the full conviction that it isn’t offending Khartoum and jeopardizing their friendship.Its acquiescence at the Security Council, however, means that China isn’t invulnerable to strong international pressure.President Hu Jintao’s most urgent task now is to make sure the Beijing Olympics are successful.When their success was threatened, he was willing to be persuaded to play along with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicholas Sarkozy who were the prime-movers behind the Security Council resolution on the Darfur peacekeeping project.