Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

While many small-minded American right wingers like to bash the UN, noble works be damned, this article exemplifies the difficulties that UN missions can face.

Part of a major UN aid operation in Sudan has been suspended and is under review after a militia leader blocked the delivery of food, reports the BBC. The delivery was stopped when a local pro-government militia leader demanded that the quantity of rations be doubled. When the UN rejected his request, he insisted the 150 tons of grain be taken away, depriving the 6,000 people of New Fanjak, as well all those in other villages down this tributary of the Nile. With the militia upset, it has been deemed too dangerous to continue.

The UN could force the food aid through against the will of the militias (but in accordance with the wishes of the villagers) but that would require the mission to have a strong mandate. But if it has a strong mandate, some would whine about 'one world government' and other fantasies.

Instead, it's chosen to withdraw, rather than pick a fight with militias. Except people will remain hungry. Those same critics will whine about the UN's 'ineffectiveness.'

So what should the UN do?

What can it do?

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