UN getting tough?I agonised over which international relations subjects to do this semester, and finally settled on International Institutions and Political Cooperation and Globalisation and International Political Economy. One of the ones I had been quite keen on was Peace, Morality and Justice in International Peacekeeping, as it was called last year. Unfortunately the slight course name change this year put me off just enough to decide not to do it - peacekeeping was changed to politics. While the second half of the semester would still focus on peacekeeping, I was finding it hard not to think cynically about the peace, morality OR justice in international politics.
Events in the last 24 hours however have, I think, guaranteed that course just got a little more interesting. And yes, I have just thought of the lack of sensitivity involved in reducing an entire conflict in Africa, and it's most recent 'newsworthy' event, to the amount of interest that one event will generate in a single, relatively insignificant course in a single, relatively insignificant university in the grand scheme of things. I digress.
If you hadn't heard, nine Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo were killed in an ambush on their patrol, more injured. What's amazing is that the UN seems to have finally had enough. Although perhaps not sanctioned from on high - it's very easy to urge calm from New York when the other half of your office hasn't just been murdered - the chief of staff of the country's UN mission said, "If these armed groups continue to attack us, we will respond."
As the opening par of that first link says, "In a significant change in policy, UN peacekeeping troops have killed at least 50 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a military offensive launched in response to a deadly ambush last week." (Emphasis added)
Yeah, launching military offensives would certainly be a little out of character for UN peacekeeping missions, to say the least. The BBC has a great page, as always, where you can find out more information on the conflict in DRC.
the earley edition - Posted by Dave @ 3/04/2005 12:16:00 am || ||