The Security Council’s Next Moves on Darfur

Though prospects for any decent response appear slim given the indecency of the international community, it’s still important to monitor government and UN responses to the crimes against humanity taking place in Darfur. (Though a while ago someone at Crooked Timber did ask whether we–private citizens–had good reasons not to pool money, hire mercenaries, and intervene if we believed that there are morally compelling reasons for intervention and if governments and international security organizations were unwilling to do so.) Here’s the latest Security Council Report update on the Council’s March agenda on and prospects for Darfur.

The Council will renew the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). But the major focus of attention will be the transition from the AU operation in Darfur (AMIS) to a new UN operation.

If the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) ministerial meeting on 3 March endorses the transition, this will open the way for the Council to work on the details of the mandate for the UN operation in March.

At the time of writing, it seems possible that Council members will adopt an interim resolution or presidential statement before the end of February reinforcing the momentum in favour of a transition.

The sanctions regime and the Panel of Experts mandate, which expire on 29 March, will be renewed. But sanctions issues are likely to become controversial and it is unclear whether the focus on the transition issue will lead to delays on listing violators…

There is also US interest in an increased NATO role in providing extended logistical support, perhaps also enforcing a no-fly zone in Darfur. While there is strong opposition, particularly within the AU, to NATO-commanded troops on the ground in Darfur, it may be that an enhanced support (and perhaps a ready reaction reserve role outside Sudan) for NATO could be viewed more favourably.

The sanctions issue is likely to become a controversial element.