From the Field of Blackbirds to Black Hawk Down

Chris Deliso, March 09, 2006

For better or for worse, the good people of Kosovo tolerated the UN peacekeeping mission there for four or five years before they began agitating to throw out the mission and its profiteers of humanitarian crisis.

But if you’re a career do-gooder, there’s always a juicier mission somewhere else, when the crisis (and thus the funds) dries up in one’s current job. And for the past few months, they have been telling me that Darfur, Sudan is the place to be.

Predictably, the UN waited until there was a humanitarian crisis before getting involved- all the better to toy with the emotions of donors and the general viewing public. Images of unhappy refugees and their beaten-down accommodations translated, as ever, into dollar signs for a wasteful and unaccountable world body which, even if it is morally bankrupt, operates on a generous amount of credit.

Alas, it appears that there will be no repeat of the Kosovo cash-in; Sudan is located in an altogether rougher neighborhood. According to Radio Netherlands, a student group has put a $100,000 price tag on the head of the Dutch viceroy in Sudan, UN Special Envoy Jan Pronk, if he goes through with a plan to insert UN peacekeepers in the country- in other words, employees of private mercenary firms and other “headhunters” charged with supplying talent via their home countries’ state departments. This is big business, and the Sudanese aren’t having any of it. And it looks like not only the locals are opposed:

“…UN special envoy Jan Pronk warned recently that intelligence sources have reported, ‘people in Khartoum who were not there before,’ which has been interpreted as meaning an al-Qaeda presence. The terrorist network has allegedly made threats against the UN, which Mr Pronk says have led to the taking of extra security measures.

That was confirmed by his critics as well, among them Sudan’s Justice Minister Mohamed Ali al-Mardhi. He also warned, while referring to ‘foreign elements’ in his country, that the safety of a UN peacekeeping force could not be guaranteed.”

And this isn’t limited to UN representatives:

“…According to the Alshraq al al-Awsat newspaper, threats of attacks in reaction to, or to prevent, the sending of foreign troops to Darfur are commonplace nowadays in Khartoum. Another unknown organisation threatened to kill the US charge d’affairs in Sudan for allegedly insulting the Sudanese people and prophet Muhammad in a private dinner attended by some Sudanese.

The accusations were denied by the US diplomat who was summoned to the foreign ministry of Sudan to be asked about the matter. Two days later the diplomat left Khartoum on a previously unannounced holiday…

Instead of the previous preference of replacing African Union forces in Darfur with international troops, the UN mission in Sudan believes that step is, ‘Something which Khartoum would not be prepared even to consider,’ or even a disastrous development, which could ‘lead to all out Jihad.'”

In 1993, when the original Black Hawk Down affair occurred, bringing death and humiliation to the US military caught up in another UN peacekeeping mission in a volatile African country, the conditions were relatively tame. And the Americans were bailed out by Muslim UN peacekeepers. It’s not 1993 anymore.

Just think of it: armed Westerners, including Americans, up against not only lucre-driven warlords and their factions but the potent ideology of jihad and the world’s most dangeours terrorist group- it’s a recipe for Black Hawk Down to the power of ten.

If the UN has any sense they will steer clear and seek out their profits in sunnier climes. And to wax very cynical, it’s not like Western media audiences, who largely could care less about Africa, will fail to loan them to cover their moral bankruptcy for anything gone wrong.

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