Monday, March 13, 2006

Don't Forget Darfur

In response to a query by Senator Carl Levin (MI) during her March 9 joint appearance with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary of State Rice stated that the administration's FY2006 supplemental request for AU peacekeeping in Darfur ($123 million) is "an appropriate amount." The administration wants a larger, more robust force to take over from the 7,000 African Union troops currently struggling with the peace mission. The Khartoum government does not want a UN intervention force, particularly one with a stronger mandate than the AU troops have. The AU itself just voted to extend its intervention force at its current strength through September, a potential complication to sending a UN force before then.

Like the Senate, the House of Representatives seems to take Darfur peacekeeping more seriously than the administration. Word is that Jerry Lewis (CA) raised the proposed $38.1 million requested for the UN in Darfur under "Contribution to International Peacekeeping Activities" (CIPA) by $60 million at the urging of Frank Wolf (VA). This was followed by Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL) who proposed adding $100 million to the administration's $123 million to support the AU mission and, when (and if) the UN takes over peacekeeping, have any unspent money transfer with the shift in mandate to the UN.

Notice no one is offering troops or equipment, just money. It's the least we can do; it is, after all, genocide.


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