Peacekeepers to Somalia?

Lynn Pascoe, the new American UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs (which is sort of like the UN’s Secretary of State) visited Mogadishu over the weekend. He came back convinced that more troops were urgently needed in Somalia.

“It’s a fact that more troops are needed to help stabilize Somalia which had been without a central government for more than 16 years,” Pascoe told journalists in Nairobi.

The UN is pushing for the implementation of a three-phased plan, targeting reconciliation, security reinforcement and the continuation of the humanitarian efforts.

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Pascoe plans to brief the Security Council on his visit to the region upon his return to New York and recommend the possible deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

If the UN deploys to Somalia, it would join Southern Sudan and Ethiopia/Eritrea as the third peacekeeping mission in the Horn of Africa. Indeed, the Horn is seemingly becoming a new loci for peacekeeping operations in Africa. Just to the west, prospective missions are also being considered in Chad, the Central African Republic, and of course, Darfur.

There are already a record number of UN peacekeeping missions deployed thoughout the world. And here at UN Dispatch, we frequently fret that possible overstretch of UN peacekeeping might encumber the development of these prospective missions; the demand for UN peacekeeping is threatening to surpass the financial and military resources necessary to launch new missions. This is why domestic support for UN peacekeeping here in the United States is so important. The US is the single largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, but sometimes we do not pay our dues on time or in full. Lynn Pascoe can call for new peacekeeping missions. And the United States can vote for these missions in the Security Council. But back in Washington, legislators need to start showing their support for UN peacekeeping as well.

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