Today on NPR's program All Things Considered, one of the feature stories was a lengthy interview with Michael Gaouette, the new head of the UN team overseeing UN and African Union forces in Darfur. The interview is both informative and discouraging.
You can listen to the entire story online by clicking here.
Once the troops are in Darfur, Gaouette tells Melissa Block, their mandate is "tremendously expansive."
"We've been tasked to look into the human rights situation. We've been tasked to help with building systems for the rule of law. We've been tasked to help in an area they call 'child protection,'" he says. "But the marquee issue in the mandate is 'protection of civilians.'"
Gaouette says he's concerned that there may be an expectation
that the force "would be able to somehow magically step between two warring
parties and stop a war."
"We're not equipped to do so."