Escalating crisisin Darfur

The international community must work through the African Union to help Darfur.

In recent weeks the violence in Darfur, a large, arid region in western Sudan, has increased dramatically. In three years of fighting, more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in the region. This past week the Sudanese government, which vehemently opposes deploying a U.N. peacekeeping force in the war-ravaged region, has announced it is willing to discuss the world body providing support for the African Union’s Darfur peacekeeper force. The international community, instead of continuing to push for the direct deployment of U.N. peacekeeping troops, should join forces with the African Union to provide the best aid and security to the people of Darfur.

As of yet, an ill-equipped and underfunded African Union force has struggled to bring peace to the region. The seeming failure of the African Union troops has pushed the international community to demand for direct U.N. intervention in the region. While this might seem like the most favorable action, the reality is that the United Nations faces intense resistance from the Sudanese government, which claims that it will construe any sign of foreign intervention as a violation of its sovereignty.

While this battle of words over the issue of U.N. intervention is taking place, the situation continues to deteriorate in Darfur. Three years have passed and the United Nations has failed to take action. Instead of engaging in a twisted game of politics with the Sudanese government, we need to focus on the current reality: A dire humanitarian crisis edging toward an all-time worst.

Although the Sudanese government is rejecting a U.N. peacekeeping force, it will accept a robust, expanded African Union mission. We must capitalize on this sign of cooperation and take action. Instead of fixating on a U.N. intervention that clearly will not be accepted and could provoke further violence, we need to contribute our money, training, and equipment to the African Union struggle. The best thing the international community can do in Darfur is to work through the African Union toward peace.

The situation in Darfur is a tragedy of epic proportions, and the world’s conscience is on trial. Are we willing to risk thousands more dying before we react?