You cannot exaggerate the seriousness of the withdrawal. The African Union's peacekeeping force in Darfur is understrength, ill-equipped, badly led and wholly unable to do the job. The Islamists in Khartoum are threatening to set al-Qaeda on the UN if it sends in its own troops. Meanwhile, Sudan is aiding rebel forces in Chad and Chad is aiding rebel forces in the Sudan. War between the two countries is a possibility.There is further information and comment over at the splendid Sudan Watch.
This page (as quoted by Sudan Watch) is also a useful source of information.
Also see the United Nations System in Sudan. Note how frequently this site is updated. Last posting I can see is July 2005. That's eight months ago. And as we all know nothing has happened in Sudan since. Give them the benefit, they have more important things to be doing than updating a website.
There is better coverage here at the United Nations News Centre. On Friday, 10 March
Mr. Annan said the UN looks forward to working with the AU and the Sudanese Government in “ensuring that there is effective security on the ground in Darfur that would allow the humanitarian workers to continue their work, ensure protection of the IDPs (internally displaced persons) and ensure access to the needy.”Let's hope that's more successful than recent U.N. operations.
He said that full details were not yet available, but it appeared that the AU and the Government have at least agreed to a six months extension of the force, and to work with the UN on transition.
“I would also hope that, between now and the time that the UN takes over, measures will be taken to strengthen to the African Union forces which would also be transitioning to the UN forces,” he said, adding that donor countries are being asked to give the AU mission, known as AMIS, “all the support they need to be able to continue the operations until we get there.”
The Secretary-General warned against any stagnation. “I don’t think we can afford a gap, nor can we afford any further deterioration of the security situation, and so it is urgent that we give them the support they need,” he said. “It is urgent that we find ways if possible of strengthening them as we build up to an expanded force and a transition to the United Nations.”
Sudan cannot be allowed to become forgotten.