Susan Rice gets it exactly right in this passage of her testimony this morning:
“the UN is being asked to take on harder, riskier operations—often without the support and capabilities it needs from member states. The Security Council has recently given some very ambitious mandates to peacekeeping operations in Africa, such as protecting civilians under the threat of physical violence—including sexual violence—in vast and populous territories with limited infrastructure, faltering peace processes, ongoing hostilities, and uncooperative host governments.”
UN peacekeepers have not succeeded in Congo or Sudan because the Security Council and key member states have not allowed them to succeed. With UNAMID in Darfur particularly, the Security Council deployed the mission as a means to avoid dealing with the core problems, rather than as part of a comprehensive solution. The result: a hobbled and weak UNAMID that relies on Khartoum for permission slips to carry out even basic activities and is unable to protect civilians. Senior planners at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations warned this would be the case as UNAMID was being developed, and they were right.