This is the 12th Online Guest Lecture by members of the SCID Panel of Experts. Mr Chris Sharwood-Smith presents a lecture entitled Darfur: A Mission Too Far?
Chris’ lecture looks at some of the major factors which affected the initial UNAMID deployment as it transitioned from an African Union deployment of 6,000 to an African Union/United Nations hybrid of massive proportions. It examines some of the reasons why there was widespread global criticism for the time it took to get the UN boots on the ground, and how, perhaps, the initial deployment authorised by the UN Security Council was never likely to be achieved.
Click on the link below to access Chris’ Lecture (it is large so it will take a while to download). Please submit any questions or comments within the next two weeks for Chris’ attention and/or discussion by other SCID Panel members, students and staff.
Thank you, Mr Sharwood-Smith, I found this presentation extremely informative. The mission seems nothing short of a logistical ‘perfect storm’.
I am wondering whether you might please shed additional light upon some of the issues associated with contractors as cited in your presentation.
As I am not yet deeply versed in the logistics of such operations, I shall ask several questions and let you choose which questions (if any) might pertain to the reality in question, as well as whether there were security-related issues arising from the supply chain problems:
• Were the contractors themselves local in origin as a condition of their approval by the Government of Sudan? And if so, were they operating, at least in part, on behalf of the Government of Sudan?
• Were the contractors the ‘victims of loss’ or the ‘likely perpetrators’ of the missing equipment referenced in the presentation?
• What sort of equipment went missing – and did its acquisition in the shadow economy help contribute to the power structure of those in conflict (thus contributing to further destabilisation and threat to civilian life)?
• Were the contractors also helping move supplies for either the militias or the Government of the Sudan?
• Given the scarcity of goods – and the frequently delayed arrival of supplies – did any mission members feel obliged to purchase items from a shadow economy?
Thank you for any consideration you might lend these questions.
Thank you for your comments, in answer to your questions:
– Originally the contractors had been International, however the Government of Sudan (GoS) had put pressure on the UN to use local contractors so as the Mission transformed from AU to hybrid the International contractors handed over to local suppliers. That said there is no evidence to suggest that they were acting on behalf of GoS
– There is no evidence to suggest that the contractors were anything other than victims, although there was occasional speculation that some may have been complicit.
– Almost anything was lost when vehicles were raided or hijacked, it is difficult to evidence if it ended up back in the power structure of the conflict but it is my suspicion that at least some of it did.
– I am not aware that the contractors were working with the militias but as they were local contractors it is quite possible that they also carried contracts with GoS.
– I am not aware of any Mission members feeling obliged to purchase items from the shadow economy, there was frustration over lack of equipment but I do not think that anybody would have taken such a drastic step.
I hope this helps.
Thank you, Chris!
I have enjoyed learning from you and remain most grateful you have shared your time, experience and expertise.