Tuesday, March 04, 2008

EUFOR Chad: this isn't going to end well

I happened to be interviewing a Finnish Ministry of Defence official this morning on a totally unconnected issue, but he mentioned in passing that the just deployed EU mission to Chad, which includes Finnish troops, requires a particularly highly trained level of soldier due to the political and cultural complexity of the situation and the very harsh operating climate. After today's terrible events it might be a start if their training covered map reading. An EUFOR jeep strayed into Sudan, got shot at, one of the two soldiers in the vehicle is now missing and a rescue/recovery party was also fired on and seem to have returned fire killing one or two Sudanese.

The speed at which the EU managed to get together the mission is best described as glacial, what they actually want to achieve in a politically contorted environment is vague at best, and as an under-secretary for UN peace-keeping said at a seminar I went to last week - the EU powers are already talking cynically about the UN being their "exit strategy" from any Chadian quagmire. The same guy said that looking from the outside, the EU seems to use up so much political energy coming to a decision internally that it has little left for dynamism internationally. You get the feeling the EU isn't taking this very seriously.

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